The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

“Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review!

“I would not just disappear into a void as though I’d never existed. I would not accept that I was less than these people just because they’d designed me that way.”

Stars (Out of 10): 2.5/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I have friends that both loved and hated this book, so I had no idea what to expect going in. For the most part, I loved the plot and the story, and was enjoying reading it (read it all in one sitting, it had me hooked!). And then I hit roughly 60% of the way in, and this book decided to do everything I disliked basically. The star review dropped quickly after that. Also, I desperately wanted this to be a stand-alone, but suddenly it’s a trilogy and I hate that I now feel obligated to continue reading.

The Good: I really enjoyed the plot for most of the book. I enjoyed the political intrigue and planning going on. I also felt that the author did a decent job of making the main character, Nemesis, act like a different creature and think different in general from a ‘normal human,’ even if it made it really hard to relate at first, and get into the book.

The Bad: I’m gonna try and be as vague as possible without spoilers. First off, I never found myself able to connect with characters, and when I was about to with Nemesis, the situation suddenly changed and I wasn’t a fan of her anymore. The side characters, often a saving grace in a book, were constantly either dead or lying, or suddenly ditched by Nemesis, so you never could really get attached to those guys either.

Now here’s my problem with the plot, and why I started disliking the book after 60% in the vaguest terms possible. For the first 50-60% of the book, we follow more of a physical plot, based on actions and effects rather than emotions and change there. By the time the author decided to make the romance more tension filled, I was way too into this physical plot mindset to be able to fully go along with the emotional plot shift we had for the next hundred pages or so. This made the sudden focus on emotions and relationships really jarring, and unnatural feeling. Even worse, we take a sudden spin back to this physical plot for the last 5-10%, and by that point, you got sucked into worrying about emotions, and less about actual events, so you get all disoriented by the sudden change again. And on top of that, the ending was such a mess of truth and lies that that’s hard to discern when you’re just coming out of a whirlpool of emotions a chapter ago. I’ll be more specific about this down in spoilers, but this was probably one of the main things that irks me still after reading.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Release by Patrick Ness

“Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! This is my first experience reading a Patrick Ness book (except for reading a chapter or two from The Rest of Us Just Live Here)!

“It was so much easier to be loved than to have to do any of the desperate work of loving.”

Stars (Out of 10): 5/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: This book was, okay? I really liked parts of it, but then other parts were confusing and felt completely unnecessary (basically the whole extra side plot going in, if I’ll be honest.) It did a great job of dealing with tough issues in the main plotline with Adam, but then this magical realism tie-in plot about a girl who died kinda took away from it. I honestly found myself skimming those parts more as I continued further into the book, as it just read so odd and was pretty confusing. If we had just had the plot with Adam, and his horrible yet freeing day, I probably would’ve ended up rating this book higher.

The Good: It was dark and it was gritty and it was everything it needed to be to properly tell the story of Adam, of his heart broken by friends, lovers, and family. It dealt with everything realistically, and while yes it was a bit weird for everything to suddenly go wrong on the same day, I understand that was needed for this novel to be the way it is. Adam’s story was a tough one to read, but it’s one that I feel we all need to hear, the cruelty and hardships he faces just for being different than what his family expects to be, just for being himself and having his own beliefs. On top of all that, it also dealt with issues that all of us might feel, losing friends to the future and struggling with love and the loss of it.

The Bad: My main issue with the whole novel is definitely the whole magical realism subplot about a dead girl and some magic queen. It didn’t feel like it was given enough space to actually make enough sense, but then I also feel it took up too much space in the novel, took me too much out of Adam’s story at points. If this idea had been given it’s own space and time to exist, it could have flourished, and I could have enjoyed it. But it felt like these two stories combatted for my attention more than they flowed together to create a larger meaning, and that is why I had to rate the book the way I did.

The Graces by Laure Eve

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! I know this came out quite a while ago, but I still had my NetGalley ARC and decided to finally give it a shot!

First off, I would like to thank the publisher and author for providing me this ARC to review. Please note that the version I read was an advanced copy, and certain events/language may be changed in the published edition.

“That night I think we were trying to fight against death, against boredom and banality, against everything that made us cry and stare at our futures full in the face with dread.”

Stars (Out of 10): 3.5/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I really wanted to love this book, because I absolutely fell in love with the amazing covers. However, it seems it didn’t really do it for me. I felt like a floated along through the entire book, reading and enjoying the story, but not feeling connected, never feeling worried or scared when bad things happened, and never feeling happy or overjoyed during the happy moments. Additionally, even though the plot idea was pretty intriguing, I felt the main ‘twist’ was way too obvious way too early, so by the end I kinda already knew what to expect, and the secrets that everyone was keeping.

The Good: I really liked the dark atmosphere the book kinda seemed to have, and what the ending could mean for book two (even if parts of the ending felt vague). I also did enjoy reading this, just less so than a lot others for reasons below.

The Bad: I did not find myself really caring about any of the side characters, and the MC even less so. I also am not the biggest fan of books with little plot in the beginning, and it felt like this one floated as things were beginning to build up. And while later that become important later, while reading it just wasn’t that enjoyable. Additionally, the most important part of the plot was pretty predictable.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

“10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.’

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! It’s been a while, but I’m finally getting around to writing reviews for all the books I’ve read this summer! This book specifically I read with Allison and another friend of ours. Allison’s review is also up as well, so definitely go check that out as well!

Grief is one big, gaping hole, isn’t it? It’s everywhere and all consuming. Some days you think you can’t go on because the only thing waiting for you is more despair. Some days you don’t want to go on because it’s easier to give up than to get hurt again.”

Stars (Out of 10): 6/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I’m not quite sure how to put into words how I feel for this book. It’s not really a book you pick up for enjoyment, but one you pick up to feel something, and to have your perception of the world messed with. It was written beautifully, with words made to tie you into the stories, to feel what these kids felt as their world collapsed around them. It definitely had it’s flaws, which I’ll put down in the other sections, but it was still a great read and I am glad I read it.

The Good: My favorite thing about this story was probably the depth the author was able to give to the characters, especially to the side characters, in 54 minutes of their lives. Additionally, I felt the author’s writing style meshed fantastically with the plot and ideas of this book, and were able to bring both the physical aspect that the book needed, as well as the heavier emotional aspect.

The Bad: Most of my issues with the book came from the characters themselves. Some moments felt weird, or like they didn’t belong, and in others the logic and thinking of the characters made no sense, and resulted in terrible consequences that definitely did not need to happen. Additionally, the main relationship in this book felt wrong, and that never ended up being dealt with. Also, I had a harder time getting attached to the main characters than the side characters, which may have been the fault of the quick flip-flopping POVs, and not truly being able to feel for a character before being moved on to the next POV.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

“10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hello Allison here! Once again, back with a buddy read I did with Meaghan and a mutual friend of ours.

Stars (Out of 10): 6.5

Overall Thoughts: My thoughts about this book are very complex and not easy to explain, so I’ll try my best. I felt it was hard to fall in love with the characters since the chapters were told more in a snapshot way, bouncing between characters, but I still ended up ugly crying in the end. In fact, I’m writing this review with tears still in my eyes from said ugly crying. This book is a fast read and honestly you could read it in a few hours in one sitting. The writing is beautiful and that is most of the reason I’m crying so much. The logic in this book isn’t always good, but it tries it’s best.

The Good: The writing is amazing and I cried about characters that I didn’t even feel attached to. The writing just gave me chills. There are some lines that I will never be able to forget. You never really realize how much can go down in a minute, but this book really packs a lot in the fifty four minutes. It’s a fast read. I loved the tweets and blog posts and texts from other characters that don’t get a point of view at the end of each chapter.

The Bad: I never grew attached to any one character more than the others due to the quick change of point of views. I felt that the characters did not always have the smartest plans or the most logical actions to the situation. There were a few points where I accidentally found myself doing the invisible equations meme because of how dumb the characters were. The shooter is pretty much one dimensional.

Spoilers down below!

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Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

“Seven students. Seven (deadly) sins. One secret.

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—from Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage, to Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the seven unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads


Hello Allison here! When I read the concept for this book, I knew I had to read it. I buddy read it with Meaghan and a mutual friend of ours and we all loved it.

Stars (Out of 10): 7.5/10

Overall Thoughts: This book was amazing. Honestly, I was hooked once I got 100 pages in. I couldn’t put it down. Most of the characters were easily loveable, even with their sins. I highly recommend this book if you like the concept of characters from very different backgrounds and social circles coming together to form a cool group, bonded by a unique experience. That’s quickly becoming my favorite trope and this book does it so well.

The Good: Most of the characters are loveable or you can grow to love them. The plot is interesting and it is great how it unites all the characters. The characters are very diverse in background. It also has great representation of sexuality, including a pansexual character and a aro/ace character. Likewise, it has a female character who embraces her sexuality but is still treated as a genuine human being and I’m so happy for that.

The Bad: This book is not for you if you do not like student-teacher affairs to be seen in a positive light. Also, one of my biggest complaints about this book is the ending, but I don’t want to get too spoilerly so I will talk about that under/within the spoiler tag.

*Spoilers below*

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Because You Love To Hate Me Anthology (13 Authors + 13 Booktubers!)

Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review! When I first heard about this anthology project, I was obviously quite excited. While not all the stories lived up to my expectation, I did enjoy most of them!

We love to hate them and they hate to be loved, if only because being hated frees them from having to be good.”

Stars (Out of 10): 5/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: As a whole, this anthology was meh. There were stories that I loved, but also a lot that I saw myself skimming through, or not enjoying as much as others. Some formats just also didn’t fit, and some stories were fairly confusing as well. Overall, it was an intriguing anthology, and I really enjoyed seeing different author’s takes on both the challenges given to them, and the idea of the anthology in general.

The Good: About half of the stories were really unique, with prompts that were very interesting to read and explore! I got to see quick story ideas that I probably would not have been able to see otherwise, and by authors I knew and love from other books! For some stories, it was just an amazing combination!

The Bad: Not all the stories were good. First, not all of them seemed focused on a villain either. Most were, but some were from just a “good guy’s” POV, or from character’s POVs that didn’t really feel evil at all. Also, the formats of some stories were also kinda confusing, and some stories overall just felt rough. Also, in terms of the booktuber portion of the book, I found myself plain skipping at the end. It often felt unnecessary, and covered up my own thoughts of the story, as the review portions that some booktubers chose to do were obviously very in love and supportive of the story, even when I wasn’t fully on board.

Favorite Story: Death Knell

Honorable Mentions: You, You, It’s All About You; The Sea Witch; The Blood of Imuriv; Beautiful Venom

Meh: The Bless of Little Wants; Shirley & Jim; Marigold; Sera; Julian Breaks Every Rule

Not A Fan: Jack; Gwen And Art and Lance; Indigo and Shade

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review!

“Hate like that can tear down the world.”

Stars (Out of 10): 9/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I’m gonna be honest, after the end of Lady Midnight, I wasn’t completely looking forward to this book. I would read it, yes, but knew I would be so frustrated by the romantic tension and lack of transparency between Emma and Julian that it would just be more annoying than enjoyable to read. However, I was so wrong. I loved this installment, more so than Lady Midnight, I have to say, and my love for the characters grew. I’m still not the biggest fan of Julian, but most of the others are closer to my heart now. (Also, my dear Magnus made a ton of appearances and he has always been a favorite.)

The Good: Great development in most areas (from character relationships to world development to plot creation!) Also, the way it was written kept us jumping from POV to POV in the best way, and no part felt like filler. The further I got into the book, the more I couldn’t put it down!

The Bad: While a cliffhanger ending is great, this one felt a bit abrupt, and so I still feel like there’s more I need to read. It basically ended right in the middle of the climax of the novel. Additionally, it felt semi slow at the start, and sometimes I got a bit annoyed with Julian or one of the others. Also, am highly annoyed Clare is starting her new series next year instead of just finishing this one first, and making us wait 2 years for the finale of this story.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review!

“No matter what happens, no matter who turns on me, no matter what pompous swine thinks he has power over me, I am still me. I will always be me.”

Stars (Out of 10): 5/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: While I enjoyed this, it was far from one of my favorites. I always love kingdom novels, so this one gained points just from it being one of those, but it fell in areas where other series have risen. It was predictable at points, and unfortunately I am always put off by love triangles, but I did enjoy the combat scenes, especially how Meira was already a girl with some skill, and a major plot point wasn’t her getting better.

The Good: Had a decent plot and world, and I’m definitely intrigued as to where this is all going. A lot was built up, and overall felt well-connected. Additionally, when a character flaw was introduced, it was actually kept! Not just ditched when found inconvenient.

The Bad: Love triangle, Meira wasn’t always a character I liked, plot twist I predicted early on, and the world building came a tad too late (had no feeling of normalcy/what they were fighting for, but in the POV of a character who has never been a part of the kingdom, this somewhat makes sense.)

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

“One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! This is another ARC from ALA, and I was super excited to read this one. Luckily, this one actually met my expectations!

First off, I would like to thank the publisher and author for providing me this ARC to review. Please note that the version I read was an advanced copy, and certain events/language may be changed in the published edition.

Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: When I picked up this book at ALA, it was definitely one of the few I was most excited about. A YA murder mystery, sign me up! Nonetheless, I knew that my entire opinion of the plot and the story would hinge on one main thing: the ending, specifically how twisty/cool it was + evidence throughout the entire story backing up that ending (as the book fairly advertised.) As you saw by my high rating, this book had an absolute perfect ending to the plot, with evidence actually backing it up from chapter 1.

The Good: Great plot, almost every character was likable in some way (which also made every piece of evidence pointing out one of the characters as the murderer harder to take, and made it less biased in our thinking of who did it as we didn’t really want any of them to be convicted rather than just one that we then ignored evidence for.) Outside of the actual parts of a novel, the book also had a really refreshing and nice take on LGBT and mental illness issues, which will be gone over in the spoiler sections below.

The Bad: Would’ve been 5 stars had the epilogue in the ARC version not existed. Will explain further under spoilers, but it added unnecessary romantic issues at the end that made the epilogue be mainly about a relationship/single character rather than overall aftermath/moving on.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE (If you do not want the entire book spoiled, AKA who did it and how and why, DO NOT READ THIS. You have been warned!)

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