The Shadows

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the shadows book by alex north
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Author: Alex North

Published: July 7, 2020

Pages: 336

Goodreads rating: 3.79/5

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.

Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…

My Mini Review:

This book left me craving more of this genre. Also, I figured my usual bright aesthetic could never do it justice, so I present to you my backyard (pictured above), where I’m frequently visited by bears (mainly they like to eat from my trash), and all sorts of forest animals. Maybe that’s why the creep factor in this book was so bad for me? It was not a very long leap from Alex North’s Shadows to my own world. Plus, we all knew a kid like Charlie…

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I did a bit of the audio and a bit of the hardback. The plot was engaging, and the small twists had me hooked. I liked this one and The Whisper Man equally, though I’ve heard people say they liked Whisper Man better. Apart from the suspense, I always enjoy North’s take on the different sides of parenthood. I usually find myself comparing my own parenting style to the ones of the parents presented in his books. I admired Paul’s mom and the way she defended her son so passionately when he was interrogated for a terrible crime. She never doubted him for a second. I highly recommend this one to all Mystery/Thriller fans, and if you can do the audio book even better!

The Guest List

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the guest list book by lucy foley
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Author: Lucy Foley

Published: June 2, 2020

Pages: 330

Goodreads Rating: 3.89/5

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why? 

My Mini Review:

This is a five star read mainly because I did not see that coming! I’ve read so many books that it’s hard for me to be surprised by a twist or an ending, and this one surprised me on both counts. This book had me hooked from the beginning and I just had to keep reading until I uncovered all its mysteries. It was very plot driven, and Foley did a good job flawlessly switching timelines. The characters had all the qualities that make for a good story. They were interesting, realistic, and had unique backgrounds and personalities. There were some surprising twists, and that “aha!” moment that keeps me coming back to this genre, you know that moment when you finally figure it out? I’m definitely going to have to read more from this author. I highly recommend this one to all Mystery/Thriller and who-done-it fans.

Thunderhead

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

thunderhead book by neal shusterman
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Author: Neal Shusterman

Published: January 9, 2018

Series: Arc of a Scythe, #2

Goodreads rating: 4.48/5

Genre: YA/ Sci-fi

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

Synopsis from Goodreads: *Don’t read if you haven’t read the first book in this series*

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

My Mini Review:

I didn’t enjoy this second book in the Scythe series as much as I did the first one, but the plot was still interesting enough to keep me engaged. I liked when the Thunderhead was the narrator, its point of view was very enlightening (no pun intended), and it added a whole new dimension to the story. Grayson was also a nice new addition to the cast of characters, and he added a much needed perspective into the world of “unsavories.” The pacing was a bit too slow in the first half of the book, but it picked up on the second half. The ending was surprising to say the least, but I am not in a hurry to grab the next book in the series. Overall, I do recommend this series to all YA/Sci-fi fans, as it provides a fresh take on the human condition and what it means to be alive.

Love and Other Words

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

love and other words book by christina lauren
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Author: Christina Lauren

Published: April 10, 2018

Goodreads rating: 4.22/5

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book or any other book on Amazon, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

My Mini Review:

I knew as soon as I started to read this book that it would break me, but in a good way. The characters met at the same age my husband and I met, and I knew I would be getting flash backs to our own story the whole time. I was surprised to find so many similarities in our stories, but I was glad we didn’t struggle so much to reach our happy ending. I’m used to laughing out loud in all Christina Lauren books, and this one had its funny moments, but there was a more serious tone to the story. The main characters, Elliot and Macy, dealt with issues such as grief and post traumatic stress. Both their characters had amazing character arcs and they were beautifully developed. I highly recommend this book to all Romance and Women’s Fiction fans.

Midnight Sun

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

midnight sun twilight book 5 by stephenie meyer
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Author: Stephenie Meyer

Published: August 4, 2020

Series: Twilight, #5

Goodreads rating: 4.07/5

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book or any book on Amazon, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?

My Mini Review:

I purchased this book purely for nostalgic reasons, but I ended up really enjoying it. Reading it took me back to my High School days, and it brought back memories of my first experience with YA/ Fantasy. Edward offered a fresh perspective on the story I know and love (though I am aware of its flaws), as well as some new background stories and info on the other Cullens which is one of the perks I was looking forward to. Being inside Edward’s mind and seeing things from his point of view was very interesting. It was entertaining to read what everyone around him was thinking, and I thought Meyer executed that aspect of the story really well. I was shocked by how many times Edward plans to kill Bella in the beginning, and in how many ways. If you are a true Twilight fan and are able to accept the story with its vampire stalker, insta-love, and all its flaws included, then I highly recommend this book. If you are not a fan of Twilight and think Midnight Sun will offer something different, then I recommend you skip it.

The Happy Ever After Playlist

⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the happy ever after playlist book by abby jimenez picture
Picture taken by me. Buy book on Amazon.

Author: Abby Jimenez

Published: April 14, 2020

Pages: 401

Series: The Friend Zone, #2

Goodreads rating: 4.26/5

For fans of: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Domestic Fiction, The Friend Zone, Beach Read

Good to know before you read: explicit sex scenes, substance abuse, grief

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

My Mini Review:

I had a love-hate relationship with this book. For a book with the word “happy” in the title, it was actually really sad. The story dealt with themes such as overcoming grief, and struggling with substance abuse. It started out as a really nice story with a cute dog linking these two strangers together. Then, when I thought the story was all done and these two people had overcome all their differences and the main character had struggled more than enough, the story didn’t end. Instead, the plot went on this dramatic downward spiral with no end in sight and a lot of what I thought were unnecessary struggles and depressing moments.

It surprises me when almost all the characters in a book are all likeable, but unique in their own ways. My favorite of course was Tucker, since I am a sucker for smart dogs. I also enjoyed the friendship between Sloan and Kristen. The romance was a slow-burn one, which I felt was realistic given the fact that Sloan was still grieving. I liked that Sloan and Jason had good relationship role models, starting with their parents, and in Kristen and Josh. There was an emphasis on caring for family and friends and being there for them when they need you. I recommend this book if you love Romance and you can deal with some unnecessary drama.

Have you read this one? Are you planning to read it? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments!

One of Us is Next

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

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Author: Karen M. McManus

Series: One of Us is Lying, #2

Published: January 7, 2020

ISBN: 0525707964

Pages: 377

Goodreads rating: 4.05/5

For fans of: YA/Mysteries, Who done it trope, High School drama, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.

A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.

Until now.

This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game.

Truth or Dare.

Phoebe’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark.

Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.

But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.

Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules.

My Mini Review:

Once again McManus delivered a fast-paced and action-packed YA/Mystery. I solved part of the mystery by the middle of the book, but the other twists were completely unexpected. This book had my heart racing in some parts, something the first book did not do for me. I liked that there were some familiar elements from the first story mixed in with completely new content.

I really enjoyed our two new characters’ point of views, Phoebe and Knox, and I liked learning more about Maeve (who was Bronwyn’s sister from the first book). All of these characters went through a lot of growth throughout the story as their lives were taken apart and they attempted to put themselves back together. McManus puts an emphasis on leaning on family and friends when you need it, and the fact that you shouldn’t hide things from those you love. If you enjoyed One of Us is Lying, I highly recommend you don’t wait to read this sequel, and if you are a fan of YA/Mystery then you will definitely enjoy this!

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

One of Us is Lying

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

one of us is lying by karen m mcmanus

Author: Karen M. McManus

Series: One of Us is Lying, #1

Published: March 30, 2017

Pages: 361

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, 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.

My Mini Review:

This was a very fast paced and entertaining read. It had me guessing who the killer was for a while. I also really enjoyed the audio book because it’s voiced by four different characters. It was interesting learning about the story from different perspectives, and not knowing what kind of information was being withheld from me. It was also refreshing and fun having four unreliable narrators.

My favorite character was Nate, I loved his humor and the way he handled the cards he was dealt in life. I also thought Addy had a very impressive character arch, and she went from being one of my least favorite characters to my favorite at the end. I highly recommend this book to fans of books such as A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and YA/Thriller/ Mystery fans. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, One of Us is Next, which was published January 7, 2020.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂

The Grace Year

⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the grace year book by kim liggett
Picture from Goodreads

Author: Kim Liggett

Published: October 8, 2019

ISBN: 1250145449

Pages: 416

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

My Mini Review:

This book was a mixture of a female version of Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games. It delves into what happens when teenage girls are left to their own devices to survive by whatever means necessary. I found Tierny to be a strong female character who did her best to stay alive even when all odds were stacked against her. The plot was action packed and it kept me engaged and invested throughout. The premise of the story, despite the similarities to the other stories mentioned above, was very unique. I also admit to not having expected some of the plot twists.

Many people seem to have enjoyed this book. I really liked it, all they way until that terrible ending. Usually I don’t mind endings, to me it has always been the journey that matters. But this ending was so bad that it almost negated everything that came before it. Almost, but not quite. I believe there could be some redemption in the next book, if she does end up writing one. I don’t do spoilers, so I won’t say anything else on that matter. I would recommend this book if you are looking for a quick thrilling YA read, and if you are able to deal with an unsatisfying ending.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂

Deviate

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Author: Jay Kristoff

Series: Lifelike (#2)

Published: June 25, 2019

Synopsis from Goodreads: **skip this part and go straight to the review if you haven’t read Lifelike, the first book in the series**

Lemon Fresh has seen better days.

After the climactic battle in Babel, she finds herself separated from Ezekiel and Cricket in the wastelands. Lemon’s abilities to manipulate electricity mark her as a deviate, and deadly corporate operatives are hunting her to use as a weapon in the war between BioMaas Incorporated and Daedelus Technologies. Instead, Lemon finds herself falling in with a group of fellow deviates—a band of teenagers with astonishing abilities, led by an enigmatic figure known as the Major, who may hold the secrets to Lemon’s past.

Meanwhile, Cricket finds himself in possession of the puritanical Brotherhood, a religious cult set for a head-on collision with the Major and his band. Searching for Lemon, Ezekiel finds a strange ally in an old enemy, and uncovers a plot that may see him reunited with his beloved Ana.

And inside Babel, a remade Eve hatches a plan to bring an end to the world.

My Mini Review:

Once again I’m in awe of Mr. Kristoff’s writing. How does he do it? Kristoff has created such real and relatable characters in this series, so much so that I’ve even become attached to some of the villains. How does he make up such catchy slang words? True cert, and at the risk of sounding like a total lunatic, I find myself wanting to use these words in real life all the time.

Kristoff also makes you ponder moral, environmental, and life questions as you read, while also inserting lots of humor. He shows you the issues from both sides, and in different characters’ perspectives. I personally love reading post apocalyptic books like these, because I enjoy seeing the different ways humanity would react and adapt to the end of the world as we know it.

I highly recommend this series to all Sci-Fi/ Fantasy fans. The third book in the series, Truelife, will be released June 30, 2020, and I can’t wait!

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂