Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Spoilers part 2-- I'm talking about the things you aren't supposed to talk about!!

This is meant to be my way of TALKING about the THINGS that I can't talk about in reviews.  The twists, the endings, the OMG stuff that I don't want to spoil people who haven't read the book yet.  Also, this is sort of my way of asking you for help-- understanding what I read or talking through different theories and thoughts these book brought up for me.

This post is not for people who haven't read these books.  If there is a book on this list you haven't read, please scroll on through because there will be SPOILERS!!

These are the books I want to talk THINGS about:


  • I am a HUGE Courtney Summers fan and have been since I started blogging almost 7 years ago.
  • I'm super happy that SADIE got her so much buzz-- it's about time!!
  • Anyway, I wrote a review-- but so much of this book was SPOILER-city, so I felt like all my feelings had to stay bottled up.... until now!
  • One thing that really creeped me out was the pedophile network.  When Sadie went to that abandoned house and it became painfully clear that this was about more than just one random sicko.  This was a network of sickos who help each other out and I don't even want to know what else.  I felt physically ill.
  • The ending-- so, I think the ending is definitely open to interpretation.  We don't get told what ultimately happened to Sadie.  We know she was injured by Keith (whateverhisnameis), we know her car was found abandoned.
  • I think it's too easy just to say that Keith killed her and hid the body.  In my head, the hitchhiking incident wasn't in there at random.  I think Sadie got the idea from that girl that she could be free & be whoever she wanted to be.  Not Sadie-- not the girl with the dead sister, the girl who was molested, the girl with the mom that took off, the girl with the stutter, the girl who had to do some really hard things to make things right.  She could be whoever she chose to be moving forward.
  • So I think that Sadie is alive (unless something unsavory happened to her when she hitched a ride out of there).  I don't know if she'll ever surface and let West and his listeners know that there isn't "another dead girl", but I think she's out there.

A Room Away From the Wolves

  • WHAT???
  • I am so confused by this book.  I was thinking the Catherine House was some limbo state where people go to decide if they'll live or die-- but some of those girls were obviously from a different era-- so how could they not know if they were going to die??  Were they all in comas at hospitals somewhere?  That doesn't make sense (not that much in this book did).
  • Is Bina just imagining going to the Catherine House because her mom talked about it so much-- and the actual Catherine House is nothing like this?
  • Was Monet supposed to be the mom or to do with mom??  If not, why with the hair?
  • It felt like when Monet went over the fence she lived-- but them meeting at the train station threw me-- was that where they get transported to the next part of life/death?
  • Was the mom dead when she lived at Catherine House?  How was she able to be dead and after a summer go back and live?
  • Is her mom dead now?
  • Why did the ring break? What did the ring breaking signify?
  • Why did the girl from the house (Catherine) leave?
  • Where did everyone that got to leave GO?
  • What was the point beyond a creepy setting and a MAYBE friendship?  Was the main character any different than she was at the beginning of the book?
  • Like was she just half dead in the woods and hallucinating this entire thing?

The Last Good Day of the Year

  • The guy who ended up being the bad guy-- HOLY SHIT he freaked me out!!!
  • The way he was going through the attics of the townhouses to get into their house!!  I was totally shook.  I mean, Remy's grandma was saying someone was coming into her room-- and she wasn't just saying that because of dementia.  SOMEONE WAS COMING INTO THEIR HOUSES.  That is so creepy!!!
  • I still don't get why there were so many Santa suits involved after Christmas-- but that just added to the creep factor.
  • It was a good villain reveal, but I was wishing that the real killer wouldn't get off so easy as to just die a painful death.  I wanted him to have to face up to what he did and answer questions about what else he had done.
  • I'm creeped out just thinking about this book.

Broken Things

  • Can someone tell me why this teacher did it??
  • Because she's a serial killer??  She's a wacko??
  • Why was she "working" with Summer to write fan-fic?  Because she wanted to spend time with her with the intention NOT to kill her??  So she wanted to be secret friends with a 13-year-old and when that didn't work out, she killed her?
  • I just don't get what happened here.  I don't get why Summer would hang out with this woman-- unless it was because she was writing the Lovelorn fan-fic and Summer was passing it off as her own and that's why she didn't want them to know??  I get that, but Summer just strikes me as someone who would not hang out with this woman so much.

Wilder Girls

  • So many questions.
  • So this "tox" ends up being a parasite.... but why is it only on this island??  It's mentioned that global warming is to blame for certain things, so is this where the parasite came from??  Like the glaciers warming and letting things out that were froze thousands (millions?) of years ago??  I'm not a sciencey person, so maybe I'm not understanding what the author was getting at there.
  • The doctors were saying estrogen was a major component in the disease-- but if that's the case, why did the men get it too?  Was it that the girls who went through puberty and had estrogen were able to live with the disease better because the added estrogen did something to allow them to live??  Why does this parasite affect each teen differently (one has her eye go completely shut, one grows fins out of her back)??  And why do the teenagers and adult women get completely different versions of the disease? It's not explained at all.
  • How is this parasite infecting animals AND plants? Is that even possible??  And if it is how the heck would it have not escaped the island by now?  It would've infected fish that SWIM.  And algae and stuff in the water that FLOATS.  And it would've been taken back to the mainland.  Right?
  • What the fuuuuuuck is up with that ending??  If Byatt pulled it out is she cured?  What about the other 2 girls?  Are they about to go infect the whole world? Are they just going to die on this boat?

Let's Talk:
Have you read any of these books?  Please share what you think of them if you have-- because obviously my thoughts are all over the place with these!!

Monday, September 16, 2019

#Murderfunding (Murdertrending #2) by Gretchen McNeil


Becca is living a normal teenage life in suburban Michigan when her stay-at-home mom dies in a car accident.  After the funeral, a girl shows up accusing Becca's dead mom of being Molly the Mauler, serial killer from Alcatraz 2.0.  Becca can't believe her scrapbooking, soccer carpooling mom could ever be the sadistic woman on the app who killed people with a variety of vicious animals.

The only way she can see to clear her mom's name is to go with this girl to the Who Wants to Be a Painiac? auditions and try to see if she can find any info on the original killers.  But this game/reality show is WAY more than what it seems.  And now Becca is in a fight for her life....

I can't decide if I like the fact that this book was super similar to the first book, #Murdertrending, or if I wish it was more of an independent spin-off.  I wasn't expecting the original cast to be involved so heavily, which was a pleasant surprise, but the new Paniacs were complete off-brands.  I wanted Oreo and I got Hydrox.  I wanted Grey Goose and I got Vladimir.

I don't know how much I should say about the plot???  The synopsis doesn't tell what the book is REALLY about, so it makes it hard to talk in-depth about this book.  I think I can safely tell you that a girl that may or may not be Molly the Mauler (a serial killer from the first book)'s daughter, decides to enter a contest to become one of the new Paniacs.  She wants to prove to a Fed-Xer (someone that wants to out the OG Paniacs) that her mom wasn't a serial killer-- and the best way to do that is to pretend to be a serial killer??  Clearly, logic is not this girl's strong suit.  Anyway, she gets chosen to be on this new "game/reality" show, and everything goes haywire.

Meanwhile, Dee (the Cinderella Survivor) is determined to remember where her kidnapper AKA Kimmie? originally lived.  If she can find the house, she knows she can find out who the Postman was.

What I Liked:

  • More serial killer personas to get to know (although they weren't as awesome as the ones in the first book).
  • The new Death Row Breakfast Club was kind of awesome.  There's a dude from a Russian circus who is basically Gumby.
  • Found Family.  I love that trope.  This had 2 found families coming together.
  • Gretchen McNeil's talent at telling a story.  I love the way her books are easy to fall into-- it's always easy reading.


  • There was a national storyline playing out at the same time that this reality show was casting, and it never really went anywhere for me.  The ending tied it all together, so it wasn't there for NO reason-- it's just, I didn't feel like it was needed for the story to work.
  • The romance was just okay.  I really liked Stef and I thought the girls were cute together as Disco Dolly's, but something about the way it all developed felt off.  I mean, they went days being together without speaking and Becca would still be thinking that she liked Stef.  It just didn't develop great.
  • The whole flow was different than the first book.  In #Murdertrending there would be times of high intensity and then downtime.  This book had all the killing and tension in one short spot.  I didn't like that they only had one encounter with the Painiacs.

This series may fall into the reading category "just for fun".  If you're in the mood to be entertained, this will do that for you.  If you want something serious and literary and thought-provoking, this ain't your thang.

OVERALL: I liked it, but didn't love it.  The first book got some originality points from me, but this one sort of felt like a knock-off.  Good enough, but definitely not passing as the original.  I classify it as a "just for fun" read.  And I need those every now and again.

Date Published: 8/6/2019
How I got this book: Thanks to Freeform and ALA for providing me with an advanced copy to read and honestly review.
Publisher: Disney/Freeform

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Character: Stef Ybarra
Book: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

  • Stef is a Yentl fan and dresses as Barbra Streisand's character for her Paniac audition.  I just feel like the pageboy outfit would fit so good in the Finishing School series and that Stef would love it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday-- Books I've Been Avoiding

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 (September 10th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books On My TBR That I'm Avoiding Reading

  • These are the books that I technically want to read, but for SOME reason have been putting them off.

1.  Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett- Camping isn't my thing AND I'm super picky about romances (AND I didn't LOVE love the one Jenn Bennett book I read).

2.  Rabbit & Robot by Andrew Smith- Oh man, this one sounds crazy... and I have to be in the perfect mood for crazy.

3.  The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith- I'm avoiding this one because I loved her debut (The Way I Used to Be), but it also kind of destroyed me.  So I'm nervous it won't live up to my expectations and I'm also worried about turning into a puddle.

4.  PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han- Ughhh. I hate myself.  Jenny Han writes books that make me feel like I'm not even reading.  Like I'm just floating along in a haze of awesome characters.  And I STILL haven't read this book.  I've been putting it off because it's been SO long since I read the first book.

5.  Turtles All the Way Down by John Green- First, I need to be in the perfect mood to read a John Green book.  Second, I really really really want to like it and I'm scared.

6.  Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray- I've been avoiding this one ever since I read the first few chapters and it felt SO different from the first book.  It's also the size of a cinder block.

7.  What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick- I haven't read this yet because this author doesn't have any books coming out and I don't want to NOT have a Huntley Fitzpatrick book available to me if I need it.

8.  Shade Me by Jennifer Brown- This is one of my favorite authors of ever.  I read her middle grade books even.  But for some reason, this series feels so different from all of her other books that I keep thinking I won't love it??

9.  Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian- I'm picky about romance and super light books.  I guess I'm just avoiding this one because it doesn't sound super plot heavy.

10.  You by Caroline Kepnes- I have been wanting to read this for years-- but then I watched the show on Netflix and loved it SO HARD.  Now, I'm nervous that the book will be different and I won't like it as much.  Or it will change the way I feel about the show.  Or something.

Help me out!!  Which book should I get over myself and read first??  I do really good at reading books that you guys pick for me on these polls, so please vote!!

Which book should I read NOW?

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Rabbit & Robot by Andrew Smith
The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith
PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Shade Me by Jennifer Brown
Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian
You by Caroline Kepnes
Created with Quiz Maker

What books have you been avoiding??  What book should I just get over and read??

Monday, September 9, 2019

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly-- Chance and Fate Face-Off


When Isabelle and her sister Octavia are discovered to have locked up their stepsister and disfigured their feet in order to deceive the Prince, the whole family becomes outcasted.  The stepsister, however, becomes the Queen of France and seemingly lives happily ever after...

But what about those evil stepsisters??  What's happened to them??

Turns out, they're the girls that don't fit the typical girl mold.  Society has never embraced Isabelle's filterless mouth and interests in adventure and battles-- nor Tavi's love of Mathematics and Science.

Now, Chance personified is taking on Fate personified to try to change Isabelle's future.  Will Chance be able to nudge Isabelle into a happier ending??  Will the Fairy Queen's task be something Isabelle can figure out?  Will Isabelle descend into ruin as Fate predicted?

I was pleasantly surprised by this retelling.  I went into it expecting to like it, but what I wasn't expecting was how creative, thoughtful, and spellbinding it would be.

This story is about Ella's stepsisters (Isabelle & Octavia) and their lives after she leaves to become the Queen of France.  The secondary story is about a character named Chance, who breaks into Fate's lair and steals Isabelle's Life Map.  He's convinced he can change her path, but Fate wants to make sure Isabelle lives the life that Fate drew up.  On top of all of that, there is a Fairy Queen who agrees to help Isabelle if she can find the missing pieces of her heart.

It was an intricate story that involves a war, a troop of traveling performers, girls who don't follow the status-quo, and all the familiar elements that we know from the fairy tale.  I thought it was beautifully and smartly done.

My favorite character was Octavia, or Tavi.  All she wanted to do was study Math and Science and be left alone.  Her dry humor and blunt personality endeared her to me.  It was refreshing to have her in the book.

I think the reason this didn't end up being a 5 star read for me was the heavy handed nature of the message.  It was a very obvious feminist take on Cinderella, which is great-- but it also felt like the author didn't trust the reader to figure that out on his/her own.  By the end it felt like I was being hit over the head with the message.  Also, I could've done with a darker retelling (which was what I was expecting) than what this was.

OVERALL: Very creative and detailed take on Cinderella.  This book was a pleasure to read with a really fun adventure to go on.  I would read retellings all day/every day if they all flowed like this one.  I could've done without the heavy handed message though.

Date Published: 5/14/2019
How I got this book: Library
Publisher: Scholastic Press

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Character: Tavi
Book: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood 

  • I think Tavi would love the Math & Science included in this book.  AND it might help her relate to the emotional side of life.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Wilder Girls by Rory Power-- Strong Beginning, Non-Ending

Wilder Girls

When the Tox infected the girls at the secluded Raxter Boarding School, the government quarantined them.  That was 18 months ago.  Since then, the girls have barely had enough food or heat, and they've been hit with an array of disturbing symptoms with little to no medical help.

Hetty, Byatt, and Reese look out for each other.  They are each other's families.  So when Byatt goes missing, it's no question that Hetty will look for her.  Coinciding with Byatt's disappearance, Hetty learns from one of the few adults left that there is more going on than what she thought.  It's a race to save Byatt... and themselves.

I've been looking forward to this book all year.  I love boarding school books, I love horror, and I love apocalyptic-type books.  (Okay, this isn't the end of the world yet, but it's certainly a concern with a quarantined disease.)

So.... I really want to say I loved this book.  But sadly, I did not.  It's not that I didn't see potential, because it was clearly there, but somewhere along the way the story got lost.

Wilder Girls starts out strong.  The setting is captivating.  This island in New England that grew flowers that bloomed in winter??  And was wild beyond imagination??  Yes, I was all IN for that.  Then the story and the bonds between the girls kicked in and I was HOOKED... for a while.

I really liked the initial character-feel of this book.  The relationship between the girls was odd and interesting.  I liked learning about the island and their connection to it.  I liked seeing flashbacks about their previous lives and how the 3 main girls became close.

What I didn't like was when the book devolved into more of an atmospheric book.  The story and the character focus fell away and it was all gore and setting.  I wanted to know WHAT THE HECK WAS GOING ON.  This disease was something so strange that it begged explanation.  Scientific explanation.  I need it.  I need you to tell me how it works.  Where it came from.  Why it's not anywhere else.  I need to know.

I didn't get to know.

The ending of this book was SO disappointing.  It's been a while since I've read a complete non-ending book.  They piss me off every single time.  I don't need everything tied up in a neat bow.  I don't need to know the answers to all my questions.  I actually kind of like open endings... but I need there to be some type of ending.  This one just felt like the author got bored and said THE END.

OVERALL: I hate to say this, but I just did not love this book in the end.  It started out strong, but it got completely lost along the way.  Open endings I'm good with, non-endings enrage me.  This was the latter.  I think this story had potential to blow me away, but it needed like 50 more pages with SCIENCE.

Date Published: 7/9/2019
How I got this book: Thanks to ALA and Penguin Random House for providing me with an advanced copy to read and honestly review
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 2/5

Character: Byatt
Book: Bad Girls with Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten

  • I think Byatt and Sasha have a similar personalities.