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

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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:

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Top Ten Tuesday: BFFs I Want to Be My BFFs

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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

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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:

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Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Changes I Love and Hate

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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

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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:

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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

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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:

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