Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas-- I Want More Red Woman TBH

Little Monsters

Kacey moved to Broken Falls to live with a father and step-family she's never known.  She's made a few friends-- Jade & Bailey, and she's grown close to her step-siblings.

When Kacey's friends start freezing her out, she's not sure how to handle it.  And when they don't invite her to a party, she figures they must be mad about something.  But Bailey goes missing from that party-- and even though Kacey wasn't there, people in town want to blame the new girl.

So many lies and secrets will be looked into in order to find Bailey-- and some of them make Kacey question if her place in Broken Falls was ever what it seemed to be.

YA Mystery is kind of my thing.  I love them, and I'm always on the hunt for the GOOD ONES.  Little Monsters wasn't perfect, but I would say it's definitely worth reading.  It was page-turning, kept me guessing, and had that extra little bit of town lore that took the what-ifs to a greater level.

What I really liked: The family situation.  Kacey becomes part of this family that she's never known, and they take her in like she's always been there.  I really appreciated that the stepmother and step-siblings weren't the stereotypical cold-hearted meanies.

I also really liked the Red Woman story.  I love a good Urban Legend, and the fact that something supernatural could have been going on added to the thrill of the mystery.

The part that saved the book: Bailey ends up narrating a few chapters and WOW.  I loved seeing her secret side of the story, and her personality was so much more interesting than Kacey's.

What I wasn't a fan of: Kacey.  She was okay-- but she was boooooring.  I felt bad for her being suspected of something she clearly didn't do, and because she had a tough life-- but I didn't think her personality really showed through on the page.

The ending: No, I'm not going to tell you anything spoilery.  I just want to say I thought that it was a little bit disconnected.  It was obviously meant to shock (which I appreciate), but it didn't quite lead from A to B, if that makes sense.  I ended up with a lot of questions and more than a few doubts of plausibility.

OVERALL: I say give this one a shot.  It's an interesting mystery with URBAN LEGENDS and MEAN GIRLS.  Although I didn't love everything about this book (mainly the main character's lackluster personality), I did love the twists and turns this book took.  Also, BONUS POINTS for no romance!!

Date Published: 7/25/2017
How I got this book: Thanks to Penguin Random House and ALA for providing me a copy to read and honestly review.
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 4/5

Character: Kacey
Book: The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks

  • Friend problems don't turn out too well for Kacey.  Maybe it would help to read about other friends w/ issues.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday-- Books For Your Inner BSC Character

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (August 15th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten YA Books For The BSC Character With-In

  • I love 80's-90's nostalgia, so today I decided to rec YA books for all the BSC characters.  Whether you're a Kristy or a Jessi-- there's a book for you:
  • Don't know which Babysitter you are??  Take THIS QUIZ & find out!!

1.  Kristy Thomas
  • Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill- Type "A", bossy, Julia definitely reminded me of Kristy-- the only thing she was missing was the sporty gene.

2.  Claudia Kishi
  • This is Our Story by Ashley Elston- Claudia LOVES a good mystery-- Kate is DEFINITELY channeling Nancy Drew... and there is a fashion element in this book.

3.  Mary Anne Spier
  • Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum- I see a lot of Mary Anne in Jessie.  Loss of their mothers, dealing with remarriage and step-siblings, don't like being center of attention.

4.  Stacey McGill
  • It's Not Me, It's You by Stephanie Strohm- Avery is totally a Stacey.  She's popular, boy-crazy, flirty, has to deal with mean girls, fashionable.

5.  Dawn Schafer
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli- Are you a Dawn??  If so, you'll love Stargirl and her free-spirit, love for the environment, DGAF way of life.

6.  Mallory Pike
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell- I can't imagine an aspiring writer NOT loving Cath and her mega popular Fanfiction.

7.  Jessi Ramsey
  • Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipota & Dhonielle Clayton- Jessi, the ballerina, would love to read about the dark side of the ballet world.

8.  Abby Stevenson
  • Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally- Athletic Abby would totally love the Hundred Oaks series-- especially this one about a soccer star.

9.  Logan Bruno
  • Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan- Logan totally reminds me of Dash.  He goes along with Lily's game and takes an interest in the things she likes.  He's a dick sometimes, but he's also sweet when it counts.

10.  Shannon Kilbourne
  • Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty- Jessica Darling is totally a Shannon.  Overachiever, princess who doesn't think she is, frenemy, should DEFINITELY get a dog named after her.

So-- which BSC character are you??

What books are you recommending this week?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

16 Ways to Break a Heart by Lauren Strasnick-- Not a Romance Book. A DARK Romance Book.

16 Ways to Break a Heart

When Natalie and Dan met it was electric.  An instant connection.  He admired her success and talent as an artist, and she liked his good-guy appeal and attentiveness.  It was so good-- until it wasn't anymore.

Now, Natalie is sending Ben 16 letters to tell him her version of love-gone-wrong.  He doesn't exactly see things the same way, but Natalie is determined to have the last word.

In case you didn't know, I'm a HUGE Lauren Strasnick fan.  I love that her characters are never perfect.  I love that her chapters are short and meaningful.  I love that everything that happens in her book means something to the plot.  She's so good at staying focused and not wasting words.

16 Ways to Break a Heart was a dark romance book.  Natalie writes Dan notes recapping their relationship and how it went from good to house-burning-down.  Dan and Natalie were cute at first, but there was SOMETHING about Natalie right from the beginning that had me feeling WAYS.  I was definitely wishing I could jump in the book and warn him away from her.

Don't get it twisted: this book is about a toxic relationship.  Even the good parts were tinged with something off.  I think the cover and synopsis kind of make this look/sound a little cutesy, and it is NOT that.  It is 2 people who kind of bring out the worst in each other.  And Natalie is a bit of a stalker.

I personally liked that all the characters were flawed.  Initially I was rooting for Dan.  He's not an angel, but at least he was upfront about the fact that he was a liar, a coward, and a maybe-cheat.  I can accept flaws better when someone cops to them.  But once he started resenting Natalie for her successes, I knew me and Dan wouldn't be besties any time soon.  Also, he needs some work on how to treat women.

I found it interesting that this book took a realistic look at a young relationship.  There isn't a right person and a wrong person, which I think is what happens in many relationships that go bad.  We end up hurting each other and get to a point where we can't seem to stop.

I think reading this book in combination with Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios would be a good recommendation for any teen getting into the dating pool.  Both show some harsh realities.

OVERALL: I loved this dark romance.  It's a quick read that shows how relationships can go from good to bad really fast.  Throw in jealousy, possessiveness, resentment, immaturity, and need for retaliation and it's a relationship ripe for implosion.

Date Published: 7/25/2017
How I got this book: Thanks to HarperTeen and ALA for providing me this copy to read and honestly review
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 5/5

Character: Natalie Fierro
Book: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

  • I definitely see some similarities between Addison and Natalie-- in personalities and in the way they are in relationships.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn-- This author NEVER goes easy on me


A camping trip goes horribly wrong and Ben is about to tell you all the details.  But first he's going to tell you about Rose-- and why their relationship went from convenient to necessary to dysfunctional.  He's going to tell you about his mother and why making her happy is his top priority.  He's going to tell you about Mr. Howe and the reasons he recruited Ben for the orienteering club-- which eventually led to a 4 day nightmare.

And he's going to tell you how and why he killed Rose.

I was very excited about this book the minute I heard about it.  I could tell from the description that it was going to give me all the things I love when it comes to Stephanie Kuehn books.  Mainly, messed up main characters that you aren't sure if they're the good guys, the bad guys, or both.

I can't tell you a lot about this book because almost everything feels spoilery to me, so I'll tell you this:  It's hiking and things go bad.  It's DARK, and disturbing at times, and it has characters that you can't really trust or like.

Right off the bat, I was hooked.  The beginning of this book delves into Ben's relationship with Rose. It started off as just something to do for Ben, but turned into "love" (I say that in quotes because I'm not sure if these characters really know what love is), eventually getting to a place where I wasn't sure what the heck was going on.  Was Rose playing head games with Ben because she was jealous of his relationship with his mother??  Was Rose restless in their small-town and wanted something more than Ben could offer?  Did Rose know something about Ben that we didn't?  Her motivations to me were a mystery that I wanted to know.

One of the more interesting parts of this book for me was that Ben suffers from debilitating migraines due to a traumatic head injury in his past.  Being that they were out on a dangerous hike to begin with, the threat of an oncoming headache made the tension that much higher.

I used to get migraines when I was young, and when important days came along (SAT day, graduation, first day of a new job), I used to worry that one would happen and I wouldn't be able to go.  I've always hated the way people throw around the word migraine because it makes it seem like it's just a headache to people who've never had one-- it's NOT just a headache.  It's not something you can just power through.

The best thing for me:  I love the fact that Ben was this character that we as readers didn't know for sure if he was someone we should be rooting for.  I wanted to root for him because he was telling the story, and he was someone who had giant shortcomings, but owned up to them.  I respected that about him-- but due to his violent past and that we KNOW that he's going to have a violent future, I had to keep reminding myself that he's not necessarily a protagonist in this story.

I really love the way Stephanie Kuehn does the hero/villain blur.  Everything gets confused and mixed together and by the end, I'm always left feeling a little icky.  This one was no exception.  The last line made me want to read this book all over again to look for clues that I missed.

OVERALL: Such a "me" book.  It's dark, and there are no true heroes or villains.  I love a YA book that plays with psychology and messes with my head.  This book is heavy on the character development, but also has the tension of being isolated in the woods.  I definitely recommend!

Date Published: 8/1/2017
How I got this book: Thanks to Penguin for sending me a copy to read and honestly review
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating:

Character: Ben Gibson
Book: Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

  • I think Ben could understand better than me what exactly was going on with this town and all the messed up people in it-- especially Ben and Mira's relationship.  I bet he has insight into that mess.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

It's ARC AUGUST Time!!

I'm doing ARC August for the 2nd time-- even though I'm completely terrible at reading challenges of any sort, I like to try.  My friends at Read.Sleep.Repeat are hosting this for the 5th year, so if you want to join in and kill off some of your ARC pile, head on over!

So here's my ARC August plan.  I'd like to read a lot of ARCs that I accumulated this year.  I'm also going to throw in a few older ones that I had been meaning to read.

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel
  • Why? Because I haven't read a supernatural fantasy book in FOREVER.

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
  • Why? Because OMG it's E. Lockhart and I have read EVERYTHING she's written.

The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin
  • Why? The cover is adorable.

I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski
  • Why? SARAH MLYNOWSKI!!! That's why.

The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes
  • Why? I started this today!!

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger
  • Why? I love Thrillers & I meant to read this 2 months ago.

The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy
  • Why? It sounds SUPER unique and I helped run the blog tour, so MUST READ.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zertner
  • Why? I started this back in February, but got distracted.  I really want to finish it.

Double Down (Lois Lane #2) by Gwenda Bond
  • Why? I super enjoyed the first book, and now that the 3rd book is out, I think I should read the 2nd one already.

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
  • Why? My friend Cassi loved this one, so I want to see what it's all about.

So, if I ever read 10 books in a month, I'd die of shock.  My ambitions are always bigger than my reading abilities.  I'm going to try to do alllll the reading though.

Let me know which ones you think I should read first (especially considering it's highly unlikely I will get to them all).