Review: People Like Us – Dana Mele

35356380Title: People Like Us (series #1)

Author: Dana Mele (twitter) (site)

Publisher//Release Date: Putnam// February 27, 2018

Genre: YA Thriller

Source: Purchased/Library

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes and Noble

Synopsis: Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple.

The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.

Rating: 3.5/5

I checked this book out on Overdrive at my local library for my vacation (so I didn’t have to lug the book around), and picked it up (so to speak) while we were waiting and waiting and waiting to get off the ship on disembarkation day, which was a saga we’re not getting into at the moment. I ended up finishing the book that day for a multitude of reasons.

Let’s break it down:

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: BFFs I Want to Be My BFFs

top-ten-tuesday-header

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish, and currently hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl

This time we’re talking character’s we want to our BFFs. Specifically, BFFs we to be our BFFs.

I mean, how many times have you finished reading a book said “I want [insert main character’s name here] to be my BFF.” But how many times do you say that about the side characters? The hero’s best friend – do you also want them to be your best friend? If they’re good enough for your faves, why can’t they be good enough for you!

These are the Bookish BFFs that I wouldn’t mind as my own BFF.

Let’s break it down…

  1. Hermione Granger – Harry Potter. This is barely meeting my own personal standards for this topic, but who doesn’t want Hermione Jean Granger as their best friend. First off, she’s a walking motivator when it comes to academic things, which high school me desperately needed. Also, we’re basically they same person so there’s that.
  2. Luna Lovegood – Harry Potter. Luna’s very much the type of person who I wish I could be – she is who she is and both does and doesn’t care what others think. She also cares a great deal about other people. It’s what makes her a great friend to Harry and co, and what makes me think she would be a great BFF. Also, we can be weird together.
  3. Mabel Rose – The Diviners. She’s a very good friend, even when the thoughts aren’t as thoughtfully reciprocated *cough*Evie*cough*. She’s also another caring person, into social justice and issues, caring deeply about people she doesn’t even know. She reminds me A LOT of my IRL BFF, which is another reason she’s on this list.
  4. Simon Spier’s Squad – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens’ Agenda. This is heavily influenced by the cast of the movie Love, Simon. But even in the book, Nick and Leah and Abby remind me of the crew that I had in high school.
  5. Nate and Janelle – Truly Devious series. Similar to the above mentioned Creekwood High Crew, I very much want to be friends with Nate and Janelle – and Vi for that matter. Janelle is enthusiastic and straddling the line between precious and hilarious. And then there’s Nate; I don’t know if I want to be best friends with Nate or date him – would the adult equivalent of Nate please stand up? Either way, both of them care a great deal about Stevie and, since I want to be BFFs with her as well, please can I join your squad?
  6. Simon Lewis – The Mortal Instruments. Again, I don’t know if I want him to be my best friend or to be the best friend that I fall in love with and slay demons with and live happily ever after with. But he’s the nerd-tastic boy that I wished would have walked into my life either as a friend or boyfriend when I was in high school. And now, tbh.

That’s it for me today! What about you? Any of your fictional Besties on this list? Let me know in the comments!

See you next time!

 

Review: Legendary – Stephanie Garber

36329818Title: Legendary (Caraval #2)

Author: Stephanie Garber (twitter) (site)

Publisher//Release Date: Flatiron Books // May 29th, 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Source: Purchased

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes and Noble

Synopsis: A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever…

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . the games have only just begun.

Rating: 4.5/5

I have problems with sequels. I put off reading them because I’m scared. I’m scared I won’t like the book as much as the previous one. I’m scared bad things will happen to the characters and cause me to hate everything. Generally, I’m scared.

And that’s what happened with Legendary. I panicked that I wasn’t going to like it. So it just sat on my shelf for over a year until I finally got up the courage to read the dang thing.

And I had no reason to be afraid.

Let’s break it down:

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Changes I Love and Hate

top-ten-tuesday-header

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish, and currently hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl

This time we’re talking cover changes.

Most of the time, I dislike cover changes. I’m one of those book nerds who wants all of a series to match so my shelf looks nice (shallow, I know). But, every once in awhile, I do like a cover change. Sometimes I like them better than the original. Rarely. Almost never.

Anyway…

Today, I’ve got five books whose cover changes I liked and five that I hated.

Let’s break it down…

Cover Changes I Loved

The Witchlands series – Susan Dennard. This is probably the most recent of the cover changes. I like these the most because they aren’t that different from the original covers, but are re-styled so that they match the cover for Bloodwitch.  The most exciting part? The books are being re-released in hardcover with the new illustrations so the obsessed among us can fix their collections.

Off Campus series – Elle Kennedy. Honestly….I’m just happy I can read these in public now. That’s all.

The Royals series – Rachel Hawkins. This one not only got a new cover, but the first book got a new title as well. The first book’s original cover was very plain and I ADORE the new illustrated covers. The new covers actually make me want to read the series.

The Mortal Instruments paperback editions – Cassandra Clare. I love these new covers. They end up with a wider range of characters on the covers of this series with the new cover and it comes off as less….2009? And as an added bonus, I don’t feel as awkward carrying around half-naked Jace if I want to reread City of Bones. Now, if they could do the same for the hardcover editions…..

The ABSURD number of Harry Potter Editions. These aren’t “changes” per se. You can still buy brand-new books with the original covers. But there are a GAZILLION special editions with new covers coming out every five minutes and they are all amazing. I mean, these are all coming out now because they know that The Potter Generation are mostly adults with disposable income and still trash for all things Hogwarts. Will I continue to buy the Illustrated Editions and the UK House Editions? YEPPPPPP.

Cover Changes I Hated

The Diviners – Libba Bray. The. Most. Frustrating. Series. Covers. Of. All. Time. Every single book has gotten a cover change FOR NO REASON. The first one was gorgeous, the second one was …meh, the third one was good enough. They stuck with the same design for the final book, The King of Crows, and honestly, thank God, because I  would have gone BEAST MODE on someone if they had changed the covers again. And of course they adjusted all of the previous books’ covers to match the new style, but only the paperbacks. And there’s a random, awful third cover of the first book floating around in paperback that I ended up with when I tried to buy the matching cover. Long story short, THIS IS MY FAVORITE SERIES. THE COVERS DON’T MATCH. I WILL BE MAD UNTIL I DIE. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

The Cainsville series – Kelley Armstrong. First two books match. Third got a new cover. Fourth got a new cover and the fifth matches.  ASDFGHJKLKJHFDLKF WHYYYYYY???

Seafire series – Natalie C. Parker. This is a travesty. Because the first cover is STUNNING. And the cover for the second book is…….not. Just No. My dislike is strong with this one.

Shadow and Bone/Grisha Trilogy – Leigh Bardugo. I’m just mad about this one because they changed the paperbacks after I had purchased two of them with the old covers. I even like the new covers but OMG COULD YOU HAVE WAITED?!

Ember in the Ashes series – Sabaa Tahir. This one isn’t that bad – the spines still match and it keeps the original type and color scheme. But WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS HALF WAY THROUGH THE SERIES?!?!

That’s it for me today! Did you have any cover changes that you loved? Or hated? Let me know down in the comments!

See you next time!

 

Review: The Beckoning Shadow – Katharyn Blair

39834280._sy475_Title: The Beckoning Shadow (The Beckoning Shadow #1)

Author: Katharyn Blair (twitter) (site)

Publisher//Release Date: Katherine Tegen Books// July 2nd, 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Source: Purchased

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes and Noble

Synopsis: Vesper Montgomery can summon your worst fear and turn it into a reality—but she’s learned the hard way that it’s an addicting and dangerous power. One wrong move and you could hurt someone you love.

But when she earns a spot in the Tournament of the Unraveling, where competitors battle it out for a chance to rewrite the past, Vesper finally has a shot to reverse the mistakes that have changed her forever. She turns to Sam Hardy, a former MMA fighter who’s also carrying a tragedy he desperately wants to undo. However, helping heal Sam’s heart will mean breaking her own, and the competition forces her to master her powers—powers she has been terrified of since they destroyed her life.

Rating: 4.25/5

I was interested in this book for shallow reasons – THE COVER. I mean, the plot sounded very interesting and I had it on my radar for a while, but THAT COVER HAPPENED and I didn’t care about anything else. This book was going to grace my shelves regardless.

And, as a trend lately, I was pleasantly surprised with what was between the covers as well.

Let’s break it down:

Continue reading

What I Did For Love (of Books)

Disclaimer: This actually began as a Top Ten Tuesday post from a while back that I never put up and is completely inspired by that. All credit for the idea goes to That Artsy Reader Girl

Won’t forget, can’t regret, what I diddddddd forrrrrrrr loveeeeeeeee
If you haven’t guessed by my blog title, I am a shameless fangirl. I decorate my work cubical with obsession related posters and calendars and magnets – or did before I had to share a desk. My bedroom is decorated in Early American Fangirl. I give zero whatevers about fangirl freakouts on social media. And I have done some crazy stuff because of my fangirl nature. While some of these are kind of mild and borderline normal, some of them are real doozies.
In no particular order:
  1. Midnight Releases. I am 99.9995789% sure that anyone of a certain age camped out at a local bookstore for the Harry Potter book releases. I did it for the last two books and I LOVED IT. Hanging out at Barnes and Noble, dressed as a Hogwarts student, waiting in line with friends – it was the time of my life. I also went to the midnight release of Breaking Dawn and have very fond memories of that night as well. It ended with my whole high school friend group sitting in front of the big windows at the front of the store at 1 a.m., reading a book the size of a brick. Also, there was a MASSIVE group freak-out when we all realized a large chunk of the book was told from JACOB’S  *GASP* point of view. Such panic. #TeamEdward #Lol
  2. Owning Multiple Copies of A Book. I had to buy duplicate copies of most the Harry Potter books out of necessity because my copies fell apart. I’m buying the Illustrated and UK House editions (in Ravenclaw, of course) as they come out because I’m completely shameless. And I bought second copies of the first 2 books in the Diviners series by Libba Bray for the sole purpose of annotating the ever-living crap out of them.
  3. Calling every used bookstore in the two nearest cities to see if they have a copy of a long out of print book. I did this once when I was in junior high. I don’t remember what book it was for and it was out of print and NO ONE had heard of it and I don’t remember if I ever found it. But I vividly remember spending an entire day calling every bookstore in Pittsburgh.
  4. Set out to finish a book in less than 24 hours. I mean, I’ve done this out of necessity a few times. Required English readings for high school and college and the like. But I have set out to finish a book in a day. Most of my less than 24-hour reads are more on the organic side – it just sort of happens. But I set out to finish the last 2 Harry Potter books in a day. And I did it.
  5. Preordering Multiple Copies of a Book. I preordered 3 separate copies of Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray – Hardcover, Ebook and Audiobook. Because I was reading that book as soon as I could and in any way possible.
  6. Debating getting a tattoo related to a book. I know “debated” getting a tattoo isn’t that crazy but for someone COMPLETELY PETRIFIED OF NEEDLES, the fact that I know EXACTLY what it would be, where it would be, and what the font would be. And in case you were wondering, they would be a Harry Potter style lightning bolt on my foot and “Be Heroic” on my wrist in the font from the Lunar Chronicles covers. Because Cress and Thorn.
  7. Owning fan merch. If we go by Harry Potter merch ALONE, what I have is ridiculous. But going by other stuff – like the Diviner’s T-Shirt I got from Society 6 and the ABSURD amount of fictional character magnetic bookmarks I own – I have put a lot of money into repping the stuff I like.
  8. Checking out local bookstores to see if there is a chance they put a book out a couple days before release. Especially if the book is one you already preordered. And has already shipped. And is on its way to your house from an unnamed location. But, because two Barnes and Nobles -both HALF AN HOUR AWAY – have sometimes stocked the YA new releases the Sunday before the release, I needed to see if there was a chance I could get it sooner. It didn’t work the time I’m thinking of – *cough*BeforeTheDevilBreaksYou*cough* – but when I was in high school and The Last Olympian was about to be released, I found the box of them, chilling in an unrelated aisle in Walmart and sent an all caps mass text to my friends telling them it was there.
  9. Taking a day off work so you can read a book allllllll dayyyyyy. Because I learned my lesson when I didn’t take the day off after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released and had to work after NOT SLEEPING AND READING THE ENTIRE BOOK. So, when Before the Devil Breaks You had its release day put up on Goodreads, I IMMEDIATELY requested the next day off of work so that I could stay up to my little heart’s content. Read a little at midnight. Read some at lunch. Come home from work. Book is waiting for me. Lock myself in my room and had my heart ripped out of my chest read to my heart’s content.

French Chicken Regrets Nothing

That’s it for me today! What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for a book?

See you next time!

 

Review: In the Neighborhood of True – Susan Kaplan Carlton

42779772._sy475_Title: In the Neighborhood of True

Author: Susan Kaplan Carlton (twitter) (site)

Publisher//Release Date: Algonquin Young Readers// April 9th, 2019

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Source: Local Library

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes and Noble

Synopsis: A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

Rating: 4/5

There isn’t any specific rhyme or reason to why I picked this particular book. It had been on my radar. It was on my wish list at the library. It was available on Overdrive just when I was loading up my Kindle to go on vacation. I knew what it was about, but hadn’t really heard any reviews and kind of wanted to just go into it blind.

Good idea.

Let’s break it down:

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: #Squad Goals – Groups of Friends I Want to Join

top-ten-tuesday-header

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish, and currently hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl

You hear the term “Squad Goals” thrown around. You see people tagging their squad in pictures. And, in books – especially in fantasy – there’s always a group of people. It’s the hero and his BFFs. It the secret society. Its the people you pick up along the way. And, books, as we know, have some EPIC squads.

So, today, I’m talking about my favorite Squads in books.

Let’s break it down…

  1. The Golden Trio (Harry Ron and Hermione) – Harry Potter. I mean, DUH.
  2. The Silver Trio (Ginny Neville and Luna) – Harry Potter.  Also…duh. But, based strictly on personality, I feel like I would mesh better with these three.
  3. The Diviners from the Diviners series by Libba Bray. I’m only here to protect them from The Author because I love Libba….but I don’t trust her.
  4. The Main Cast of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. People that live with me know these guys as “My Children”.
  5. Blue and her Raven Boys from the Raven Boys.
  6. Mac, Emma Laurel and Parker from The Bride Quartet by Nora Roberts.  I don’t know if I want to join them or just start a business just like theirs.
  7. The Fellowship of the Ring from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThis needs some explaining because my reasoning is very specific.  I was a movie-first LOTR fan back in the day and while I was struggling through reading the books, I turned to WAY TO MUCH fanfic. My favorite fics were the ones where modern-day teen girls found themselves in Middle Earth, joined up with the Fellowship, hooked up with the rugged hottie of their choice and generally wreaked havoc. These stories were hilarious and probably made Tolkien roll in his grave. All these years later, I still want to be one of those girls who goes to Middle Earth and wreaks havoc. Imma make Legolas fall in love with me. Purists can @ me.
  8. THE GANG from Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa. Yumeko literally picks people up as she goes and I love every single one of them. And they literally had a “You have my sword,” moment at the end and it made my LIFE.
  9. The London Institute from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Claire. THEY”RE ALL A BUNCH OF BADASSES AND CAN STARE AT WILL ALL I WANT.
  10. Magic (aka The OG Interns) on Gray’s Anatomy.  I know, I know. They aren’t from a book. But I love them so much and the fact that only 2 of them are left kills me. (also MAGIC = Meredith, Alex, George, Izzy, Cristina)

That’s it for me today! Who are your favorite squads? Did I mention one of them here? Let me know down in the comments!

See you next time!

 

Magical Readathon NEWTs 2019 TBR

It’s nearly time for the latest edition of the Magical Readathon – a series of Harry Potter-themed readathons hosted by G at Book Roast on YouTube. We’re sitting our NEWTs (or Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests) the month of August. You can find all the info in her announcement video here.

Technically, you’re supposed to base your TBR off of how many OWLs you earned back in April. If you’re like me and completely missed it or (also like me), don’t want to do you OWLs first, you are allowed to participate anyway. You just pick your subjects at random or based on what career you would like in the wizarding world.

Much like my real-life self, Hogwarts!Calle has no fricking clue what she wants to do with the rest of her life. So Hogwarts!Calle is picking classes at random. I’m vaguely following the requirements to become a transfiguration professor because apparently Hogwarts!Calle thinks she’s Hermione and wants to be an overachiever.  Not a good combination when it comes to exams, but ehhhhhhhh it’ll work.

I have chosen 5 subjects that I want to try to focus on and have created TBRs for. I am not going to read all of these books in one month. That would be impossible for someone with my work schedule. But a super small and strict TBR will send me into a reading slump faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo. Your girl needs options. So here we are.

Presenting My 2019 NEWTs TBR:

Charms


A: Read a book you think has a gorgeous cover: Dark Shores by Danielle K. Jensen
E: Read a comic/graphic novel/manga: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
O: Spongify! – Read a paperback book: Jacaby by William Ritter

Defense Against the Dark Arts


A: Read a book that’s black under the dust jacket: The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
E: Gilderoy’s Memory Charm – the first book you remembered from you TBR: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
O: Cornish Pixies! Read a book set in England or written by an English author: A Name Unknown – Rosanna M. White

Divination


A: Read a white book : The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen|
E: Read a Short Story: Becoming the Dark Prince by Kerri Maniscalco
O: Read the  last book you acquired: The House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig (this is very likely to change depending on how many books I buy lol)

History of Magic


A: Read a Fantasy: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
E: Read a book that includes a map: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
O:  Tom Riddle’s Diary – a Fond Memory – reread a favorite book: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Transfiguration


A: Read a book with LGBTQA+ representation: Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
E: Read a book that isn’t the first in a series: Soul in the Sword – Julie Kagawa
O:  McGonagall does not mess around! Read a book with over 500 pages: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

In case you think I’m insane, I’m not planning to read all these books. I just want to be prepared. Also, this will probably change.

Are you taking your NEWTS starting next week? Are we reading the same books? Let me know!

See you next time!

Review: The Devouring Gray – Christine Lynn Herman

36535913._sx318_Title: The Devouring Gray (The Devouring Gray #1)

Author: Christine Lynn Herman (twitter) (site)

Publisher//Release Date: Disney-Hyperion// April 2nd, 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Source: Purchased

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes and Noble

Synopsis: Branches and stones, daggers and bones,
They locked the Beast away.

After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn’t: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families’ abilities—before the Gray devours them all.

Rating: 4/5

I’m going to give Kristin from SuperSpaceChick a massive shoutout to for putting this book on my radar. I had heard about The Devouring Gray but didn’t know much about it.  I went on a massive YouTube binge one morning and she mentioned this book in a  wrap-up from late last year. Everything she said about it piqued my interest, so I got a copy.

And there’s a reason I’ve been trusting Kristin’s reviews for years.

Let’s break it down:

Continue reading