Book Review – See How They Run by Ally Carter

See How They Run (Embassy Row #2)

Author: Ally Carter

Publication: December 22nd, 2015

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Kindle Edtion, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Mental Health

Read: February 2017

Ally CarterGoodreads

 

Synopsis
Digging up lost secrets is always dangerous.
For the past three years, Grace Blakely has been desperate to find out the truth about her mother’s murder. She thought it would bring her peace. She thought it would lead her to answers. She thought she could put the past to rest.
But the truth has only made her a target.
And the past?
The only way to put the past to rest is for Grace to kill it once and for all.
On Embassy Row, power can make you a victor or a victim; love can turn you into a fool or a fugitive; and family can lead you forward or bury you deep. Trust is a luxury. Death is a very real threat. And a girl like Grace must be very careful about which secrets she brings to light.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This book was very similar to the first one. It had mystery, suspense, drama and violence. There’s a lot of dark themes and twists and turns throughout the whole story. I loved learning more about the history of the world in this book and I think it was more entertaining than the first book. When I first finished this, I thought I’d liked it more but thinking on it, it was pretty much the same as the first book in regards to the plot.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I really like this author’s writing style. It’s simple and easy to read. The medium pace feels kind of weird with everything that happens and some things can get confusing enough for me to need to re-read passages sometimes. It was descriptive and detailed, but still had a lot of repetitive elements within the narrative.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I’m still not the biggest fan of this cast of characters. The main character is still hard for me to connect to and while there’s more side character page time, I still don’t think they have enough interaction within the story overall.
Grace is kind of melodramatic to me. She’s an unreliable narrator and has had a lot of emotional and physical trauma before and during this series. I feel for her and all but sometimes it’s just a little bit too much. I don’t connect with her because she isolates herself from other people and the book is basically her internal paranoid monologue. I try to be conscious of her mental health and what that entails for her but it kind of took away from what I could’ve enjoyed of the story. She’s angry, confused, depressed and kind of rude to the people around her. Her character is still frustrating but getting better slowly.
Like I said above, there’s definitely much more interaction between the side characters and the main character but not enough for my liking. There’s also no character development for the side characters themselves. I feel like they’re just kind of there to help Grace out and I haven’t learned anything new about them from the first book to this one and that’s really disappointing.

Emotionally

Read More »

T5W May 17th – Summer Reads

Hello everyone!

Time for another Top 5 Wednesday. Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and if you would like to join, here is the link for the Goodreads group with all the information.

This week’s topic is Top 5 Favorite Summer Reads. I tend to read a lot of contemporary in the summer for some reason, sometimes even some urban fantasy. This year right now I’m reading a lot of New Adult and I’m kind of addicted since I had my NA themed month. They’re super easy to read and fly through so I’m going to share a mix of entertaining YA and NA that I really enjoyed.

SO let’s get started!

Read More »

Book Review – All Fall Down by Ally Carter

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)

Author: Ally Carter

Publication: January 20th, 2015

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Kindle Edtion, 325 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Mental Health

Read: November 2016

Ally CarterGoodreads

 

Synopsis
Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:
1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.
As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.
Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book was really mysterious and intense. It was really slow and sometimes it was kind of boring to be honest. The setting was really unique and there were lots of twists and turns throughout the story. I feel like this whole book was just set up for something bigger to come. There were a lot of positives but I just didn’t end up enjoying it as much as this author’s other books.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
It’s very simple and easy to read. This particular book has a slow to medium pace but also really intense writing style. It got kind of confusing at times since it had the tendency to get repetitive a lot. Some of the narrative felt light and kind of young for YA, but at the same time, it was really emotional too.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I think this is the part that I enjoyed the least in the book. I have a lot of issues with the main character and the side characters and their development and it’s really disappointing since the characters have always been my favorite part of these author’s series.
Grace is one of the most unreliable narrators that I’ve ever come across in YA. She’s very paranoid and angry. She’s dealt with a lot of trauma and mental health issues in the last three years. She’s suffering from a lot of emotional wounds and she pushes people away because of that. She can be kind of rude and she really frustrated me because I felt like she purposely dragged her feet through what could’ve been really great and supportive relationships around her.
I was really disappointed with the side characters. There was a really big cast involved in this book but I felt like they weren’t fleshed out enough. They were only there like 10% of the time and they wasn’t enough interaction between them and the side characters. They should’ve been instrumental for Grace, but they didn’t even spend that much time together on page.

Emotionally

Read More »

ARC Review – How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

How to Make a Wish

Author: Ashley Herring Blake

Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

Read: May 2017

Ashley Herring BlakeGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from HMH Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This is a really great coming of age story about grief and family. A few of the themes involved were friendship, sexuality, love, acceptance and letting go. I probably would’ve read it in one sitting if I’d had a physical copy of this book because while it’s super emotional and powerful, it’s so easy to get lost in.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style of this book is definitely one of its selling points. It’s powerful and emotional and intense. It’s poetic and raw. There’s a few instances of explicit content but it was so tastefully done that it flowed easily through the story. The narrative was just so honest and real, it was so great to read.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
The characters of this book are just so amazing. There’s nothing I love more than a character driven story and this is exactly what the kind of book that does it extremely well. All the characters are complex and complicated, they’re all dealing with so many different things and I loved seeing their individual growth.
Grace is such a strong character. She’s had to deal with so many things because of her mom that most people don’t have to that it’s made her kind of closed off. She’s tired of having to pick up the pieces after her Mom. She feels very self-conscious and vulnerable. I connected a lot with her and the responsibilities she felt she had toward her Mom.
The side characters in this series are stellar. They each have their own role within the story, but they don’t feel like they’re there just for that. Each one is complex and real. They’re relationships with each other felt so honest. I can’t stop saying the word real because I just felt like I had the privilege to sneak a peek into the lives of such amazing individuals and there’s nothing better than to find a book that gives you that.

Emotionally

Read More »

Book Traveling Thursdays May 11th – Loved Book from Unloved Genre

Hello everyone!

It’s BTT time! This is a weekly meme created by Danielle at Danielle’s Book Blog and Catia at TheGirlWhoReadTooMuch. You can find all of the information you’ll need to participate on the Goodreads page.

This week’s topic is Choose a book from a genre that you don’t read that often but loved anyway. This topic is a bit harder for me because there isn’t a genre that I could really call unloved. There are some that I’m not as big of a fan of like Horror or Science Fiction but I still read books from those genres. So I picked Paranormal as my unloved genre since over time, as I’ve grown older, isn’t as engaging to me now.

SO let’s get started!

Read More »

ARC Review – Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Noteworthy

Author: Riley Redgate

Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+

Read: April 2017

Riley RedgateGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Abrams Kids and Amulet Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.
Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book was really fun and cute though it also dealt with the heavier themes of like like gender identity, friendship, family and sexuality. It’s a coming of age story with secrets and some violence. However, I wish the ending matched the beginning, meaning I wish the themes involved would’ve come full circle in a different way and that the ending didn’t feel like such a cop out I guess.

Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
The writing style is pretty easy to read, however, there were really long chapters which made it feel like it was dragging by. It’s detailed and descriptive and quite funny and entertaining as well. I really loved the music side of the story, even though it wasn’t really a big focal point like I expected. I was a bit disappointed with the way some of the themes were explored and was hoping they would have more page time.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I’m a little sad to say that I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I was hoping to. There wasn’t anything that I particularly disliked about any of them, I have started to think that maybe this author’s writing style isn’t for me. There’s just something about it that doesn’t really allow me to get lost into the story completely like I like to.
Jordan is kind of a frustrating character but it makes sense. She’s confused and a little lost. She wants to feel like she belongs in this fancy performing arts school she’s a part of but she isn’t really finding her place within it. She’s kind of quiet and feels discouraged with her dreams. She struggles with the decision she makes and feels very guilty. She’s torn and angry. She doubts herself a lot and feels a lot of pressure. She’s dealing with all these different things going on in her life but I wish that all this coming of age and self-discovery would’ve included more honesty and  personal responsibility.
There’s a lot of side characters and they’re all such complex individuals with different stories and lives and their relationships are all so complicated and intricate. There’s a lot of diversity in this book which was so amazing to read because that’s one of the biggest positives of this story, how real they feel as a group, as people that reside in this school. I wish there would’ve been more page time for developing friendships, you see glimpses here and there but a lot of the book was just Jordan’s thoughts and feelings. I would’ve liked to have seen more page time of the friendships that developed since the story started and the ones that were already established before.

Emotionally

Read More »

Most Anticipated Spring Releases

Hello everyone!

I am back today to talk about my most anticipated releases of the spring season, from March, April and May of 2017. So I totally forgot that this is something that I do at the beginning of each season and obviously spring is halfway through or almost over by the time I’m sharing and most of the books have already been released. In my defense, the month I would’ve been sharing this if I’d remember was the weekend I moved and I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it anyway so there. I have a total of 24books to talk about so make sure to click on the cover if you would like to see their Goodreads page. Let’s look at some books anyway, shall we?

SO let’s get started!

Read More »

Book Review – Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan

Maid of Deception (Maids of Honor #2)

Author: Jennifer McGowan

Publication: August 26th, 2014

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Format: Kindle Edtion, 432 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Espionage

Read: April 2017

Jennifer McGowanGoodreads

 

Synopsis
Beatrice Knowles is a Maid of Honor, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s secret protectors. Known for her uncanny ability to manipulate men’s hearts, Beatrice has proven herself to be a valuable asset in the Queen’s court—or so she thinks. It has been three weeks since the Maids thwarted a plot to overthrow the Queen, and Beatrice is preparing to wed her betrothed, Lord Cavanaugh. However, her plans come to a crashing halt as rumors of a brewing Scottish rebellion spread among the court.
Beatrice’s new assignment is to infiltrate the visiting Scottish delegation using her subtle arts in persuasion. The mission seems simple enough, until the Queen pairs Beatrice with the worst of the lot—Alasdair MacLeod. Beatrice cannot help but think that the Queen is purposefully setting her up for failure. But Alasdair could be the key to unlocking the truth about the rebellion…and her heart. Caught in a web of ever-more-twisting lies, Beatrice must rise up among the Maids of Honor and prove what she’s known all along: in a court filled with deception and danger, love may be the deadliest weapon of all.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
This story is full of historical court drama, mystery and espionage. The main character is the master of secrets and being able to use them to her advantage so there’s a lot of political and social action going on. However, it was a bit slow and sometimes it felt boring. It wasn’t as entertaining as the first book and that was disappointing.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
This book was really easy to read and the writing style was detailed and descriptive. It was quite simple but sometimes it felt too modern for the time period it was set in. The narrator was honestly kind of annoying. She spent a lot of time blind to things or in denial and her voice was really dry.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I was a little disappointed with the characterization in this book. I was really looking forward to reading from another Maid of Honor’s point of view but I didn’t connect with her the same way. It just made the book less entertaining and lacked the charm of the first one.
Beatrice was really annoying. I don’t like saying that she was. She’s made her whole life on the fact that she can lie her ass off and lying is one of my deal breakers so I kind of knew we weren’t going to get along that well. She’s oblivious to a lot of things around here even though she’s supposed to be the most observant of them all. She’s really manipulative and has a haughty attitude so not that big of a fan.
On the other hand, I loved the side characters! I’m glad I got to have the other Maids of Honor around even though not as much as I was hoping to. And the new characters that were introduced as well as looked into more were amazing. I just felt like everyone around Beatrice outshined her and I almost wanted a different POV to be the center in this book.

Emotionally

Read More »

T5W May 3rd – Favorite SFF Cover Art

Hello everyone!

Time for another Top 5 Wednesday. Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and if you would like to join, here is the link for the Goodreads group with all the information.

This week’s topic is Favorite SFF Cover Art. I am such a huge fan of covers in general so I love to talk about the ones that I fall in love with at first sight. Science Fiction and Fantasy have beautiful covers and I can’t wait to share the top 5 that I’ve picked with you guys.

SO let’s get started!

Read More »