Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale

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Title & Author: Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale

Publication Date: March 19, 2019

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Format & Source: ARC Paperback via Publisher

Where to Buy This Book: AmazonBarnes & Noble

 

From Goodreads

Rule #1 – Never fall for a summer boy.

Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.

And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?

About the Author

Lillie Vale, upon discovering she could not be one of Santa’s elves or attend Hogwarts, decided to become a writer to create a little magic of her own. Enjoying the romantic and eerie in equal measure, she’s probably always writing a book where the main characters kiss or kill. Born in Mumbai, she has lived in many U.S. states, and now resides in an Indiana college town where the corn whispers and no one has a clue that she is actually the long-lost caps lock queen. She can be reached on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine. Small Town Hearts is her debut novel.

Other Books By the Author

DEBUT NOVEL!

My Thoughts

PSA: Drop everything, this is my new favorite summer themed novel! If you have been a follower of mine in the past you know I am a sucker for 2 kinds of books. First, a really good YA thriller. Second, any YA summer themed novel. Oh my goodness, Small Town Hearts checked everything off my list for a book I love. And can we just give credit to Lillie Vale. This is her first novel and it was absolutely incredible.

Babe is a barista in a small town in Maine where the locals all know each other like most small towns. She has a rule to never fall for a summer boy. They never stay past summer so she doesn’t see a reason to allow herself to get wrapped up in one. However, Levi may question every reason she’s ever had to create this rule. Small Town Hearts is packed with so much emotions, but in such a good way. Friendships are tested, old relationships are brought back up, and new relationships and friendships bloom. A huge win is also the representation of a bisexual lead character as well as other characters that are dealing with their sexuality. I loved the summer love storyline and was biting my fingers towards the end, so nervous how the story was going to end.

The main character Babe, I absolutely adored. She had moments of weakness and almost self destruction in the beginning but as the book went on she became a strong character and stood up for herself, what she wants and how she feels and honestly that is something I love to see in a lead female character. She has big goals in life, she is incredibly independent and also makes it clear she is okay being single. Plus I can’t leave out that she is an amazing baker who will have your mouth watering when she talks about her bakes. Levi was the perfect boy who was perfect for Babe. I really think his character helped hers evolve even more. It was also refreshing to have a male character who didn’t care about showing his emotions and was also proud to show them. It was heartwarming to see their connection grow throughout the story and where it all ended for them. The other more minor characters were easily likable or dislikable. They all had their parts in Babe’s life and the story being told and although minor characters really added a lot to it. A large focus on the storyline was letting go of the past and making a new future for yourself. At times it was frustrating some of the situations Babe was going through or even putting herself through but this is a great storyline for so many teens and young adults as it is something we all go through to some extent in life.

As for the location, UGH. I wish Oar’s Rest was a real town. It had so much appeal to it as a small coastal town without the busyness you imagine at so many beach towns in the summer. It had so much history to it too and so many town events which everyone comes together to support. Lillie Vale paints the perfect picture of the town and you’ll be wishing you could visit Oar’s Rest yourself.

If you love to pack a good, light read in your summer bag, Small Town Hearts is perfect for that (if you can wait that long lol). It will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside and while the book was adorable, it also focused on some important social issues so many teens/young adults face today. You will fly through this book in no time and left wanting more. Or if you’re like me, you’ll be left wanting more and wanting some summer weather already (for real I am over temperatures not getting out of the 40s). I’d LOVE to see a sequel to Small Town Hearts and see where the characters are the following summer and where all their friendships/relationships stand.

My Rating: 5hearts

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You Owe Me A Murder by Eileen Cook

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You Owe Me A Murder

 

Title & Author: You Owe Me A Murder by Eileen Cook

Publication Date: March 5, 2019

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Format & Source: ARC e-book via Publisher

Where to Buy This Book: AmazonBarnes & Noble

 

From Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Kim gets more than she bargained for when she is set up for murder. Perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying, E. Lockhart, and Gillian Flynn.

17-year-old Kim never expected to plot a murder. But that was before her boyfriend dumped her for another girl. Now, Kim’s stuck on a class trip to London with him and his new soulmate and she can’t help wishing he was a little bit dead, even if she’d never really do that.

But when Kim meets Nicki, a stranger on the plane who’s more than willing to listen to Kim’s woes, things start to look up. Nicki’s got a great sense of humor, and when she jokes about swapping murders, Kim plays along—that is, until Kim’s ex-boyfriend mysteriously dies.

Blackmailed by Nicki to fulfill her end of the deal, Kim will have to commit a murder or take the fall for one.

 

About the Author:

Eileen Cook spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer.

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at www.eileencook.com. Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

 

Other Books By the Author:

 The Almost Truth, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, With Malice, & More

 

My Thoughts:

You Owe Me A Murder caught my attention from the first second I saw it. The title itself giving away that it would be a suspenseful story along with the author Eileen Cook, I knew this was a book I not only had to read but had to read ASAP. It’s safe to say I was not the least bit disappointed. I’ve read several other young adult novels by Eileen Cook and loved each of them, but her other mystery/suspenseful novel, With Malice, may have been my favorite until I read this one.

Kim is on a class trip to London where her recent ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend also happen to be. Kim meets a girl from London, Nicki, who she jokes around making a list of reasons why her ex deserves to die. Nicki says that she could kill Connor in exchange for Kim killing someone for her. Kim of course assumes this is a joke and along with the alcohol in her system agrees. It wasn’t too shocking when her ex dies in a way that no one suspects was an accident and from there the rabbit hole began. Every time I thought I knew what was going to happen and was expecting something to play out a certain way, everything completely switched up with new information added to the storyline. I loved not knowing what to expect next and was shocked when everything came to light and the pieces came together at the end of the book. I never would have guessed or seen the ending coming and to me that is something so crucial in a mystery novel as I want to be surprised, shocked and overall just left with my mouth hanging open asking myself, “What?!’ when I finish reading that last page. You Owe Me A Murder delivered those reactions from start to finish though and it’s no wonder why it only took me 3 days to finish.

I honestly loved all the characters. While Kim wasn’t necessarily related for me, that didn’t take anything away from her or the book. She was smart and stuck to what she believed in regardless of the situations she was continuously put in. Both Nicki and Connor although he didn’t last long, were the perfect enemies. You felt the anger and dislike towards them when they showed their true characters. I loved Alex and the adorable romance that was mixed in with this mystery. It added some moments where I could relate to the characters and enjoyed seeing how it panned out.

Goodreads says You Owe Me A Murder is perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying, and I do believe that is spot on. It delivers the twists and turns that we all love in a mystery novel and has moments when you have to stop for a second because you can’t believe everything you thought was right is now completely wrong and the mystery just dove even deeper. It’s such a great mystery and easy to get sucked in and not stop reading until you’re done. So if you’re a fan of Eileen Cook, One of Us Is Lying, or young adult mysteries, this is definitely a book you should add to your To-Read shelf.

 

My Rating: 4hearts

The Sisterhood by A.J. Grainger

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Title & Author: The Sisterhood by A.J. Grainger

Publication Date: February 12, 2019 – US

     (First Published February 22, 2018 – UK)

Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Format & Source: ARC e-book via NetGalley

Where to Buy This Book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

From Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Lil stumbles across a dangerous secret while searching for her missing sister in this gripping thriller that’s perfect for fans of The Darkest Corners and The Third Twin.

Seventeen-year-old Lil’s heart was broken when her sister Mella disappeared. There’s been no trace or sighting of her since she vanished, so when Lil sees a girl lying in the road near her house she thinks for a heart-stopping moment that it’s Mella.

The girl is injured and disorientated and Lil has no choice but to take her home, even though she knows something’s not right. The girl claims she’s from a peaceful community called The Sisterhood of the Light, but why then does she have strange marks down her arms, and what—or who—is she running from?

About the Author:

A.J. Grainger lives in London, England, where she works as a children’s books editor. She loves writing and editing because it means she gets to talk about books all day. She is the author of Captive and The Sisterhood.  Visit her at AJGrainger.com and follow her on Twitter at @AJGrainger.

Other Books by the Author: Captive, In Your Light (UK Edition of The Sisterhood)

My Thoughts:

I was beyond excited when I saw I was approved for The Sisterhood on NetGalley, my first advanced copy since I have returned to blogging. The cover on the book immediately captured my interest as it looked both mysterious and ominous. The summary of the book only intrigued me even more as I love a good thriller and mystery, and after reading the description knew this would be a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I was not wrong with that judgment.

Lil is 17 when her older sister Mella goes missing. It’s only been a few months since Mella left but Lil is always hopeful of her return or being found. The love Lil has for her sister Mella is shown time and time again throughout the book. She refuses to believe the worst even when everyone else around her seems to have given up hope and partially blames herself for Mella’s disappearance. The reader gets to see the two of them together through flashbacks of Lil’s leading up to the disappearance and Lil’s conversations she has with “missing Mella” in her head. It shows you how much Lil appreciated her sister and the regrets she has now that Mella is gone and not with her daily.

When Lil first found Alice/Seven, I had no idea what to expect. In the beginning when she talked about where she came from and the Sisterhood, she was very short and it left me wanting to know more. When she began to open up about the Sisterhood, I got really excited. I loved the mystery that surrounded the Sisterhood and the Light throughout the book and how you didn’t find out the full horror of the cult until towards the end. The last few chapters had my heart racing and I had to slow myself down several times to take my time reading instead of rushing through to find out what happens.

I have to admit in the beginning, it took me a bit to really get into the storyline with how slow it took to get an idea of what  the Sisterhood was, but by the end of the book it had definitely all paid off. The storyline was something fresh, unique and I hadn’t read anything with a similar plot before. A majority characters were honestly all enjoyable, relatable and they all had a specific part to play in the story coming together. Of course the ones you were supposed to not like were easily dislikable and fueled you up. There are cute romances, friendships and family relationships side stories throughout the book as well. I would recommend The Sisterhood to anyone who is looking for something different, especially if you are into a good page turner.

My Rating: 4hearts

The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen

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Title & Author: The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen

Publisher/Year: Katherine Tegen Books/May 10, 2016

Format: ARC Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By the Author: The After Girls

My Rating: 4hearts

What This Book Is About

A passionate summer love story about a girl, her childhood best friend recently released from juvie, and the small-town lies that have kept them apart. A teen romance debut with a dark edge.

Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life. She and her friend MacKenzie are getting invited to all the best parties, and with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will be her boyfriend before the Fourth of July.

Local teen convict released early.

Jason Sullivan wasn’t supposed to come back from juvie. A million years ago, he was her best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd. Before he attacked Innis’s older brother, leaving Skip’s face burned and their town in shock.

“Everything is not what you think.”

Liz always found it hard to believe what they said about Jason, but all of Bonneville thinks he’s dangerous. If word gets out she’s seeing him, she could lose everything. But what if there’s more to that horrible night than she knows? And how many more people will get hurt when the truth finally comes out?

“You’re the one person who believes in me.”

Leah Konen’s southern romance swelters with passion as it explores the devastating crush of lies, the delicate balance of power and perception, and one girl’s journey to find herself while uncovering the secrets of so many others.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

First let me start off by saying this is a summer based book and if you don’t know by now, I am obsessed with summer themed books. Leah Konen’s other YA book, The After Girls, has also been on my TBR list (as well as my bookshelf) for a while now and I definitely need to start reading it. The Last Time We Were Us was so, so good. It had me feeling so many mixed emotions throughout the book and had me racing through the pages at the end to see what had happened.

The romance in The Last Time We Were Us was insanely intense. I had no idea what was going to happen and definitely wasn’t expecting the ending to play out like it had. I can’t say I was shocked, but I also feel like some of the characters got what they had been asking for throughout the book. The book is also packed full of drama between multiple characters which kept it entertaining as well as kept me sucked into the book turning page after page. The book itself was longer than most I’ve read lately (almost 400 pages) but I was hooked and breezed through it.

I really liked the characters in The Last Time We Were Us. I have to admit though my favorite character was Jason Sullivan and I can’t really say why he was without giving anything away. I had mixed feelings about the main character Liz. There were times when I liked her and was rooting for her and other times when I wish I could have reached in the pages and smacked her. Innis Taylor was quite the character, once again can’t say much about him without giving things away. Liz’s friend MacKenzie was alright. She had a few good friend moments, but I felt like a majority of the time she was immature and over reacted to certain situations.

Overall if you’re into young adult contemporary and/or romance I definitely think you’d enjoy this book. It’s one of the better books I have read in 2016, it’s in my top 10 as of now. I could easily see this as a book I’d reread again in the future.

Entwined by Heather Dixon

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Title & Author: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Publisher/Year: Greenwillow Books/2011

Source: Amazon

Format: Kindle eBook

Other Books by Author: Illusionarium, Perchance to Dream: Classic Tales from the Bard’s World in New Skins

My Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Oh my goodness, let me start this review off by saying I freaking LOVED this book. This is my first ever fairy tale retelling I’ve read and I am so, so, sooo happy it was my first as well. With fairy tell retellings being on the rise lately, I kind of turned my nose up at them and didn’t think I’d be interested. I was participating in a challenge on Goodreads where the one option was to choose a retelling based off of a fairy tale, myth or legend. I knew I didn’t want to read the same ones everyone else had been reading (and even raving about lately) so I looked up lists on Goodreads and that is where I came across Entwined. Before finding Entwined I had never even heard of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, which made this is ideal book for what I was looking for.

I was immediately sucked into Entwined. I loved the characters, the storyline, the setting. To put it short, I loved absolutely everything about this book. I don’t even know where to start with it. Overall it took me 2-3 days to finish during the work week and I spent a majority of my free time outside of school work reading. I loved the main character Azalea. She was such a strong, independent female lead character. Her sisters were just as amazing as she was and I would love to see sequels written for some of them. The whole palace and it’s garden and the silver forest was described in such detail it seemed magical.

As for the storyline, I feel like I can’t say too much without giving spoilers away. I thought the storyline did an excellent job retelling and extending the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It had romance thrown into it, along with some magic/supernatural moments and quite the action packed ending. The girls love of dancing was clear throughout the novel and their will to continue dancing although they were in their year of mourning showed how determined they were to continue doing what they and their mother loved.

I honestly would recommend anyone looking for a new book to get lost into to read Entwined. Don’t pass it by because it’s a retelling. If I had done that to Entwined, as I had done to so many other retellings, I would have missed out on an amazing book which is now definitely on my favorites shelf. If you love fairy tales, then there is no doubt you will fall in love with Entwined like I did.

Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

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Title & Author: Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

Publisher/Year: HarperTeen/April 26, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: Another Little Piece, (Don’t You) Forget About Me, Among the Shadows

My Rating: 4hearts

What This Book Is About

There’s a reason they say “be careful what you wish for.” Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for “balls of steel” and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.

These are things Lennie only learns when it’s too late-after she brings some of her uncles’ moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn’t mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles’ moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their “important family legacy,” she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

I’ve read Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn last fall and her other novel, (Don’t You) Forget About Me, has been on my TBR list for quite some time now. When I saw she had a new young adult book coming out, I jumped at the chance to read an advanced copy of it and I am SO happy I did. I raced through this book in about 2 days and enjoyed every single page. The characters were awesome, the whole storyline was amazing and the author did a great job adding not only comedy but some dark moments as well. Kate Karyus Quinn also made a reference to Another Little Piece (and she may have made one to (Don’t You) Forget About Me as well but I haven’t read it yet). The books themselves aren’t sequels or a series but seeing one tie into another was pretty cool and original.

“May all your wishes come true, or at least just this one.” I’m not going to lie, this line will haunt me if I ever hear someone say it out loud after reading this book. Lennie heard her uncles say this many times when someone would come through to buy their moonshine and would make a wish and toast the first sip. Of course she never realized that this was much more than just a toast, so when she sneaks out several jars of her uncles’ moonshine to take to a party, she causes so much havoc. Some characters, such as W2 and Zinkowski, have hilarious wishes that some true, others are far more serious and a few are innocent. Watching each wish unfold was entertaining and seeing the outcomes of their wishes made you constantly wonder what would happen next and if Lennie would be able to find a way to make everything go back to the way it was before the party.

All of the main characters in the book were enjoyable, even the bad ones. They all brought something to the story and without even one of them there would have been something missing. Lennie may not be the smartest character, but in her defense she didn’t have any idea of her wish granting abilities until after the damage was done. She was genuinely caring though and was trying to fulfill her dead best friend’s wish of going to a crazy party. Lennie’s dad was evil in every sort of way, her mother was mostly absent but played a huge part in the family legacy, and Lennie’s uncles honestly seemed like the cool uncles you’d want to hang around at a family party. They were tough on Lennie but only wanted the best for her and to protect her. Lennie’s friend Dylan and Dylan’s twin Smith proved to be two key characters. Although we don’t get to know Dylan before she is murdered, we get an interested undead version of her thanks to Lennie’s wish. Smith on the other hand was a character I thought I was going to despise from the beginning but grew to love as the book went on. Last was Lennie’s friend Larry, who you ended up feeling sorry for a majority of the time. It was clear he had a thing for Lennie and would do whatever would please her. He was also such a goody two shoes and momma’s boy that you felt bad he got stuck in such a crappy situation.

Overall, I really enjoyed Down With the Shine, enough to want to purchase my own copy to reread once it is published. I’m also making a mental note now to also purchase myself a copy of her other book, (Don’t You) Forget About Me. I would love to see Down With the Shine turned into a movie, definitely think it would be awesome to see on the big screen and I cannot wait to see what book she writes next.

A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

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Title & Author: A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

Publisher/Year: Greenwillow Books/March 15, 2016

Format: ARC Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books by Author: Stefan Bachmann – Goodreads

My Rating: N/A*

*Will post an updated rating once book is completed.

What This Book Is About

Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she’s been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780’s to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.

Or so she thought.

But nothing is as it seems, and the teens soon find themselves embroiled in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined. An evil spanning centuries is waiting for them in the depths. . .

A genre-bending thriller from Stefan Bachmann for fans of The Maze Runner and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods.

You cannot escape the palace.

You cannot guess its secrets.

(Summary from Goodreads)

  

I started reading A Drop of Night about a week or so ago. I thought it was going to be another YA thriller that would suck me in until the final page. As of now I am about only 50 pages into the book. When reading a book, I always give it the first 50 pages before I decide if I do not want to continue because I don’t like to mark a book as ‘did not finish’. I had another book waiting to be read, so I put this to the side and flew through the other.

There’s been some flashbacks to the 1780’s of when the underground palace was built. It’s hard to get into the back and forth from the 1780’s and present in the beginning and I found myself forgetting who is who when it came to the characters. The beginning also seems kind of slow and hazy. The main character Anouk clearly has issues with her family, and I’m still waiting to figure that all out.

I definitely want to power through this book and see where it leads to and how it ends. The summary reminded me a bit of 172 Hours on the Moon which made me interested in reading A Drop of Night. I will be updating this post with a rating as well as a review once I do finish the book which will hopefully be over the next couple of days, so be on the look out for that.

Take the Fall by Emily Hainsworth

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Title & Author: Take the Fall by Emily Hainsworth

Publisher/Year: Balzer + Bray/February 16,2016

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Format: ARC Paperback

Other Books by Author: Through to You

My Rating:4hearts

What This Book Is About

WHO KILLED GRETCHEN MEYER?

Fear grips the residents of Hidden Falls the night Sonia Feldman and her best friend, Gretchen Meyer, are attacked in the woods. Sonia was lucky to escape with her life, but Gretchen’s body is discovered at the bottom of a waterfall. Beautiful, popular, and seemingly untouchable, Gretchen can’t be gone. Even as Sonia struggles with guilt and confusion over having survived, the whole town is looking to her for information…could she have seen something that will lead the police to the killer?

At the top of the list of suspects is Gretchen’s ex-boyfriend—and Sonia’s longtime enemy—Marcus Perez. So when Marcus comes to Sonia for help clearing his name, she agrees, hoping to find evidence the police need to prove he’s the killer. But as Gretchen’s many secrets emerge and the suspects add up, Sonia feels less sure of Marcus’s involvement, and more afraid for herself. Could Marcus, the artist, the screwup, the boy she might be falling for have attacked her? Killed her best friend? And if it wasn’t him in the woods that night…who could it have been?

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Lately I have been devouring creepy, thrilling books even though it has been the happy holiday season. Take the Fall had been on my radar so I was excited to be able to read and review it early. It definitely met what I had been expecting and I cannot wait to read Emily Hainsworth’s other YA novel now.

Take the Fall was definitely one of the best young adult mystery/thrillers I have ever read. I did not know who the killer was until I was reading it for myself at the end of the book. My shock level was easily a 9/10 as I had never seen that coming. Throughout the whole book I was constantly guessing and wondering who the killer could have been. It took me a total of 2 days to finish because I couldn’t put it down (aside from sleeping and going to work).

I thought the characters in this book were perfect. Sonia was the perfect grieving best friend who had all the right intentions of searching for her best friends killer as well as her attacker. Gretchen, while never alive in the book, was portrayed excellently through flashbacks and descriptions from her friends and enemies alike. Gretchen’s ex boyfriend Marcus fit the “bad boy” role quite well, but I found myself almost immediately siding with him and believing his innocence. Overall all the characters were great and there wasn’t one who I really didn’t like or couldn’t stand.

I did feel as though the beginning of the book was fast with Sonia’s attack, Gretchen’s murder and all the drama that followed. Towards the middle while Sonia was working with Marcus to clear his name and find the real attacker, I felt like the book kind of slowed down and not much was happening. Had the book been fast paced and had a few more unexpected twists I definitely would have rated this a 5. The ending though was so incredibly done and so unexpected that you need to read Take the Fall when it hits the shelves in February.

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

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Title & Author: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories Edited by Stephanie Perkins (All authors listed at the top of the book cover)

Publisher/Year: St. Martin’s Press/2014

Source: Publisher in Exchange for an Honest Review

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 4hearts*

*I definitely enjoyed some stories more than others. Some I would give a 5 heart rating to while others I’d give a 3, so I felt a 4 heart rating was fair since it was right in the middle.

What This Book Is About

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

I would have loved to have had this review posted BEFORE the holiday but unfortunately I didn’t finish it until December 23 and I have a prior commitment to post a review on another book by December 25 at the latest.

As I said in the rating area, some of the stories I loved a lot more than the others. I would love to see some of these stories be made into a standalone novel, especially Rainbow Rowell’s, Kiersten White’s and Ally Carter’s. I will rate each of the stories individually, but they were all entertaining and fun to read especially with the approaching holidays.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell: 5/5
The Lady and The Fox by Kelly Link: 2/5
Angels In The Snow by Matt de la Peña: 4/5
Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han: 3/5
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: 3/5
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan: 4/5
Krampuslauf by Holly Black: 3/5
What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman: 4/5
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire: 3/5
Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White: 4/5
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter: 4/5
The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor: 2/5

I loved how the stories involved characters of all different races, backgrounds and even sexual orientations. They were all original and not your typical cookie cutter holiday romance stories. They also were mixed genres as well, some were contemporary and others fantasy. I definitely enjoyed this book and would recommend it to every single reader who is into young adult fiction. It would also make an excellent gift if you have a young adult reader in your life. You can’t go wrong with this book during the holiday season. There is a summer themed one scheduled for publication in 2016, also edited by Stephanie Perkins but featuring 11 different authors that I cannot wait to read.

Harmony House by Nic Sheff

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Title & Author: Harmony House by Nic Sheff

Publisher/Year: HarperTeen/ March 22, 2016

Genre: YA Mystery, YA Thriller

Format: ARC Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books by Author: Goodreads 

My Rating: 4hearts

What This Book Is About

Jen Noonan’s father thinks a move to Harmony House is the key to salvation, but to everyone who has lived there before, it is a portal to pure horror.

After Jen’s alcoholic mother’s death, her father cracked. He dragged Jen to this dilapidated old manor on the shore of New Jersey to “start their new lives”—but Harmony House is more than just a creepy old estate. It’s got a chilling past—and the more Jen discovers its secrets, the more the house awakens. Strange visions follow Jen wherever she goes, and her father’s already-fragile sanity disintegrates before her eyes. As the forces in the house join together to terrorize Jen, she must find a way to escape the past she didn’t know was haunting her—and the mysterious and terrible power she didn’t realize she had.

A classic horror story finds a terrifying home in Harmony House, drawing on favorite tropes and edgy, modern characters to create a chilling tale of blame, guilt, and ghostly revenge.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

I absolutely love young adult thrillers and even though we’re in a happy holiday season at the moment, I jumped at the chance to read Harmony House. I was even more excited to read it because it takes place in New Jersey where I am from and currently live. The summary just sucked me in and I knew the ending was going to be something I hadn’t been expecting.

In my opinion there was different twists in the plot that I hadn’t been expecting and hadn’t seen coming. I was turning page after page to find out what was going on and what would happen next. It took me 2 days to finish reading Harmony House, and I enjoyed every minute of reading it. I’m not quite sure why it was a lower rating on Goodreads (currently 2.96) because I thought the plot line was original and was actually thrilling.

The characters were amazing. I was of course rooting for the main character Jen the whole time. She was not only easily likable but easily relatable. It was easy to see where her thoughts and feelings came from and I often noticed I felt the same feelings she was throughout the book. Jen’s dad was quite a character as well. Without giving too much away, it was so easy to not like him from the beginning. There were a few other characters that made small appearances throughout the book who really added to the storyline.

The way the author brought the story all together at the ending was something I didn’t see coming and it surprised me. I thought it was a great way to end the story and to explain everything that had been going on. The descriptions of all the scenery and the house itself was described in good detail to create the perfect mental images I needed in my head as I read the book.

I would definitely recommend reading Harmony House in March when it is published especially if you enjoy a good thriller. I hope Nic Sheff writes other young adult thrillers in the future that are just as amazing as Harmony House.