Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

“They say Delia burned herself to death in her stepfather’s shed. They say it was suicide.

But June doesn’t believe it.

June and Delia used to be closer than anything. Best friends in that way that comes before everyone else—before guys, before family. It was like being in love, but more. They had a billion secrets, tying them together like thin silk cords.

But one night a year ago, everything changed. June, Delia, and June’s boyfriend, Ryan, were just having a little fun. Their good time got out of hand. And in the cold blue light of morning, June knew only this—things would never be the same again.

Now Delia is dead. June is certain she was murdered. And she owes it to her to find out the truth…which is far more complicated than she ever could have imagined.

Sexy, dark, and atmospheric, Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls will keep you guessing until the very last page.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review!

“Sometimes the kindest thing you can do for a person is to shield them from that which will not help them. Make the decision and then carry the burden yourself, bear the weight so that they don’t have to.”

Stars (Out of 10): 2/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: While this book definitely hooked me on it’s mystery in the beginning, it lost my interest rapidly. Confusing events with no explanation + inconsistent and unlikable characters = a weird book where by the end, I understand the plot less than when I had started the novel.

The Good: The beginning had a lot of potential, and had it continued on that path, I probably would have enjoyed the novel a lot more.

The Bad: Very many aspects in book later become muddled/confusing, possibly as an attempt to remain “mysterious.” However, this attempt fell very flat, and we seem to miss a lot of vital information by the end of the book of what truly happened. In addition, some of the characters seemed to be different than originally shown in the beginning of the novel, and it was hard to know who to actually believe when the narrator seemed to know nothing of what was going on, and when the truth of what was occurred was never explained to them either. In addition, the shortness of some chapters, especially in the beginning, made the writing feel choppy at some points.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Pursued by Gary Urey

“Axel Jack and Daisha Tandala are two thirteen-year-old friends running from a billionaire madman who killed their scientist parents and now wants what the kids have a GeoPort (Geographical Transportation System.) The GeoPort, invented by their parents, has the ability to transport a person to any place on Earth within seconds. Knowing the power they had created, their parents’ dying wish was for the kids to destroy the GeoPort before it lands in the wrong hands. But when the teens are separated by their pursuers, they must make a life or death attempt to find each other and get the GeoPort to a mysterious Indian Temple where the chase becomes more than just a high-tech game of hide-and-seek, but a war for control of everything money, culture, politics, and power.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hey guys! Allison here! I’m back with an ARC.

I received this book as an arc from ALA Midwinter 2017.

“Narnia was an imaginary world of made-up characters and places. The Warp was real. His personal White Witch was the Red Faced Man. The Pursuers were his wolves, Black Dwarves, and Giants all rolled into one.”

Stars (Out of 10): 9.8/10

Overall Thoughts: This book was an easy read! I got through it in one sitting. It had me hooked. It single handedly took my reading slump and slammed it into the ground. I highly recommend this book for people who are having a hard time getting through books right now. The plot is amazing and you just fall in love with the characters.

The Good: Daisha and Axel are just so easily lovable and you can just feel how much they have grown to rely on each other. There were aspects of romance, but it takes a backseat to the rest of the action going on. I also love that it throws you straight into the action. Another fantastic about this book is that you can tell the difference between the points of views, which is really nice. Even without the names, I could tell you whose point of view I’m reading.

The Bad: I would have liked the scene with the parents to be more emotionally charged.

MINOR SPOILERS BEGIN BELOW

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber

“Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! I totally jumped on the hype train of Caraval, and snatched it up as soon as it came out, trying to see what everyone was so excited for when it came to this book. It was definitely fascinating, whimsical, and magical!

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.”

Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I quite enjoyed this, and flew through this novel quickly. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the characters, and unreliable narrators can be a hit or miss, it worked out this time, and the plot and world more than made up for any negatives the characters may have brought to the book as a whole.

The Good: I loved the fantastic and whimsical world created in this novel, as well as the way it was described so well. In addition, I loved the plot and the tons of twists we saw, and how thoroughly the rules of the game were meant, and how the book really used the idea of “it’s just a game” to it’s fullest extent.

The Bad: I couldn’t seem to get attached to any of the characters, since the main character, Scarlett, was against almost every action she had to complete, and we were warned a million times not to trust the other guys, meaning I could never get a feel for any of them.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

“To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.”

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review!

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): 5/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: This was a wonderfully whimsical and quirky novel, and delved into some pretty important social issues, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. While by the end I was fairly invested into the story, the awkward beginning and getting used to the writing style did throw me off quite a bit. While the plot was pretty good and kept me hooked, I couldn’t really connect with any of the characters myself, and it made me feel quite detached for most of the book. However, the work and dedication and love put into this book is quite clear, especially from the author’s note, dedication, and acknowledgements.

The Good: A unique and whimsical way of storytelling, an interesting plots with clear closure and a few twists, and a nice diversity in cast members.

The Bad: Writing style is tough to get into at first, some points of the plot did tend to feel a tad straightforward, and the introduction was a tad quick and seemed to jump straight into the story.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

“In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again! I finally finished King’s Cage, and while I loved it, I did not realize that this was not the last book in the series somehow?? Was totally expecting a finale, and I got the opposite when it came to the ending.

“Those who know what it’s like in the dark will do anything to stay in the light.”

Stars (Out of 10): 9/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: Okay so somehow I never got the memo that this was no longer a trilogy. I have no idea how I missed that very important piece of information, but it did end up ruining my perception of the ending (after all, who likes a cliff hanger in the final book?) However, I did really enjoy this installment, and while I still enjoyed the first book the most, King’s Cage reminded me why I started loving the series in the first place (I was disappointed by most of Glass Sword if I’m being honest.)

The Good: I finally like the characters again, and for most of the book, they weren’t that frustrating. I also enjoyed where the story went, especially the developments in the last half of the novel.

The Bad: A ton of build up in the beginning, with little major action which was saved all for the end. Also, a super frustrating ending that continues the frustrating love plot into the 4th book, rather than focusing on the war. I also did not care for Cameron’s POV at all, since it just felt like a ton of whining in my opinion, and just continued to paint the Scarlet Guard even worse.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! It’s Meaghan again! I’ve been on a reading train lately, which explains my wave of posts and reviews! I finished up The Wrath and the Dawn series over the weekend, and it was absolutely fantastic!

“It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.”

Stars (Out of 10): 10/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: This is currently my favorite series/books of 2017, and in my top 5 series of all times list for sure. I didn’t not expect to feel this strongly for these characters so quickly, and to be absolutely entwined in both the world and the plot so quickly each time I picked up the book. I could honestly never put it down, and even a few days after finishing, I’m still amazed by how thoroughly this installment made me feel. It managed to wreck my heart, and fix it moments later, which is not something many books can claim.

The Good: Badass characters (from a broken king to a powerful queen, and almost all characters had their shining moments!), a good wrap up for all characters with few, if any, loose ends, and a fantastic plot all the way through.

The Bad: I honestly cannot think of anything to put in this category at the moment.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again. I’ve just finished the second installment of the fantastic Red Queen series!

“If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I can feel myself beginning to shatter.”

Stars (Out of 10): 6/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: While I definitely enjoyed this installment, I liked it far less than the first book. Some of the plot, while overall interesting, seemed a bit dull or boring, and I sometimes found myself reading just to get back to the interesting parts, not because I enjoyed what I was currently reading. However, the ending took me for a spin, and I do where the plot brought us in the end. (I am also extremely extremely glad that I finished this a few days before the finale because I definitely could not handle waiting any longer.)

The Good: I quite enjoyed the plot, especially the ending. In addition, I liked the introduction of many new side characters, and exploring ideas from the first book more. Also, since they are no longer in the Silver Kingdom, we see more of the other side of society.

The Bad: Some parts of the book fell a bit flat, or boring. In addition, actions/thoughts of both Mare and those around her gave Mare the idea of being a very unlikable person, with very little redeeming qualities. She almost reminded me of Katniss, sometimes acting selfish, or at odds with the people around her, and pushing away people for seemingly no reason. This made it a bit less enjoyable, since it seemed many bonds built over years were somewhat broken, and reasons were given by Mare herself to distrust almost everyone, and reasons for them to dislike her.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review! I recently read The Wrath and The Dawn, and absolutely loved it. It deserves the hype it has!

“There is no one I would rather see the sunrise with than you.”

Stars (Out of 10): 10/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: This book went way above my expectations. I found the plot extremely intriguing, and the combination between romantic plot and more action based plot was really well balanced. In addition, I grew to love the characters extremely quickly, and I liked the diversity in their personalities. Overall, it was a really great read, and I’m excited to start the next one!

The Good: I liked all the main characters, and most of the side. In addition, I really liked the plot, and the culture found in this world!

The Bad: The only thing I disliked about the book was Tariq’s POVs at points, as I didn’t care for his character at all. But the intensity/interest I found in Shazi’s POVs more than made up for it. Also, in the beginning it was a tad bit hard to keep up with the characters and new words, but I got the hang of it fairly quickly.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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16 Ways To Break A Heart by Lauren Strasnick

“Natalie and Dan were electric from the moment they met. Witty banter and sizzling chemistry made falling in love easy—even inevitable. He was in awe of her subversive art and contagious zest for life; she was drawn to his good-guy charm and drive to succeed as a documentary filmmaker.

But that was before. Before hot tempers turned to blowout fights. Before a few little lies turned to broken trust. Before a hundred tiny slights broke them open and exposed the ugly truth of their relationship.

And now Natalie wants Dan to know just how much he broke her.

Over the course of one fateful day, Dan reads sixteen letters that Natalie has secretly, brilliantly hidden in places only he will find. And as he pieces together her version of their love story, he realizes that she has one final message for him. One that might just send his carefully constructed life tumbling down.

Unfolding through letters, texts, and chats, Lauren Strasnick’s smart, sexy, page-turning new novel is the ultimate he said/she said breakdown of a relationship gone wrong.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys, Meaghan here again. A little bit ago, Allison and I attended the American Library Association Midwinter Expo, and got tons of new ARCs to read and review. This book, 16 Ways To Break A Heart, was the first I read of that stash!

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.

Who would’ve thunk it could’ve ended like this? Explosively, devastatingly, calamitously.”

Stars (Out of 10): 3/10

Overall Thoughts: I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book. I often like someone to cheer for, or at least some semblance of goodness in the characters, but in this case, there seemed to be none. The relationship got terrible fast, and all the book showed was the bad side of it. It was interesting though, and unique from other love stories, and I thought the overall writing style fit the characters and their personalities perfectly. I just find it hard to like/connect with a book where there is no positivity, and each new chapter just makes the characters worse and worse people.

The Good: It was a rollercoaster, although this could be both good and bad. However, it was unique in that none of the characters had any redeeming qualities at all.What I can pride this book on is it’s use of two POV’s to tell the break up, so we actually get both sides of the story, not just one biased explanation of why everything was so messed up.

The Bad: Every character seemed to be a bad person, so there was no one to really like. In addition, relationship seemed overly bad, and I felt no real closure from the ending, no real answer to the questions the book slowly created throughout the chapters.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

The Characters: There is absolutely nothing to like about either of the characters. They were abusive and manipulative in their relationships, dropped their friends as soon as they got together with their significant other, even though they seemed to resent pretty quickly. It wasn’t always easy to understand the actions of the characters either (if Dan was so happy with Natalie, why was he flirting with Arielle even before the fighting started? When did Natalie suddenly become a jealous bitch, was it sudden or a gradual change?) However, these characters were far from the ones in any normal romance story, and that’ll make them, and their story, stick in my head for quite a while.

The Plot: I was definitely shocked by the ending, even if I was a tad horrified by the reaction of Natalie in destroying Dan’s life work to get back at him. It was an emotionally violent and abusive book from start to finish, and unlike anything I have ever read before. However, I do wish we heard a bit more of the before, so we can understand why these two ever got so far.

The Favorite Character: None? All the characters that were developed seemed to be really terrible people. (Alexa had potential, but she was also partially painted as another snobby rich person.)

Buy it, Borrow it, or Bin it: Bin it