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!

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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 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

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The Wishing Heart by J. C. Welker

“With a book in her bag and a switchblade in her pocket, Rebel’s been thieving her way through life while hoping for a cure to fix her ailing heart.

But when the bejeweled vase she just tried to hawk turns out to be a jinni’s vessel, Rebel gets lost to her world and dragged within another. Now every magical being in the city wants the vase for himself.
Thrust into a game of cat and mouse in a world she never knew existed, Rebel must use her uncanny skills to find a way to free Anjeline the Wishmaker.

But wishes have consequences. And contracts. Anjeline’s freedom could unravel a love like Rebel has never known, or it could come at the cost of Rebel’s heart…”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review!

First off, I would like to thank the publisher and author (as well as Netgalley) 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: I have a really bad habit of judging books by their cover. So while I was intrigued by the plot, I did not have high hopes because I wasn’t the biggest fan of the cover. (That, and recently the urban fantasy genre has not been working out for me.) But oh boy, this book was fantastic! It had a great, but not too overpowering, romance, interesting characters, great twists, and everything I love about books!

The Good: I really grew to like all the characters, and felt their actions, for the most part, were realistic. Additionally, I really liked that this book had representation, but did not make that the most major part of the characters. Anjeline and Rebel, while LGBT, still were their own people and did not have personalities defined by their sexuality, which is how diversity and representation should be.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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The End of Our Story by Meg Haston

“Meg Haston’s romantic and thrilling new YA novel explores a star-crossed high school relationship in a tale rife with deeply buried secrets and shocking revelations.

Bridge and Wil have been entangled in each other’s lives for years. Under the white-hot Florida sun, they went from kids daring each other to swim past the breakers to teenagers stealing kisses between classes. But when Bridge betrayed Wil during their junior year, she shattered his heart and their relationship along with it.

Then Wil’s family suffers a violent loss, and Bridge rushes back to Wil’s side. As they struggle to heal old wounds and start falling for each other all over again, Bridge and Wil discover just how much has changed in the past year. As the fierce current of tragedy threatens to pull them under, they must learn how to swim on their own—or risk drowning together.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again, with yet 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): 6/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I acquired this ARC during the ALA Midwinter Convention, and actually debated it a lot before choosing to pick it up (I even skipped over it at first.) Usually, the whole romantic tension only novels can get somewhat repetitive, and that’s exactly how I expected this book to be. I was pleasantly surprised though, when I found the romantic tension to actually not be the main plot, and for there to be a stronger plotline and conflict over the ‘event that brings Bridge and Wil back together.’ Overall, while it wasn’t my favorite book, I’m definitely glad I ended up picking it up.

The Good: The plot ended up being way more interesting and complicated than I first thought. Had twists and turns I would have never expected from original synopsis I read.

The Bad: Romance felt quick (the pair got back together absurdly fast, considering the issues that drove them apart.) In addition, abrupt ending with no real closure, and while I get the appeal for an “open ending,” this one was rather annoying because it could have gone in two completely different directions, and now we simply didn’t get to know how it ended, and if it was good or bad.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren

“In a thrilling fantasy that’s equal parts Prison Break and Frozen, Valor attempts the impossible—breaking her sister out of prison.

When Valor is arrested, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s sister Sasha is already serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family and Valor is going to help her escape . . . from the inside.

Never mind that no one has escaped in three hundred years. Valor has a plan and resources most could only dream about. But she didn’t count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor’s plan is to succeed, she’ll need to make unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.

This fresh and exciting middle-grade debut effortlessly melds an unforgettable protagonist, a breathless plot, and stunning world-building—and is impossible to put down.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

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 quite interesting book. It was middle grade, which is not a genre/type of book I’ve read in a while, but I ended up enjoying it nonetheless! However, it was far from one of my favorites due to the reason I will discuss below!

The Good: Interesting premise, loved the idea of a group coming together and working to escape the inescapable. Based on friendship/sisterhood/family more than a romance, but this was probably due to it being middle grade. However, I did love the twist at the end.

The Bad: Super open ending, especially for a book that’s supposed to be stand-alone. In addition, HIGHLY unrealistic that a 13 year old completed the events of the book. Also, world wasn’t really developed on, and I felt I didn’t know much about it at all besides of how royalty took the throne.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Smoke by Ellen Hopkins

“Pattyn’s father is dead. Now she’s on the run in this riveting companion to New York Times bestseller Burned, which Kirkus Reviews calls “a strong, painful, and tender piece about wresting hope from the depths of despair.”

Pattyn Von Stratten’s father is dead, and Pattyn is on the run. After far too many years of abuse at the hands of her father, and after the tragic loss of her beloved Ethan and their unborn child, Pattyn is desperate for peace. Only her sister Jackie knows what happened that fatal night, but she is stuck at home with their mother, who clings to normalcy by allowing the truth to be covered up by their domineering community leaders. Her father might be finally gone, but without Pattyn, Jackie is desperately isolated.

Alone and in disguise, Pattyn starts a new life as a migrant worker on a California ranch. But is it even possible to rebuild a life when everything you’ve known has burned to ash and lies seem far safer than the truth?

Bestselling author Ellen Hopkins continues the riveting story of Pattyn Von Stratten she began in Burned to explore what it takes to rise from the ashes, put ghosts to rest, and step into a future.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan back again with another book review!

“I have no right to love you, but I do.”

Stars (Out of 10): 7/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I am really glad Pattyn and her story got this sequel. She deserved to find happiness, or an ending at least. And I am glad that both Pattyn and her family got the ending they did, as it both creates a realistic story of abuse, and how much it can wreck lives and individuals, but still show that there can be more to life than that current situation, and creates a story to show abuse victims that there is a reason to try for something more.

The Good: The switching of POVs was well done, as each one ended on an event that garnered my attention, and made me curious for the coming POV of that character. This created a cycle of finding things to like about each section, and I felt a balance of interest in each POV. However, on top of that, I also just liked the plot, and how everything ended up clicking together after the hardship. In addition, I felt the book did a good job of discussing the tough subject of abuse, and advertising the importance of telling others of the situation, and trying to get out of it. It brought attention to the issue without painting it as “taboo” or a thing brought on the victim, and rather strived to correct that idea.

The Bad: The speed of a specific relationship involving Jackie felt unrealistic and far too quick. Also, while I liked most of the ambiguous, poetic beginning chapters of each POV, some felt like they didn’t fit, and they often pulled me out of the story a bit.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

“My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again! I finally got around to reading Everything, Everything, and while I didn’t like it as much as The Sun Is Also A Star, I still loved it! Super excited for the movie on May 19th now!

“In the beginning there was nothing. And then there was everything.”

Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I really, really liked this book. Most of that is because of the fantastic twist at the end, since it made the entire book a tad more realistic, and I was having trouble at points with that. I also just love Nicola Yoon’s way of writing, and even though I can’t explain it well, it connects me “emotionally” to the characters more. And while this book wasn’t perfect, and it had it’s fault, I enjoyed every second I spent reading it!

The Good: It was a fast read. I ended up really liking the characters, but my favorite part has to be that ending (mainly because I didn’t expect it at all). I also just like how this author writes, and the humor used in the conversations between Olly and Maddy.

The Bad: It was almost too fast of a read. And while I liked the romance in the book, it felt way too fast. One month, and only like a few “visitations,” and they were in love. Maybe they talked a lot more over IM that we didn’t see, and that’s what is missing. But from what we were given, it was pretty fast.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

“Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again, with another review!

“The world was a merciless place. Hard and cruel. Except when you found someone to trust and love. Life, however fleeting, possessed meaning then.”

Stars (Out of 10): 5/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: While I liked portions of the book, and it definitely has potential for a great ending, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this first book. Parts felt kind of dull, and characters were kinda “eh” at points, but I did really like the entire concept of the novel, and am hoping for a good conclusion!

The Good: Interesting world, seems like there’s a lot more left to learn about it (and how the kingdoms work in the eclipse, etc.), and I really like the two main characters as well!

The Bad: Sometimes the characters weren’t consistent, and Luna changed for the worse for a portion of the book. In addition, some actions/events were just plain annoying and unplanned, and I felt like a bit more explanation of the world would be cool, since it has an apocalyptic feel to it, yet there are somehow still cities and kingdoms standing.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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Soundless by Richelle Mead

In a village without sound…

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action…

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

And unlocks a power that will save her people.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! (Some of you may notice that I’m finally catching up with all the reviews on my Goodreads, and finally posting them here. Whoops…)

“Perfection is an admirable thing to strive for. But so is knowing when to stop.”

Stars (Out of 10): 5/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: This was a quick and enjoyable read. It wasn’t my favorite book, partly because it’s shortness didn’t allow all of the potentially interesting world and plot to be fully developed, but it was interesting and captivating for the hours of time it occupied. It had some interesting and unexpected twists, and overall was a pretty decent book!

The Good: Pretty interesting idea, and had a realistic ending. Wasn’t “happily ever after” right away, but rather showed a path to a good ending (while still fully finishing the novel, and providing ample closure.)

The Bad: Felt quick, and I felt the entire ideas presented weren’t explored enough. There were some things added in the last 100 pages that could have been really interesting if actually developed. In addition, while the solution was vaguely referenced here and there, it felt somewhat sudden, and didn’t seem to fully fit with the book.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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