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!

Continue reading

Advertisements

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*

Continue reading

This Is Not The End by Chandler Baker

I wonder if for the rest of my life, I’ll be haunted by beautiful days.

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both.

The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice.

Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet.

The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished.

Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong.

Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can’t move on?”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

 

Hello! Allison here with another ARC.

This ARC was provided to me by the publisher in January at ALA Midwinter 2017 in exchange for an honest review. Quotes, characters, and actions in this book are subject to change. Thank you to the publisher for this opportunity.

Stars (Out of 10): 4

Overall Thoughts: Okay, when I first read this description, I was like this sounds amazing! I can’t wait to read it. Reading it, though, I was frustrated. I had to force myself to read it. This book is full of cliches, some of my least favorite ones too. Don’t get me wrong, the potential for a good story is all there despite the cliches, but a good story never comes. This book had an amazing concept, but a poor execution of said concept.

The Good: The plot twist at the end almost made me give it three stars. It had amazing foreshadowing and put a lot of the book in perspective.However, upon thinking back on it, my love of this plot twist does not extend to my feelings of this book. Despite some good parts, I still can say that I did not like the book.

The Bad: Like I said: good concept, bad execution. There are unnecessary characters by the bucket loads. There are cliches upon cliches. There are parts that are just frustrating and unnecessary in general.There are messages sent in this book that I am not entirely comfortable with.

*Spoilers down below*

Continue reading

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 from Goodreads

Hello! Allison here with my most anticipated read of 2017 and most likely my favorite book from 2017.

Stars (Out of 10): 10

Overall Thoughts: Honestly, this has got to be the best Cassandra Clare book out there. I was hooked from start to finish. The book was so complex but came together so beautifully in the end. It did not suffer the second book curse at all, it was amazing. I loved Lady Midnight so much and Lord of Shadows just blew me away.

The Good: The characters are just so well developed. One of the reasons this is my favorite Shadowhunter series is because the characters are not trying to save the world, but everytime they try to get out of saving the world, they just get more and more involved in it. They just want to save themselves and the Blackthorn family and they just get stuck in this huge political mess. There are so many plots in this book and, at first, it’s overwhelming but they all end up coming together in the end in such an interconnected way. Furthermore, Kit Herondale’s POV is honestly the best, least complicated POV in this book and I just died laughing everytime he had a POV. This book is just all my favorite things come together.

The Bad: This is just a me thing, but Julian and Emma had the most boring POVs toward the middle of the book. If you diehard ship them, their POVs would be amazing, but I kid you not, I found myself skimming so many times and then would have to go back and figure out what I missed. Also, if Julian uses one more metaphor, ONE more metaphor, I will end him.

Major spoilers begin below!

Continue reading

The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

“Zeus has punished his son Apollo—god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more—by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo do anything about them without his powers?

After experiencing a series of dangerous—and frankly, humiliating—trials at Camp Half-Blood, Apollo must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships—with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride. . . .”

 

-Synopsis from Goodreads

 

Hey guys! Allison here. This time it’s not an ARC, but one of my most anticipated releases of 2017.

Stars (Out of 10): 8.5/10

Overall Thoughts: Rick Riordan does it again in yet another amazing, humorous story that is just getting better and better. One of the best parts of the Trials of Apollo series is that, so far, the books have been very contained. They often stick to one location per book with a group of recurring characters. I can’t explain why, but I feel that benefits a story like this better. The characters are a driving force behind the Trials of Apollo and it’s amazing.

The Good: The characters are amazing and are so developed! Apollo’s character development is astounding. What he did in the end blew me away. I didn’t think he could grow so much. It’s just beautiful. The Trials of Apollo also keeps up the habit of embracing diversity, from a same sex kiss to a lesbian couple to Apollo’s amazing very bisexual thoughts. On the other hand, The Dark Prophecy begins to embrace a darker side. It begins to border the young adult genre in certain scenes and I love it! It’s shocking and keeps me hooked.

The Bad: The humor sometimes get’s a little bit too much. At least, it’s not my type of humor at some points. Some parts were underwhelming, but that may have been due to my high expectations of some plot points.

Minor spoilers begin below!

Continue reading

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 from Goodreads

 

Hello Allison here! I gobbled up this book in one day. I could barely put it down. This book is a must read for 2017!

I would like to start off by saying that I received this arc from the publisher in January at ALA Midwinter 2017. Thank you to the publisher’s for this opportunity. This means some details might have changed by the time this book was published.

Stars (Out of 10): 10/10

Overall Thoughts: There is no question why this book is being hyped up so much. It is a fantastic mystery. I’m used to plots like this where it’s like “Who did it?” but really it’s some random character. This book doesn’t do that. There are hints all throughout the book. This isn’t just oh Suzie from down the street was the murderer all along. There are actual hints that if you pay close enough attention, you will solve the murder by the end of the book. For that, this book already deserves 5 stars. Also, it amazingly takes stereotypes (and I mean complete stereotypes) and completely twists them around by the end of the book.

The Good: Everything. The plot is intricately constructed in a way that is seamless. Every action has a consequence. The characters are so dimensional and just are so interesting. You want to know their secrets so bad and when they finally come out, some being more predictable than others, it’s amazing. And some of them have more than one secret, which is all the better.  Also, my least favorite trope gets subverted multiple times! The characters actually tell important people their secrets before someone else tells their secrets. This is so much better than the person being like “Hmmm better not tell anyone this. I hope this doesn’t blow up in my face later…”

The Bad: The epilogue almost paints Bronwyn and Nate to be the protagonists when in fact, all four characters are. Likewise, the beginning of the epilogue (like the first two pages) doesn’t really fit the characters at all. Otherwise, no complaints from me!

The Characters: I love my Murder Club children. Every character is just so much more than their stereotype. Bronwyn is a lot more than just the smart girl. She knows what she wants, she is driven, and she doesn’t judge once you show your true colors. Nate is beyond just the drug dealer stereotype. He knows what he’s doing is wrong, but he does what it takes to survive. He is also willing to change for the better. Addy deserves a ribbon for most character development. The person she started out as and the person she ends as are so completely different that I would never have believed you if you told me what she would end up like. Cooper is so so relatable. He is trying so hard to be perfect, beyond perfect really. Everyone sees him as so perfect but he’s really just trying his best and he has so much more in him. The best part about these four characters together is that they build upon each other, changing each other’s views. Nate teaches Bronwyn that people who do bad things aren’t always doing them for bad reasons. Addy and Cooper teach the rest that the popular person isn’t always perfect. Just lots of lessons learned.

The Plot: The plot is so intricately crafted, but I don’t want to spoil too much. Let’s just say pay close attention and you will find out every secret of each characters and the biggest secret of them all: who killed Simon.
Favorite Character: The Murder Club ❤

Crazy House by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

“A thrilling new YA novel from master of suspense James Patterson, who’s created a frightening new future: a world where teens are taken, imprisoned and forced to fight for their survival. Where 17-year-old Cass will do whatever it takes to save her twin sister from Death Row.

There were no charges. There was no trial. There will be no escape.

Seventeen-year-old Becca Greenfield was snatched from her small hometown. She was thrown into a maximum-security prison and put on Death Row with other kids her age. Until her execution, Becca’s told to fit in and shut her mouth… but Becca’s never been very good at either. Her sister Cassie was always the perfect twin.

Becca’s only hope is that her twin sister will find her. That perfect little priss Cassie will stop following the rules and start breaking them, before it’s too late. Because her jailers made a mistake that could get them both killed:

They took the wrong twin.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hello! Allison here. Now that school is over, I am finally ready to read to my heart’s content!

I would like to start off by saying that I received this arc from the publisher in January at ALA Midwinter 2017. Thank you to the publisher’s for this opportunity. I want to mention now that this means any complaints I have may already be addressed in the completed version (ex: the ARC is only 296 pages while the actual book is 368 pages)

Stars (out of 10): 6/10

Overall Thoughts: The best way to summarize my thoughts is “cliche, but entertained”. This book gets straight to the point in James Patterson’s famous way of writing. Despite being your usual dystopia, I was hooked to the point that I could barely put it down. I felt like I was watching a movie as the action went on. If you have read Patterson’s books before, you’ll definitely like this one.

The Good: Despite being the usual dystopian universe, there are some twists and turns I wasn’t expecting. The book gets straight to the point with very little downtime. Every scene, at least in the first three quarters, has a point to it. For this reason it was an easy read. The characters were realistic in the way that they reacted to their situations, because honestly, if you were kidnapped you wouldn’t just be like, “Yes, let me do everything you say”. You would pull a Becca and be like “What is going on? Where am I? What do you mean don’t do this?”

The Bad: This book felt like it was missing something, and that’s because it is. There is a reason there were around 70 pages added to the final edition. While there is romance, it is badly done. There is no build up, especially for Becca’s love interest. While Cassie and her love interest get a little more build up, they just aren’t given enough time to explore the depths of their relationship. Likewise, the characters felt flat in some ways. They felt like they were instruments of the plot rather than the plot was their instrument to play and change as they like. It should be the character’s personalities and motivations that make the plot. You shouldn’t be able to answer a question “Why did that character just do that?” with “Because the plot said so.”

MAJOR SPOILERS BEGIN BELOW

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

What Really Happened in Peru by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan

“Fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices know that Magnus Bane is banned from Peru—and now they can find out why. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles.

There are good reasons Peru is off-limits to Magnus Bane. Follow Magnus’s Peruvian escapades as he drags his fellow warlocks Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss into trouble, learns several instruments (which he plays shockingly), dances (which he does shockingly), and disgraces his host nation by doing something unspeakable to the Nazca Lines.

This standalone e-only short story illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality populates the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series. This story in The Bane Chronicles, What Really Happened in Peru, is written by Sarah Rees Brennan and Cassandra Clare.”

-Goodreads Synopsis

Hello guys! Allison here. To begin the Shadowhunters reread, we have What Really Happened in Peru by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan.

Stars: 6/10

It was really interesting to see who Magnus is outside of his relationship with Alec, despite them being a favorite ship of mine from years past. He’s a very different person than the person he is in The Mortal Instruments. We get to see what Magnus is like when he is not the one with the most power or the eldest. Instead, he is among equals who see him as more of an annoying younger sibling who possesses danger-prone magic than an all-powerful warlock who just happens to wear a lot of glitter.

Despite getting to see how different his character was, I still felt wishy-washy about the adventures Magnus was having. While they were interesting in their own ways, having the story split between 4 parts when it’s only a 47 something page book was probably not a good idea.

The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

“Magic can save you.
Magic can kill you.

Students at the Magisterium are supposed to be safe. Under the watchful eyes of the mages, they are taught to use magic to bring order to a chaotic world.

But now the chaos is fighting back. Call, Tamara, and Aaron should be worrying about things like pop quizzes and magic contests. Instead, after the shocking death of one of their classmates, they must track down a sinister killer… and risk their own lives in the process.

As Call, Tamara, and Aaron discover, magic can only be as good as the person who wields it. In evil hands, it has the capacity to do immeasurable harm, unless it is stopped in time.

In this striking third book of Magisterium, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare present us with a school where anything, good or evil, can happen, and the only way to unlock the truth is to risk everything to find it.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hello! It’s Allison again, this time with a less favorable review.

“That’s what heroes did. They ran straight toward danger and didn’t ever give up.” 

Stars (Out of 10): 4

Overall Thoughts: Heroes may run straight toward danger, but this book ran straight toward an abrupt ending. Don’t get me wrong. I love Cassandra Clare’s writing and I loved the first two books Holly Black and Cassandra Clare wrote for this series, but this one definitely fell short. In fact, I felt like I read only half a book. This book is a great example on why foreshadowing and pacing is very important!

 

The Good: The characters developed, I suppose. We got to see more chaos magic. The series overall plot developed. The prophecy was figured out. 

The Bad: Pacing. Pacing is a super important part of every story. When writing a series of books where the first few take place over several months, but have the third book in the series take place over a matter of weeks, you’re going to have to make up for that by adding something in to make it feel like it has the same amount of substance as the first two books. Have more than just romantic subplots. Have more than just the main plot.

Spoilers begin below

Continue reading