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This is Our Story – Ashley Elston

This is Our Story – Ashley ElstonTitle: This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
Publishing Info: November 15, 2016 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 15, 2016
Related Posts: The Rules for Disappearing (The Rules for Disappearing #1), The Rules for Breaking (The Rules for Disappearing #2)

Five went in. Four came out.
No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.
Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the district attorney’s office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.
Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As investigates with Stone, the aging prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot, she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.

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I was so excited for a new book by Ashley Elston because I loved her debut duology THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING and THE RULES FOR BREAKING! I’m always looking for more YA mysteries and thrillers because there weren’t a lot for a very long time and the insurgence of them now is so exciting! When I heard about THIS IS OUR STORY, it immediately went on my list of books I added to get my hands on!

One thing I really loved about this book is how well it was set from a teenager’s perspective. I think the hardest thing about YA mysteries is making a believable reason for why a teen is involved in the case and why they wouldn’t go to an adult or the police. In the case of THIS IS OUR STORY, main character Kate works for the district attorney’s office (as does her mother) and she assists her boss by dictating and spotting details for him, as he has failing eyesight and isn’t ready to step down from his job yet. Kate acts as an extra pair of eyes for him throughout his investigation of the River Point Boys, a group of kids involved in the murder of one of their best friends. I really loved how well this concept worked because it allowed Kate to have access to the case and obtain more details than a normal kid or outsider.

The book was interesting from start to finish but I didn’t get quite as into the story as I had hoped. I’ve gotten sucked in to quite a few mystery/thrillers and I did enjoy the whole book but it wasn’t as gripping as some other books I’ve read. The story was still very well put-together and carefully crafted. Ashley Elston did a great job with the character relationships, keeping identities secret, and weaving in doubt and suspicion.

I would say her first books/series were my favorite so far but THIS IS OUR STORY was also a very solid read! I wished I had been able to get into it a bit more, but I’ve had such limited reading time lately and a lot going on that it could always be situational and not the book. It was a very good mystery still and I really did enjoy it! It didn’t stand out as much as I had hoped but a wonderfully solid book and one I’d recommend!

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Kept Me Hooked On: YA detectives. I always love mystery/thrillers but it’s hard to get teens on the scene in a realistic way. This was done really well and I loved how Kate got involved in the case!
Left Me Wanting More: Thrills. The book was great but I think I was missing just a few more thrills to really suck me in.

Addiction Rating
Read it

If you’re looking for more YA mysteries, THIS IS OUR STORY is a great one to pick up! It was pretty realistic and incorporated the story line well for the age and setting.

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BOOKS LIKE THIS IS OUR STORY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW    DANGEROUS BOYS

Just A Girl – Ellie Cahill

Just A Girl – Ellie CahillTitle: Just a Girl by Ellie Cahill, Liz Czukas
Publishing Info: June 21, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Netgalley
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 28, 2016
Related Posts: When Joss Met Matt, Call Me, Maybe, Throwing My Life Away, Ask Again Later, Top Ten Clues You're Clueless

After getting kicked out of her own band—by her own boyfriend—Presley Mason finds herself back in Wisconsin, helping her parents run their renowned music store. Instead of belting out powerhouse vocals to sold-out crowds in L.A., she’s stocking shelves and inspecting rental violins. But the shop isn’t all bad: When she’s vacuuming up late one night, she bumps into the guitar teacher with the smoldering amber eyes and the killer tattoo. And that’s when things take an interesting turn.
Presley soon finds that Paul Kellerman is as good in bed as he is on guitar. So why isn’t he stoked to share his band, Jukebox Bleu, with her? Turns out Paul has crippling stage fright, which he’s been self-medicating without much success. But when Jukebox Bleu’s lead singer gets called for military service, the other members beg Presley to front them. Even though she swore never to mix men with music again, the temptation to perform is almost as intense as her chemistry with Paul. Now Presley must decide what’s more important: a second chance at love . . . or rock stardom.

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I don’t read a ton of New Adult but I do have my favorite NA authors and Ellie Cahill is definitely one of them! I fell in love with her YA debut ASK AGAIN LATER and her NA debut WHEN JOSS MET MATT and every book from her since has been an insta-read for me. When I got approved to read an early copy of JUST A GIRL, I started almost immediately because I knew the book would be fun, flirty, and just the kind of romance I was in the mood for!

I really loved the music hook/theme throughout JUST A GIRL and it added such a fun and unique vibe. I love books that can really pull off a music scene because I’ve read several that involve music but JUST A GIRL is one of those books that really pulls you onto the scene and makes you feel like a part of the action! Ellie Cahill does an amazing job at establishing the musical settings, from music store to concert stage to practice rooms, and creating characters that wholly encompassed the feel as well. I’m always so impressed with an author who can really bring music to life in a book because I feel like that’s the hardest sense to evoke when reading and I was constantly able to make up songs in my head or identify with already-existing songs when referenced. I also really loved Presley’s playlists in between chapters based on what had just happened to her! They really added a little extra something to the book and they were so much fun, not to mention totally spot on.

As with any New Adult read, you expect romance and that is surely what you get in JUST A GIRL! The romance was cute, fun, and realistic. Presley ends up falling for a guitarist that teaches lessons at her parents’ music store and the two instantly hit it off. I actually really liked that Paul (the love interest) was a bit shy and found it refreshing to see some social anxieties in a male character instead of stereotypically finding in a female character. Presley is strong and confident, loving the stage and while Paul loves music, he has incredible stage fright that really prevents him from sharing his music in any way. I really enjoyed seeing the two characters work together in a romantic and mental sense and how they grew from getting to know each other. Their relationship was easy-going and yet meaningful as they both worked through their own issues to end up better people on the other side of this story. I really appreciated how realistic the whole book felt even with a sense of celebrity attached.

The whole book was just a fun and easy read. I loved getting swept away by the romance and again, the musical aspect was also just such a great touch. I was nearly done with the book and things were going so well that I almost forgot there had to be a big conflict! I was afraid of a little self-sabotage on Presley’s part but I really liked how the whole story ended up resolving and I thought it was a great conclusion without being too over-the-top happy ending. It was a very satisfying conclusion and very grounded.

Ellie Cahill (or Liz Czukas if you’re reading YA) is always such a delightful author to read! I love the levity to her books while still addressing serious issues. Any book of hers is an instant read for me and I’m always waiting for more! If you’re in the mood for some fun romances, her books are exactly what you need! view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

just a girl ellie cahill

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Presley // Character Obsessions: Singing, performing, friendship, honesty.
Presley was a fun main character! She’s much more out-of-her-shell than I am so it was fun to have her take the lead in the story and I got to live vicariously through her a little! It was nice to see her have a little bit more of a confident and dominant personality over Paul and I kind of like that the stereotypical “norms” were flipped there.
Paul // Character Obsessions: Music, teaching, friendship, family.
Paul was a cute, boy-next-door-who-can-also-play-guitar type. He was a little bit edgy with his music a total softie and it was just adorable. I loved that sensitive side of him and that he had his own issues to work through that had nothing to do with relationship issues. It was great to see a different source of conflict and a thing to overcome that wasn’t a relationship hang-up.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Music in books. Gosh, it’s just so rare that music and a musical atmosphere really comes ALIVE when reading. I love how JUST A GIRL really made me feel like I was on the scene. I could totally picture everything!
Left Me Wanting More: Tender moments. There were plenty of swoony and sexy moments but I was hoping for just a teeeeensy bit more personal connection between Presley and Paul. Just a couple more cliche cutesy moments that didn’t relate to Paul’s anxiety would have sealed the swoon for me!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you’re a fan of any of Ellie Cahill’s books (well I guess this is the third NA so you only have two New Adult books to choose from so far…) then you need to grab JUST A GIRL! It’s fun, clever, and just a delight.

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BOOKS LIKE JUST A GIRL

(Click the cover to see my review!)

OPEN ROAD SUMMER    DIRTY LITTLE SECRET

The Cresswell Plot – Eliza Wass

The Cresswell Plot – Eliza WassTitle: The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass
Publishing Info: June 7, 2016 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 1, 2016

Castella Cresswell and her five siblings—Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem—know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.
Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice.
Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.

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I was really excited to start THE CRESSWELL PLOT and actually dug into it as soon as I got the approval from Disney-Hyperion on Netgalley! The book sounded extremely interesting and quite thrilling so I was incredibly curious to see how things played out. Once I started, I realized either the synopsis changed since the book was first announced or I was just totally off-based with my expectations because THE CRESSWELL PLOT really wasn’t what I had expected. 

The book was definitely hard to walk away from. I was sucked into the Cresswell’s world and intrigued with Castley’s role in it. The Cresswells are an ultra-religious family but they basically have their own religion. They follow the rules of the Bible but their father also has written his own Bible of sorts so there’s this weird, blurry line of how much Father Cresswell believes his word is God and how much he believes he’s pulled from scripture. It was actually quite horrifying to read how terribly this family was controlled and made to fear the outside world.

Honestly, the controlling and abusive aspects made this book really hard to read and yet I also couldn’t pull myself away. I got incredibly concerned for Crestley and her siblings so I didn’t want to leave the story without knowing what happened to them, but I was constantly cringing at how her father treated them and the brainwashing that was involved to make the kids think that everything he was doing was God’s plan. I’m not sure how to classify the book —  realistic fiction, thriller, a mix, or neither — but I had set out with the mindset that it was going to be a bit more of a thriller so I had hoped for more there. Since it was so hard to read about the family life, I had been hoping to spend more time with Crestley or the other siblings outside of their property and exploring more of what “normal” life would be like.

The ending also happened a bit abruptly for my taste. There was a solid conclusion with a little bit of a lingering question but it all sort of happened so quickly that I was hoping for more of a transition.  I feel like the book could have benefited from a few more paragraphs or even a short chapter to tie everything up and explain what happened after the fast-paced sequence of events that led to the conclusion. I also would have really loved to know more about the father and exactly why and how he became the way he did. There wasn’t really much backstory or reasoning behind how he chose to raise his family so I would have really liked to see more explanation.

Overall, THE CRESSWELL PLOT was a book I couldn’t tear myself away from and yet I had a hard time reading it. The concept drew me in and I didn’t want to put the book down so it made for a super quick read and it was also something that made met think about lifestyles other than my own. Again, I think my expectations of what the book was somehow got thrown really off-base and I’m not sure if I would have picked the book up so soon if ever knowing that this was the actual plot. That being said, it was also interesting to read and I always like pushing the boundaries of what I might normally pick up so I’m glad I did read it.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

cresswell plot gr updates

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Father // Character Obsessions: Rules, purity, Heaven, scriptures. 
The father in this book was horrifying. I think the scariest thing is when a character or person is doing something that they truly believe is beneficial and right. He has so much conviction in his beliefs and doesn’t see the harm it’s doing and I felt like he actually reached a villainous level.
Crestley // Character Obsessions: Questions, family, good, opinions. 
Crestley ends up being the sibling that has the best balance of doing what is right and questioning what is really best for the family. She’s the one who really starts to break out of these harmful patterns and beliefs. I actually would have liked to see a better transition

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Kept Me Hooked On: Religious themes. I don’t usually pick up realistic novels with religious themes, no matter the topic, but I’m glad I read this!
Left Me Wanting More: Clues. I really am glad that I wasn’t able to guess anything as the book went on but I also like being just a teensy bit less in the dark. I would have loved to have pieced something more together by the end instead of a whole chapter to fill me in!

Addiction Rating
Consider it

If this sounds like a book that might hook you, it’s worth a shot! Honestly, the suspense really pulled me in more than anything else and I was glued to see what would happen. I think things could have been done a little better structurally but I did make quick work of reading it!

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BOOKS LIKE THE CRESSWELL PLOT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

DEVOTED    ELEANOR & PARK

The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3) – Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3) – Marie RutkoskiTitle: The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski
Publishing Info: March 29, 2016 by Macmillan
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 1, 2016
Related Posts: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Curse #1), The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Curse #2)

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.
At least, that’s what he thinks.
In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.
But no one gets what they want just by wishing.
As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

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THE WINNER’S KISS was simply outstanding. I’ve been anticipating the finale to this series ever since I read THE WINNER’S CRIME (five months before it came out… That only added to my wait!) and I can say that I was completely satisfied and overjoyed with how this series concluded. Everything came together brilliantly and Marie Rutkoski really gives readers a book with a bang to finish off this trilogy!

This series is possibly best-known for the level of angst and tension in the most gut-wrenching way. THE WINNER’S CRIME was full of “almost”s and “could have been”s and it was excruciating in the best possible way. My heart has ached for these characters and I’ve been dying for them to finally get together and just be happy! While I won’t give away details of what happens in THE WINNER’S KISS, I will say that I loved the consistency of the trilogy, maintaining that ache and pull until the very end. There are several things that Arin and Kestrel still need to overcome if they want to be together and THE WINNER’S KISS throws even more obstacles in their way (if you can believe it)! Every situation and scene is really so well done and Marie Rutkoski does a great job of maintaining conflict but still giving her readers that inkling of hope that things will work out for these two in the end.

I feel like Marie’s writing has grown exponentially throughout the series! I’ve found each book beautifully worded but it was something that I specifically noticed in THE WINNER’S KISS. Every scene appeals to multiple senses and really draws the reader right into this world. I could picture each setting, imagine the smells, and draw upon character’s feelings. The structure of everything came together just perfectly and I was so impressed with how lovely this book was to read!
I also loved the alternating POVs from Kestrel to Arin not only from chapter to chapter but within each chapter as well. It was great to be able to see the appropriate action when it was needed and not wait for the next chapter to catch up on the next character’s POV. This was especially noticeable during the battle scenes (YES, war! You knew it was coming) and it really kept the action moving forward!

The romance is, of course, amazing. Arin and Kestrel are a fantastic couple with an incredible bond and a whole lot of things to overcome. It was great to see their dedication to each other and each character has such quiet strength, especially when things get rough. There are moments of rage, passion, fear, and comfort and every single scene between the two of them was just amazing. I always love a good “forbidden love” story and this was perfectly crafted in every way. Both characters are incredibly strong and smart but each have their own strengths. I love the two of them and THE WINNER’S KISS was such a satisfying conclusion for Arin and Kestrel.

I also have to note how much I love the secondary characters in this series! Roshar became an absolute favorite and I just adored his friendship with Arin as well as his role throughout the rest of this series. He becomes a really crucial part of this book and really enhanced every scene that he was in. The other secondary characters really came to life as well and were a great supporting cast to Arin and Kestrel. It’s always wonderful to see such well-developed minor characters and how they enhance a story.

I’ve loved watching the characters grow over the series and Marie Rutkoski’s writing has only gotten more beautiful along the way as well. It’s so rewarding to really see a series blossom and grow and The Winner’s Trilogy only got better with each book. THE WINNER’S KISS was my favorite of the series and I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed by this conclusion. It was positively stunning, epic, and satisfying.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fantasy without magic. This was a really interesting concept, crafting a fantasy series that didn’t use magic, when it seems to be such a given for fantasy lately. I loved this new world, characters, war, setting — really everything about it — and the plot ended up being much more romance and strategy based rather than building a world around a magical concept. It’s done so well that it’s not even something you miss!
Left Me Wanting More: X factor. So this is more of a series note than specific to this book but I wish I had found that extra oomph that really flung me head over heels into this series. I wasn’t IN love with the first book and although I did love so much about the second and the third, it never quite came together as a series that I was fangirling over. While I was reading, emotions were high and I was having an amazing time reading these books and yet I don’t find myself gravitating towards them after finishing. I’m not quite sure why that is!

Addiction Rating
Buy them!

These books are just wonderful and fan-favorites for so many. Really everything is so well-done and Marie Rutkoski knocked this trilogy out of the park!

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BOOKS LIKE THE WINNER’S KISS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

GRAVE MERCY    GRACELING

Call Me, Maybe – Ellie Cahill

Call Me, Maybe – Ellie CahillTitle: Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill, Liz Czukas
Publishing Info: February 9, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Netgalley
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 21, 2015
Related Posts: When Joss Met Matt, Just a Girl, Throwing My Life Away, Ask Again Later, Top Ten Clues You're Clueless

Clementine Daly knows she’s the black sheep. Her wealthy, powerful family has watched her very closely since she almost got caught in an embarrassing scandal a few years ago. So when Clementine’s sent on a mission to live up to the Daly name, politely declining isn’t even an option. Of course, the last thing Clementine does before departure is grab a stranger’s phone by mistake—leaving the hunky journalist with her phone. Soon his sexy voice is on the line, but he doesn’t know her real name, or her famous pedigree—which is just the way Clementine likes it.
Despite all the hassles, Justin Mueller is intrigued to realize that the beautiful brown-eyed girl he met at the airport is suddenly at his fingertips. They agree to exchange phones when they’re both back in town, but after a week of flirty texts and wonderfully intimate conversations, Justin doesn’t want to let her go that easy. The only problem? It turns out that Clementine has been lying to him about, well, everything. Except for the one thing two people can’t fake, the only thing that matters: The heat between them is for real.

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I’m a huge fan of Liz Czukas’ YA novels and absolutely adored her first NA, WHEN JOSS MET MATT. When I heard about CALL ME MAYBE, I knew I had to get my hands on it quickly! Like all of her other novels, CALL ME MAYBE was a fun and quick read. It was also, however, the book of hers that I’ve had the most issues with to date.

CALL ME MAYBE started out incredibly cute. Readers get to know Clementine who seems just like the girl next door… if the girl next door’s family was filthy, filthy rich. Chaos and adorableness ensues when Clementine and mysterious hot stranger accidentally switch phones and end up making a connection while talking. The phone conversations were absolutely adorable and I was quickly falling in love with these two characters and their relationship! I loved how they got to know one another and since it’s New Adult, we got to dip more into the sexy side of flirting. Some of it actually really reminded me of text conversations I had while in college (well, maybe they weren’t sexy like that but the texts reminded me of my own) when I had all of the feelings for a new crush!

Fellow book bloggers might also love that Clementine is a book worm and blogger just like us! At first I was super thrilled because hey, she’s just like me! But as the story progressed, I sort of felt like I was reading something that I had written… but not really in a good way. Don’t get me wrong! This wasn’t the author’s fault, but I have a terribly, terribly bad habit of “writing what I know” aka, I fictionalize my own life when I run out of creative ideas when writing (seriously. This is why I’m a reader and not a writer) so it sort of started to feel like that for me. I also ended up having a hard time with Clem’s job choices and how easy/hard it was to find something in her field. Trust me — we as bloggers would love to write reviews and blog and get paid for it but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Some things just felt like they happened a little too easily since for me/us, the struggle is real.

My big hang-up, though, was that Clementine really ended up self-sabotaging and that was THE reason for conflict in the book. Things were going just fine until she started getting suspicious, jealous, and freaking out for honestly no reason at all. There really could have been some other conflict or maybe something more justifiable for her to freak out like she did but I really didn’t feel like her actions were warranted and that totally turned me off. I didn’t really feel sorry for her because any drama that happened, she really did it to herself.

I was so bummed that it started out so cute and really lost steam about halfway through. I just wanted so much more from this book considering WHEN JOSS MET MATT is still one of my favorite contemporary books and was easily a favorite from 2015. CALL ME, MAYBE just didn’t quite live up to its predecessor and was so sad that I didn’t fall in love with it.
view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

call me maybe gr updates

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Clementine // Character Obsessions: Reading, blogging, family, privacy. 
Oh, Clem. We hit it off so well and then you had to go and get all paranoid. It was really such a bummer because I was positively glowing at the beginning of the book and you can really see how quickly things changed for me by my updates. Such a shame that she had to get so insecure.

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Kept Me Hooked On: New adult. I don’t really read a lot of new adult but these books always remind me why I love the ones that I do. Though really, where was all of the good new adult sexy times in this?
Left Me Wanting More: Confidence. Clem didn’t have to be crazy confident but I would have appreciated something there that prevented her from getting so paranoid. That was really hard to watch and totally lost me.

Addiction Rating
Try it

The beginning was super cute and I loved where the book was headed. If insecurity doesn’t turn you off as much as it does for me, hopefully you won’t have a big issue! I just couldn’t look the other way.

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BOOKS LIKE CALL ME, MAYBE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT    THINGS I CAN'T EXPLAIN

Trial By Fire (Worldwalker #1) – Josephine Angelini

Trial By Fire (Worldwalker #1) – Josephine AngeliniTitle: Trial by Fire (Worldwalker #1) by Josephine Angelini
Publishing Info: September 2, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 2, 2015

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted...which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.
Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.
Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.
But how can Lily be the savior of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

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TRIAL BY FIRE was a really interesting book! I admit that I was a bit hesitant about the mash-up of science-fiction and fantasy with the alternate universe and magical powers merging into one story line but the further I got into the world building, the more I really enjoyed it! It was one of my first adventures into “fanta-sci” (the very first one didn’t go so well) and although it took a bit of adjusting, I really got into Lily’s world in TRIAL BY FIRE!

The beginning of the book was a bit slow for me. There were a lot of mixed messages regarding characters in terms of who was good to Lily and who was not so I was on a bit of roller coaster for the first portion of the book trying to get a hold on who I should like and who went on the naughty list… Once all of that sorted itself out and the focus started to turn more to Lily, I rather ended up enjoying things! All of the friendship/relationship drama in her “actual world” (or the world as she knows it) grew a bit tiresome but I also think it was supposed to. Clearly from the synopsis of the book and general concept, the reader knows that Lily is destined for bigger and better things… just in another universe. I was happy and totally hooked to see Lily’s place in the alternate world and what exactly she could do there.

The world building and magic system were really interesting for me! It took me a while to really wrap my brain around the fact that we were dealing with an alternate world but then throwing magic in there, but I rather enjoyed that the magic was grounded more in science and that the differences in the world were because of scientific reasons. Once I got to that point, I think I was able to see it more as an alternate universe instead of a fantasy world — even though it was a little bit of both! My brain really just has a hard time merging the two because sci-fi is obviously based on reality, a what-could-have-been, or speculation about the future and a fantasy world is something totally unrelated to our world as we know it. (I supposed there are exceptions to that like urban fantasy, paranormal aspects, and where other mash-ups but since I’m mainly a high fantasy reader, it was a bit harder for me to reconcile).

The relationships in the alternate world totally pulled me in too. I loved seeing Lily’s relationship with Rowan develop, as well as how complicated things are for Lily in general given that there’s already a Lily (known as Lillian) in this alternate world. Things really started to get complicated for everyone with a Lily and a Lillian and I got even more curious how Lily was pulled into New Salem to begin with! I loved the growth of each of the characters throughout the book and I was so happy to see Lily really come into her own.

TRIAL BY FIRE was definitely enjoyable and by the end of the book, I was sucked into this new fanta-sci world. I wanted to essentially binge read the series but I didn’t end up reading the second book right away so I think I’ll save it for when book three comes out! I’ll need to keep myself up to speed for this exciting series!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

trial by fire gr updates

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Lily // Character Obsessions: Health, magic, learning, friendship. 
I wasn’t totally sure about Lily at first but she really grew on me throughout the book! I was so glad to see her mature — both mentally and with her abilities — as the book went on. I was really happy to see her get a new perspective on her relationships and her own self-confidence.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fanta-sci. This is still a really new concept for me but I enjoyed how this came together! I think it was easier for me to grasp a little magic in a sci-fi setting than science fiction in a fantasy world.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. Overall I was missing just a bit of connection — to characters, to the world, to the story — that prevented me from falling in love with it. If that was there, it could have been a home run!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was an interesting concept and I think the series will only get better! I can’t wait to  see where it goes!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE TRIAL BY FIRE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

TANDEM    DREAMSTRIDER

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill | Book Recs for Music Nerds

Welcome to the blog tour for THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY by Lauren Morrill! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be on this blog tour because I get to talk allll about music! THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY is the story of Liza, the band’s drum major (for those of you non-band/music nerds, the drum major is essentially the band’s conductor and responsible for/assists with leadership responsibilities) and her mission to save her school’s band program from being cut. I immediately latched onto this concept because A) I’m a total music nerd (I was a choir-fanatic in high school… and college… and I still am) and B) because it’s Lauren Morrill! For my stop on the blog tour, Lauren (and I) are sharing some favorite book recs for fellow music nerds and I am so excited!

Before we get into the post itself, here’s a bit more about THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY for you to get more acquainted with the book!

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill | Book Recs for Music NerdsTitle: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill
Publishing Info: December 8, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Music
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 15, 2015
Related Posts: Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs, The Trouble With Destiny

With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.

Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.
But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

ABOUT LAUREN MORRILL

Lauren Elizabeth Morrill is many things, including, but not limited to, a writer, an educator, a badass roller derby skater, a former band nerd, an aggressive driver, and a die-hard Mac person. She also watches a lot of TV, eats a lot of junk food, and drinks a lot of Coke. It’s a wonder her brain and teeth haven’t rotted out of her head.

Lauren is the author of Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs, The Trouble With Destiny, and the forthcoming My Unscripted Life (October 2016), all from Random House.

Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram

ON BEING A CHOIR NERD

Music nerds come in all forms — from classical to contemporary, performance to listening, there are all sorts of ways to get involved in a musical passion. Personally, I was a huge choir nerd in high school and I was totally obsessed. I started my choir experience my freshman year of high school, mostly because my sister had and she absolutely loved her teacher and the subject itself. (I went to a private school for pre-8th grade so we didn’t really have a “music program”.) I immediately fell in love and it also happened to be something that I was good at picking up so that just fed into my love of choir. I had always wanted to play an instrument because I just loved music but instruments were expensive and my parents didn’t want to purchase one for me on the chance that I would get frustrated and not practice (by the way, there were totally right on that. I tend to practice the things that I’m good at and give up on the things that I’m not haha!) and choir was a much more reasonable option — no instruments required!

Singing was an instant hit with me and I loved being a part of a group where my voice got to blend in with others, including different harmonies! It was also a great option for chickens like me who had little confidence to sing in front of others, though I did conquer that fear a bit more as the years went on! I continued with choir all throughout high school, made it into Madrigals (a Renaissance-style singing group, smaller ensemble), and even picked up a few solos along the way. My junior and senior year, I gave up basketball in order to participate it the spring musicals (though I probably would have dropped basketball anyway, but it gave me a good excuse). I didn’t land any major roles since I had little to no action experience but every minute was just a blast and I was just happy to be a part of them!

choir nerd

Even in college, music was important to me. I remained a part of choral groups throughout my time in college and it was always something I had so much fun with! To this day, I still look back on those memories as some of my fondest. I’m not in any groups now because I really don’t have the time but it’s something I always miss and really hope I can do again someday!

THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY actually hits a little soft spot in my heart as well because I just found out that my old high school’s Madrigal group is no longer doing their annual Madrigal dinner. Each year the Madrigals put on an entire performance for an audience of friends, family, and fellow students and it always felt so prestigious and it was so incredibly fun. Granted, I’m not still in school with this announcement of no more Madrigal dinner so it’s definitely not the same as Liza’s situation but it does make me sad to think that there won’t ever be another one (for our school anyway) and that this is my very last chance to go back to the dinner as an alum! I’ve been putting it off for years but now I feel the pull to go back one last time and revisit one of the most fun times in my high school career.

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MUSIC NERDS

And now the fun part! I know you’re here for the book recs so let’s get to it! Lauren Morrill put together a list of her Top Ten favorite books for music nerds and I couldn’t resist adding some of my own as well! If you’re a music fan, you definitely need to check out these book recs!

top books for music lovers

  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: Leila’s books are always incredible, but I especially loved this one, about a teen misfit DJ. 
  • Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway: I love this book SO MUCH, and if you haven’t read it, you need to fix that NOW! 
  • Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker: Another book you have to read—it will make you want to visit Austin and binge on some music.
  • The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding: Funny and fresh, for your inner music-theater nerd. 
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan: Two words: Tiny. Cooper. Need I say more?
  • If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman: This duology is a punch to the gut, but it gets so much right about music being your life.
  • The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: Another punch to the gut, but Jandy writes so beautifully about music.
  • Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle: You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to hug Nate.
  • Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg: Fame meets Step Up in YA? Yes, please! 
  • This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen: I can’t make a top-ten list without a Dessen book on it. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal. And this one is just perfect.

I couldn’t resist sharing some of my own favorites too! Here are some of my picks:

  • Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: I’m not even a country music fan but I was so into the whole scene with this book! I loved the music aspect and how it was a main focus of the book (the country-wide tour).
  • Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols: This was another country music book that had me craving a trip to Nashville. Again, I don’t even like country but I could just picture myself in each scene and I wanted to be there!
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: This isn’t a traditional go-to for a music theme but I love how much music means to Kvothe and how his lute is really an extension of himself. Even when he loses everything, he can’t bear to part with his lute. I also want a set of talent pipes… but I’m not that talented.
  • Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke: This is a sci-fi novel about parallel worlds but I totally geeked out over all of the musical ties. The different worlds have different pitches and so there’s tons of music theory in this book which was SO much fun to see.
  • The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay: Nastya is a musical prodigy and her world changes when she loses her ability to play piano. There’s actually not a ton of music directly involved in the book since she can’t play but there’s that grief that the readers also experience for her loss of connection to her passion.
  • Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith: A musical genius and a rock band make up quite a bit of this whirlwind of a book!

TOUR STOPS

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GIVEAWAY

Of course we can’t let you go without a giveaway! Random House is offerring a Lauren Morrill prize pack of signed copies of all Lauren’s books and swag for one lucky winner! All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter form below! US residents only, please! Must be 13 years of age or older to win. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Trouble With Destiny – Lauren Morrill

The Trouble With Destiny – Lauren MorrillTitle: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill
Publishing Info: December 8, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Music
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 15, 2015
Related Posts: Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs

With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.
Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.
But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.

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I’ve been a fan of Lauren Morrill since 2012 when I first read her debut MEANT TO BE and the adorable contemporary novels have just kept on coming! THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY was no exception to Morrill’s previous works and it was so much fun from start to finish.

Naturally, THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY immediately pulled me in with the premise of Liza and her group of band nerds entering a performance contest to save their school music’s program. You don’t even have to finish the phrase “music nerd” before I am totally on board that ship and ready to set sail! I was a choir geek in high school (I’m not in an organization anymore but I think I’m still pretty geeky when it comes to choir) and I had an absolute blast with all of the music references, performances, and technical terms throughout the book. Lauren Morrill really did a fantastic job of bringing that music to life as well which is something that’s always so hard for me in books! Music is such a mood-setter and so important to a scene that it’s hard for me as a reader to listen to that song playing in my head while still absorbing the rest of the text but THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY had some really amazing musical moments that stuck with me throughout the pages. I was so happy to finally see a book that was able to accomplish this and it sort of brought back that hope for me that I can hear the music used in books.

Liza was a fun character to read about! Similar to some of Morrill’s other heroines, Liza is hell-bent on perfection and success although instead of academics or sports, Liza’s obsession is her school band. It was a great addition to have that noble cause of saving the school’s music program as a driving force as well so Liza’s ambition had so much more emotion attached and reason to be driven to win instead of just winning for the sake of being the best. It also really affected the other students as well and it was really great to see that side of Liza show when she’s working hard to save the band not only for herself but for her fellow band members also. This blind determination was a bit hard to watch sometimes, but not in a way that was too cringe-worthy. Mostly it was just hard to see Liza so hard on herself when small mishaps occurred and when she sacrificed the happiness of herself and others to achieve her goal. I did like that the story wrapped up well with her eyes open to this fact and Liza ends up learning how to let some control go and allow others to help.

The romance was super cute in this book. I’m not sure if you’d exactly call it a triangle but I can see how it might feel like that for some. When it comes down to it, it’s more of a “they don’t know we know they know” kind of a situation where the wrong people are in the dark about who likes who and delightful cute contemporary confusion ensues! I thought it was really well done albeit a bit predictable but I really enjoyed the direction the romance went! It has not one but TWO of my favorite romance tropes and I won’t fully explain how those happen so you can discover for yourself but I really appreciated how each, let’s say, potential romance played out. I totally loved the ending and couldn’t have been happier with how it resolved! My only minor complaint is that because of the way the romance plays out, there aren’t AS many swoony moments in the beginning but still really fun!

The friendships were also so well done in this book. It was great to see Liza have strong friendships, build new ones, ponder old ones, and realize that things change over time and that’s okay. We’ve all had friend break-ups, new best friends, and people pop up from our pasts so it was fun to see all of these things happen to Liza and relate to how she handles each one. THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY is lovely cute contemp so naturally, these resolve neatly and leave the reader with warm fuzzies!

THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY was a really cute book and overall, I really enjoyed it. There were a few lulls in there for me but the book was also jam-packed with adorable moments, hilarious slap-stick comedy, and beautiful growing moments. Another very solid book from Lauren Morrill and I’m always ready for more!
view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

the trouble with destiny goodreads

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Liza // Character Obsessions: Music, saving the band, duty, romance. 
Liza is a very one-track minded character. She seems to be wholly absorbed into whatever she’s dedicated herself to — first the band, then to her crush — and she sort of forgets what’s going on around her. As painful as that was to watch at times (I felt bad for her!) I really enjoyed her growth throughout the book and ultimately stood behind her!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Music in books. I’m SO glad the music came to life in this book! I was beginning to think that it was impossible to hear that soundtrack playing as the book went along but now my faith is renewed!
Left Me Wanting More: Self-awareness. Poor Liza just had a really hard time seeing things outside of her bubble. I’m so glad she started to shake this off towards the end of the book though!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY was such a fun book. It was just adorable and I absolutely loved the music connections!

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BOOKS LIKE THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE CHAPEL WARS    THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US

Video Review: Things I Can’t Explain – Mitchell Kriegman

Video Review: Things I Can’t Explain – Mitchell KriegmanTitle: Things I Can't Explain by Mitchell Kriegman
Publishing Info: November 10, 2015 by St. Martin's Press
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Retelling
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 17, 2015

A complete re-imagining of Clarissa Explains it All as 20-something Clarissa tries to navigate the unemployment line, mompreneurs and the collision of two people in love.
She was a smart, snappy, light-hearted girl who knew it all at fourteen. Now a woman in her late twenties, her searching blue eyes are more serious, but mostly amused by the people around her. The gap-toothed smile that made her seem younger than she really was is gone, but she still lightens up the room. Her unpredictable wardrobe rocks just like when she was a kid, but her fashion sense has evolved and it makes men and women turn their heads.
After leaving high school early, Clarissa interned at the Daily Post while attending night school. At the ripe old age of twenty- two she had it made – her own journalism beat (fashion, gender politics and crime), an affordable apartment in FiDi and a livable wage. She was so totally ahead of the game. Ah, those were the days! All three of them. Remember the Stock Market Crash of 08? Remember when people actually bought newspapers?
All of Clarissa’s charming obsessions, charts, graphs, and superstitions have survived into adulthood, but they’ve evolved into an ever-greater need to claw the world back under control. Her mid-twenties crisis has left her with a whole set of things she can’t explain: an ex-boyfriend turned stalker, her parents’ divorce, a micro relationship with the cute coffee guy, java addiction, “To-Flue Glue,” and then there’s Sam. Where’s Sam anyway?
Things I Can't Explain is about knowing it all in your teens and then feeling like you know nothing in your twenties.

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I’ve been working on my booktubing and decided to do a video review for THINGS I CAN’T EXPLAIN by Mitchell Kriegman! It’s a Clarissa Explains It All continuation in her new adult/adult life and… well, I’ll let the video do the talking! Check out my video review on YouTube!


view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

things i can't explain gr updates

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Clarissa // Character Obsessions: Fashion, job-hunting, journalism.
I mean, that’s pretty legit Clarissa right there. There were some total Clarissa moments and then… some totally where I just wasn’t making that connection. It was hard! It’s also so so so weird reading about Clarissa’s sex life!! Adult + Clarissa was hard to reconcile.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Nah nah nah nah nah! (That’s the Clarissa theme song. For those of you who now have it stuck in your head, welcome to my world!) This was one of my favorite shows of the 90s. Heck, it still is. I need a binge watch…
Left Me Wanting More: Original feel. I just didn’t quite connect to it like I wanted to. Half the time the character just didn’t even feel like Clarissa… but I think it was hard to read and not SEE.

Addiction Rating
Try it

This didn’t QUITE do it for me but… but… Clarissa! It was fun regardless and I think people will have fun reading it. I was hoping for more of that Clarissa feel so I didn’t rate it as high as I wanted to but I think people will still definitely enjoy it!

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BOOKS LIKE THINGS I CAN’T EXPLAIN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

ATTACHMENTS    WHEN JOSS MET MATT

#WickedReads | Nightfall by Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski

WickedReads_Sticker_15_2p2

I recently read NIGHTFALL (and hosted a Twitter chat with one of the authors, Peter Kujawinski) as a part of Penguin Teen’s WICKED READS campaign! I’m a huge fan of Halloween (as you’ve seen from the past two weeks of A Fortnight of Fright posts) so I was especially excited to join in on the Wicked Reads fun! A really big thanks to Penguin Teen for having me be a part of the Wicked Reads feature and hosting the Twitter chat!! It’s be a total blast so far and there’s still a lot more fun to come!

Today I’m sharing my review for NIGHTFALL along with some other “Wicked Reads” that I enjoyed this Halloween season. Whether you’re reading to get in the Halloween spirit or just because you enjoy some scary books, these were all some really fun books that will put you in a horror or spooky mood so make a note if you’re looking for a few good recs!

First things first, let’s get into the review of NIGHTFALL!

#WickedReads | Nightfall by Jake Halpern & Peter KujawinskiTitle: Nightfall by Jake Halpern, Peter Kujawinski
Publishing Info: September 22, 2015 by Penguin
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Dystopian
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 9, 2015

The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light, in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman.
On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.
Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.
Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.
Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.
And it may already be too late.

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I read NIGHTFALL for Penguin Teen’s Wicked Reads campaign and I’m really glad the timing for this worked out so well! I always enjoy a good, creepy read around Halloween (which I pretty much start reading for in September!) and NIGHTFALL was such a good creepy read for me because I’m a total chicken when it comes to horror. It was much more suspenseful with a little bit of horror and a whole lot of mystery so it made for an excellent selection for a scaredy cat like me!

Right away, I was intrigued by the plot of the book. The concept of years of day and years of night is really neat and I was hooked from start to finish in anticipation of what really happens on this island at night. I thought the authors did a great job of keeping the readers interested by giving out enough clues but still keeping the questions open. I sped through the pages to try to get all of the answers because I just had to know what was going on!

NIGHTFALL really reminded me of a mix of M. Night Shayamalan and The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry. It had all of that great suspense that you find in Shayamalan movies and the setting and characters really reminded me of The Giver Quartet, specifically GATHERING BLUE and MESSENGER. The feel of The Giver Quartet did make the book feel a bit younger than the YA range I typically read (usually on the higher end of YA and I tend to read more adult than middle grade) so I did find myself a bit less connected to the characters than I had hoped because they felt a bit young. That really wasn’t a bad thing but more of a personal preference. I really did enjoy the character dynamics but they didn’t feel quite as developed or dynamic as I had hoped.  The book was a really fun mix and I loved that it was one of those books that was so easy to explain in terms of feel. If you’re craving either one of those, NIGHTFALL is probably an excellent book to pick up next!

I will say, I wasn’t AS into the big picture answer as I had hoped. I really enjoyed that the reveal of what happened to this island at Night and who comes there was slowly revealed but I wasn’t super crazy about the answer. Again, this was more of a personal preference since it’s just not something I usually personally connect to but it was an exciting and interesting conclusion! (Sorry that’s a bit vague… I don’t want to spoil anything!)

NIGHTFALL was a quick and gripping read and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough! The suspense was really great it was a fun read, especially for Halloween! It wasn’t totally the book for me but I thought it was well done and with just a bit more world-building and explanation, I think I could have really loved it!

MORE WICKED READS

I love mood/seasonal reading for Halloween and it’s the one season I really read for every year! Here are some more of my favorite books that put me in a Halloween mood and some excellent “Wicked Reads”! 

THE ACCIDENT SEASON by Moira Fowley-Doyle

The Accident Season

THE ACCIDENT SEASON is another one of Penguin’s selected Wicked Reads (see the full list on their Tumblr!) and it was one I really enjoyed! It had such an amazing atmosphere, a great mystery, and some lovely character development. I was so hooked from start to finish and it really put me in a fall mood even though I read it in the summer! | REVIEW


PAPER VALENTINE by Brenna Yovanoff

Paper Valentine

I haven’t read the other two Brenna Yovanoff books on the Wicked Reads list yet but I have read PAPER VALENTINE and I thought it was so great! This is another book with a fantastic atmosphere and a little bit of a murder mystery. The book is quirky, interesting, and unique and it really made me anxious to read more of Brenna Yovanoff’s books! | REVIEW


THE FALL by Bethany Griffin

The Fall – Bethany Griffin

I read THE FALL last year for Halloween and it was so delightfully creepy. It was just the perfect amount of horror for me to be excellently creeped out but not too scared! THE FALL is an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher and I thought it was so  well done! | REVIEW


THIS DARK ENDEAVOR by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavor (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #1) – Kenneth Oppel

THIS DARK ENDEAVOR is an adaptation of Frankenstein but not all of it takes place in book one! I’ve only read the first book so far but I really want to continue with this series because I was definitely intrigued by the happenings in book one and like THE FALL, I loved the gothic horror feel! This was such a fun adaptation and I really want to get even more into the Frankenstein’s monster portion! | REVIEW


Don’t miss Penguin Teen’s #TwitterGhostStory feature on Twitter! It’s a week-long event from Monday, October 26th to Saturday October 31st in which you can write a spooky story in 140 characters or less using #TwitterGhostStory! Participants using the hashtag will be entered for the chance to win a prize pack of the featured Wicked Reads titles.

There is also still one more #WickedReads Twitter chat left! It’ll be this Friday the 30th at 4pm Eastern with some awesome Wicked Reads authors! Hope to see you there!!

That’ll do it for my Wicked Reads recommendations! Have you read any of these? Which books would you recommend for some great Halloween or fall reads? I always love to hear of some more books that are perfect for horror-chickens like me!!