Thursday, September 10, 2020

Blog Tour Review: These Vengeful Hearts by Katherine Laurin

Author: Katherine Laurin
Pub. Date: September 8, 2020
Publisher: Inkyard Press

Mean Girls meets Siobhan Vivian’s The List in THESE VENGEFUL HEARTS, an utterly addictive standalone YA debut that follows 16-year-old Ember Williams as she seeks revenge against the Red Court, a secret organization of Heller High’s most elite female students that specializes in granting and requesting favors—and which is responsible for the accident that left her older sister paralyzed.

A thrilling novel about a secret society and the dangers that lie in wait for anyone brave enough to join—perfect for fans of Karen M. McManus, Kara Thomas, and Maureen Johnson.

Whenever something scandalous happens at Heller High, the Red Court is the name on everyone’s lips. Its members deal out social ruin and favors in equal measure, their true identities known only by their leader: the Queen of Hearts.

Ember Williams has seen firsthand the damage the Red Court can do. Now, she’s determined to hold the organization accountable by taking it down from the inside. But will the cost of revenge be more than she’s willing to sacrifice?

I gotta say this book reeled me in with the cover and the "secret society" premise.  I mean, who doesn't want to read about high school secret societies and someone who is determined to take one down from the inside??

This ended up being very middle of the road for me.  It wasn't as suspenseful or dark as I was hoping it would be, but it did bring that Mean Girls feel that I love.

Ember is FINALLY getting to join the Red Court-- a secret society that uses favors as currency.  They're a group of girls who rig elections, break up relationships, and basically anything else they're asked to do... but it comes at a price.  Ember has been trying to get noticed by them because her sister had an accident which left her paralyzed years back, and the Red Court were at fault.  She's built her whole high school career on getting into the Red Court and getting revenge!

I liked that it didn't take long for Ember to get in to the Red Court and get involved in their antics.  I liked that she went through some sort of inner turmoil with actually liking some of the girls in the Court and liking the power she had-- but at the same time feeling guilty about that and still wanting to take them down.  It was a cool push-pull dynamic.

I feel like it could've went down in a more thrilling way.  I was expecting a big mission at the end to go wrong and the big reveal to come then.  It actually happened very gradually and without the punch I wanted.

I think this book was fun for what it was and I see potential for more Katherine Laurin books in my future!!

OVERALL: A fun take on high school secret societies.  I liked the characters and the revenge plot, but wanted a bigger punch out of the ending.

My Rating: 3/5

Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary eARC in exchange for this review & blog post.  It did not affect my opinions of the book.

Katherine Laurin lives in Colorado with her husband, two sons, and tiny dog. When she's not writing, Katherine enjoys reading, traveling, hiking, and listening to true crime podcasts. These Vengeful Hearts is her first young adult novel.

Twitter: @writerkatherine
Instagram: @kl_writer
Author Website:

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday-- ARC August Considerations

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (May 12th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books I'm Considering For ARC August

  • Since today's topic was a FREEBIE & ARC August is rapidly approaching-- I decided to make a list of the books I am considering reading during the challenge.
  • I am woefully behind on reading (also, the speed at which I read does not match the want that I have for books).  I am hoping to knock some of these out next month
  • If you haven't heard of ARC August-- My friends over at Read, Sleep, Repeat host this every year and it's tons of fun.  Go check it out!!

1.  Again Again by E. Lockhart- This is one of my all-time favorite authors (I think I've read everything she's written- including kids book- besides this one!).

2.  A Breath Too Late by Rocky Callen- I got this in a trade and I really really want to read it.

3.  Little Universes by Heather Demetrios- I'm such a bad blogger.  I really really really wanted this ARC so bad-- and then I got it and didn't get around to picking it up.  I blame it on the mood reading + pregnancy/pandemic slump.

4.  What Kind of Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel- I have enjoyed other books by this author and this topic is really interesting.

5.  Take Me With You by Tara Altebrando- Another author I really love.  I don't alway click with her books, but she does such interesting things with her stories, that I can't help but want to see what she does next!

6.  Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills- One of 2 Emma Mills books that I desperately want to read.

7.  Lucky Caller by Emma Mills- The 2nd Emma Mills book on my list and the 3rd example of me being a bad blogger because I really really wanted these ARCs and didn't read them :(

8.  The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White- Not my usual type of book, but I've liked a few of this author's books now and I want to try to go out of my comfort-zone a little more.

9.  Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe by Sarah Mlynowski- I really can't believe I haven't read this one.  I SO love Sarah Mlynowski's books (like she might be my #2 favorite author ever-- after Courtney Summers).

10.  How to Build a Heart by Maria Padian- I really liked Wrecked even if I did get frustrated with some of the characters, so I've been wanting to read this.

Have you read any of these??  Any you think I should definitely start my August reading with??

Monday, July 27, 2020

Should I Stay or Should I Go? TBR Edition- Part 3

I've seen a bunch of people do these TBR posts where they go through their To-Read List and debate whether or not to keep or dump the books.

I want to credit someone because I obviously did not come up with the idea, but I have no idea who started this or which blog I specifically see it on.  So if it's you, let me know and I'll link you up!!

Anyway, I'm going way back-- back to the beginning of my Goodreads List!!  Hopefully after doing this for a while, I'll get the massive list of 756 down to a semi-reasonable number (but probably not).

Here are the next books on my TBR (we're talking 2012 adds):

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday-- TBR for the rest of 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (July 21st) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020

  • I decided to go rogue and do a topic that I missed a few weeks ago.  I've sort of been on a hiatus because of having pandemic hangover and because I'm 15 weeks pregnant and just needed time to deal with those feelings.
  • Anyway, I'm excited to share the books that are upcoming that I'm excited about (and hoping that reading becomes more of regular thing for me because the pandemic slump is real!)

1.  Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly- I really enjoyed Stepsister, so I'm interested to see what this author does with the Snow White story!

2.  Now & When by Sara Bennett Wealer- I SO love stories where the character talks to his or her past/future self!!

3.  Admission by Julie Buxbaum- I would be lying if the college admission scandal didn't fascinate and disgust me.  I love when real life events inspire books.

4.  One Way or Another by Kara McDowell- This author's debut (Just for Clicks) was adorable, so I've had her on my radar for a year now.  I also like parallel universe books.  It's fun to see the path not taken play out.

5.  Nobody Knows but You by Anica Mrose Rissi- This author's last YA book (Always Forever Maybe) really hit home with me, so I've been eager to read more from her.  Plus, I love murder/mysteries.

6.  The Cousins by Karen M. McManus- I will probably read off of this author's books.  They're not perfect, but they're very readable and engaging.

7.  These Violent Delights by Micah Nemerever- This one got put on the TBR because it's set in Pittsburgh and I love a good relationship gone bad.

8.  The Woods are Always Watching by Stephanie Perkins- I'm really happy Stephanie Perkins decided to stick with horror.  There's Someone Inside Your House wasn't my favorite, but I saw major horror author potential in it.  AND there's a serial killer in it, so that's AUTO-READ for me.

9.  Deepfake by Sarah Darer Littman- This author always covers some really cool and topical issues in her books.  This one is no exception.

10.  Horrid by Katrina Leno- THE COVER!!!  But also, it sounds CREEPY and I love creepy!!

Are any of these books on your TBR??  What other 2020 books are you excited about?

Monday, July 20, 2020

They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman-- Mystery & Drama for the win!

They Wish They Were Us

Jill goes to an exclusive prep school AND she's managed to get into their most exclusive and not-so-secret society.  She's trying hard to have the best Senior year and put events of the past behind her.  Freshman year, just as she was about to be initiated as a full member of The Players, her best friend was found murdered.  Shaila's boyfriend confessed the night of the killing, but it hasn't been forgotten by people in the community, and especially Jill.

Now, Jill's brother is invited into the fray AND she's getting texts saying that Shaila's confessed killer is innocent.  She needs to find a way to keep her brother safe and figure out who really killed Shaila... but Gold Coast has a way of keeping things they want hidden, hidden. 

This was the first book I decided to read upon coming home from ALA Midwinter.  It just sounded so much like a ME book-- I love secret societies and prep school mysteries.  Plus, the title just screams MEAN GIRLS.

It starts out introducing us to Jill, she's a Senior scholarship student at an exclusive prep school.  She's also in a "secret society" that everyone sort of, kind of knows about called The Players.  They get perks like access to papers and tests, help from alumni to get into the colleges of their choice, and they throw the best parties.

Jill has been through a lot.  During her Freshman year, her best friend, Shaila, was murdered.  Graham Colloway confessed the night it happened-- which also happened to be their initiation night.  See, to get into The Players, you have to go through a hell of a Freshman year.  They get ruthlessly hazed, ending in an initiation that's meant to be remembered.  After Shaila's death, her boyfriend, Graham, confessed and was sent to a juvenile detention center-- but 3 years later he's taking it all back.  Someone is texting Jill telling her Graham is innocent and Jill can't help but wonder if they all got it wrong.

I really enjoyed this one.  It wasn't perfect, but I loved reading about the hazing, the imbalance of power, the exclusive membership. It’s all interesting and toxic.  I loved the way it was told in present day and through flashbacks.  I felt it really gave the reader a full view of the circumstances and what led up to them.

It would've been a 5 star for me if the mystery hadn't been so obvious.  I think if you read a lot of mysteries this one will not surprise you in the end.  If you don't it might not be as obvious.  I think the more you read in a genre, the more the "twists" become easier to see coming-- and that was the case with this book for me.

BUT-- I don't want you to this this book is all about the mystery.  I think it was equally about the teen drama.  The Players were full of their own turmoil, deceit, and pressures.  So, even when the mystery wasn't giving me what I needed, the drama fully was.

OVERALL: I loved wading into Jill's world and seeing all the flaws of prep schools, secret societies, and rich communities.  I felt like this book was 50/50 mystery and teen drama-- a good mix to keep your interest at peak levels!!  I totally recommend to fans of Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl.

Date Published: 8/4/2020
How I got this book: Thanks to Penguin Teen and ALA for or providing me with an advanced copy to read and honestly review.
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin Teen

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 4/5

Character: Jill Newman
Book: When the Stars Lead to You by Ronni Davis

  • Jill would love to read about Devon, a girl who is also a scholarship student attending a posh school-- AND she's in STEM.  STEM girls rock and should stick together!