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!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Adult Book Mini Reviews-- The British Mysteries

  • I read both of these books on audio.  I've been in the mood for mysteries lately... and only mysteries.  It's like my brain can't concentrate and slow down unless it's to figure out who is the killer and why.  But during times of stress, I always just go with my gut & read what my brain is feeling-- or a reading slump could come along quickly.
  • Here are 2 of the Mysteries that I've read recently and some thoughts:

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Goodreads Synopsis:

She was fifteen, her mother's golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.

And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.

Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.

Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?

Who still has secrets to hide?

My Thoughts:

A daughter (Ellie) goes missing and 10 years later her mother is just marking time.  But the case is about the heat up-- they finally get some answers about Ellie.  That's not enough for Laurel though-- she wants to know all the answers to what happened to her daughter.

Meanwhile, life starts finally moving forward for Laurel.  She meets a man who completely sweeps her off her feet.  Everything is changing.  Then, she meets her new boyfriend's daughter-- who is alarmingly mature for an 8-year-old... and looks exactly like Ellie!!

I loved how this story started off by grabbing me right away!!  I was hooked and intrigued as to why this really happy, seemingly perfect girl could be a presumed runaway.  I felt so sorry for Laurel, but she was also so broken that she wasn't a very good mother to her other children.  I was happy when she started getting something to live for, but I was also VERY suspicious.  Floyd (the new boyfriend) definitely felt too good to be true.

I really liked this one and would be giving it 5 stars if it tried to be a little more surprising in the plot. As it was, it’s pretty easy to see where it was all going and none of the reveals shocked me to any degree. But given the way it’s written, maybe it’s not supposed to be a shocking thriller. Maybe it’s just supposed to be a sad story with some hope sprinkled in?

I liked that this story went deep.  It was really layered and full of characters that felt real.  And it was completely satisfying in the end.

OVERALL: I definitely recommend this one.  It wasn't SUPER twisty, but it was such a good and unique story.

Date Published: 4/17/2018
How I got this book: Library
Publisher: Atria Books/Simon & Schuster

My Rating: 4.5/5

The Whisper Man by Alex North

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed "The Whisper Man," for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter's crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window... 

My Thoughts:

The Whisper Man is about child abductions that are taking place now that seem to be similar to a serial killer that was caught years ago.  It follows the detective who had a hand in catching The Whisper Man and is now working on the new case, and a man who is recently widowed and is moving to get a fresh start.

There was something about this book that felt short-story-ish to me.  Would it have worked better as a short story??  Maybe.  The lack of build-up made me doubt the need for so many pages.

It's not that this book isn't good or that I didn't enjoy it.  Because I did enjoy it, but I was hoping for something truly creepy and twisty.  There was a twist (or 2), but they were revealed so slowly that I didn't have that shocked & stunned feeling.

What I did really like in this book was the character development.  I loved that the 2 narrators had complete stories that felt full and alive.  I loved little Jake.  He was one of those interesting little kids that seem like little adults-- wise for his age, knowing more than you'd think a 5 year-old should know.

OVERALL: I loved the idea behind this book, but thought it would've worked better as a short story.  There wasn't enough happening for it to be as long as it was.  I still really liked it, but was hoping for a SHOCKING twist that never came.

Date Published: 6/13/2019
How I got this book: Library
Publisher: Penguin Books UK

My Rating: 3.5/5

Have you read either of these books?? Thoughts?  Share with me!!