ARC Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (ARC August Scavenger Hunt | Review 3)

THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END
Author: Adam Silvera
Genre: YA, Contemporary w/Sci-Fi elements, Romance
Pub Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: ARC from ALAAC 2017

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On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st (main POVs) | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | not center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ (m/m ship, one lead is bi, i can’t remember if the other one uses a label) | racial (both leads are latinx) | religion | disabled | mental illness | body | #ownvoices

 

I’m going to let you guys in on my not-so-secret secret: I’ve never read an Adam Silvera book. Before They Both Die at the End, I hadn’t read a single book by him. Long ago I tried to read More Happy than Not and I couldn’t get into it (GASP, I know), but TBDATE has a really awesome premise and EVERYONE on book twitter—and everywhere else, really—is talking about it, so I knew I had to read it.

Since I’ve never read a Silvera book, I want to give my honest opinion and offer other people who will be reading this author’s work for the first time a realistic idea of what to expect in They Both Die at the End. Whether you’re an old fan or a new one, hopefully this review will prepare you for the book.

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ARC Review: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco (ARC August Scavenger Hunt | Review 2)

HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Romance
Pub Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Source: ARC from ALAAC 2017

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In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1 bestseller Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

review-at-a-glance

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious (at times) | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | not center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ (f/f side characters relationship) | racial (MC is Indian and British) | religion | disabled | mental illness | body | #ownvoices

 

I cannot begin to describe how excited I was for this book. Last year, I read Stalking Jack the Ripper early and I completely fell in love with Audrey Rose, the murders, and the intriguing mystery partially based off one of the most fascinating cases featuring Jack the Ripper.

The first book was very good (I gave it 5 stars), but Hunting Prince Dracula is its older, emo cousin that is ten times better. (There will be no spoilers for SJTR in my review!)

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ARC Review: Warcross by Marie Lu (ARC August Scavenger Hunt | Review 1)

WARCROSS
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Warcross #1
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Romance
Pub Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books
Source: ARC from ALAAC 2017

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For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

 

review-at-a-glance

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | not center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial | religion | disabled | mental illness | body | #ownvoices

 

AHHHHHHHHHHH A NEW MARIE LU BOOK!!!!!! Warcross is the book I never knew I needed. As soon as the blurb was released, I was basically salivating for the futuristic sci-fi that promised both fun and pain within its pages (it is by Marie Lu, after all).

Before I start, let’s get one thing straight—I looooooooved this book and am still stunned by that wild twist at the end.

Futuristic Tokyo. Spies. Virtual reality games. Morally gray characters. Sound amazing to you? That’s because it 100% is.

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ARC August Scavenger Hunt! | Win a Free Book!

We’re halfway through ARC AUGUST, aka the month when I’m most productive and I write reviews like a fiend. I love this month because it helps me do two things–read a lot and review a lot!

Then I started thinking about the relatively low interaction with my review posts, and I thought of a fun way to shake things up. Do you like reading ARC reviews, scavenger hunts (that are easy, promise!), and winning free books? Then come learn more about participating in my ARC August review scavenger hunt!

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Review: Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

MIDNIGHT AT THE ELECTRIC
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Genre: YA, Historical, Sci-Fi, Romance
Pub Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Library

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Divided by time. Ignited by a spark.

Kansas, 2065. Adri has secured a slot as a Colonist—one of the lucky few handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago, and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time…and how it might be inextricably tied to her own. 

Oklahoma, 1934. Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine fantasizes about her family’s farmhand, and longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called the Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire—and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life—Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most. 

England, 1919. In the recovery following the First World War, Lenore struggles with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself? 

While their stories spans thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined.

 

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs (+diary entries) | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | not center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial | religion | disabled | mental illness | body | #ownvoices

 

Full disclosure: I was first drawn to this book because I thought it could be used as a comp title for one of my manuscripts due to the 3 separate timelines. I haven’t seen any other book do something like this, so I was really excited (and hopeful!) to see how to author pulled it off.

I’m happy to report this was a quick, easy read that was enjoyable.

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Review: What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

WHAT TO SAY NEXT
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pub Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Library

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her. 

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

 

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark (at times) | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love (SO well done!) | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | not center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial | religion | disabled | mental illness | body | #ownvoices

 

Do not be fooled by the cutesy, summer-y cover: this is a heartfelt book dealing with grief, Asperger’s (or ASD), and race, among other things. I know I say this all the time, but I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I read a few mixed reviews–a close friend DNFed it, while others said they absolutely loved it. It’s a quick read, only like 250 pages, so I read it in an afternoon to get my own opinion on it.

The verdict? It was *super* cute and I’m totally enchanted by this book.

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ARC Review: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pub Date: August 27, 2017
Publisher: Random House
Source: ARC from ALA

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She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war. 

 

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark (at times) | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy (at times) | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | not center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ (lesbian side character) | racial (biracial African-Greek characters, Indian side character, black side character) | religion | disabled | mental illness | body (side character) | #ownvoices

 

This is my first ARC review for #ARCAugust. Like almost everyone else on the face of the earth, this year I was bitten by the Wonder Woman bug. After the movie, I absolutely fell in love with the warrior woman and everything about her. I haven’t read the comics, but I want to soon because I’m so enraptured by her story.

Then I remembered the DC Legends books coming out, and that LEIGH BARDUGO was writing a story about Wonder Woman!! I grabbed an ARC of it at ALA (not an easy feat, considering all of the other bookworms bit by the Diana bug) and as soon as ARC August started, I blew threw it.

Honestly, people, it’s a story about Diana, Princess of the Amazons, written by Leigh Bardugo. Did you expect it to be anything other than amazing?

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Game of Thrones Book Tag!

As of the time this post goes up, Game of Thrones will have 3 episodes left in Season 7. I’m one of the millions of people who eagerly tune-in every Sunday night, rooting for my faves to win the Iron Throne. Since I love book tags, and I love Game of Thrones, I thought it would be a great idea to combine the two and do a Game of Thrones book tag!

The original tag was done here, but I’m going to do it in a blog format.

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Review: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

THE DARKEST CORNERS
Author: Kara Thomas
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
Pub Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Library

Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

 

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love (SO well done!) | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | not center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial | religion | disabled | mental illness | body | #ownvoices

 

I read Kara Thomas’s second mystery book Little Monsters first and loved it, so I decided to go back to her first thriller and see if it was just as good. Another YA thriller author, Caleb Roehrig also recommended it to me, so I was eager to read it.They had very different vibes, but they were equally as good.

The author’s two books had very different vibes, but they were equally as good. Consider Kara Thomas one of my auto-buy authors now!

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Review: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

HOW TO MAKE A WISH
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pub Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: HMH
Source: Library

Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances. 

One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace’s room, setting off a chain of stolen nights on the beach. When Eva tells Grace that she likes girls, Grace’s world opens up and she begins to believe in happiness again.        How to Make a Wish is an emotionally charged portrait of a mother and daughter’s relationship and a heartfelt story about two girls who find each other at the exact right time.

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark (at times) | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | not center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ (bi and lesbian rep) | racial (love interest is biracial) | religion | disabled | mental illness | body | #ownvoices

 

I was destined to love this book. I firmly believe this.

Why? Oh, let me tell you why.

I didn’t like the author’s first book, I’ll be honest. I thought it was cliche and as someone who has experienced something very similar to the things the main characters do, I thought it wasn’t well handled at all. And yet, I still wanted to read this book. Like Suffer Love, I have a very personal connection to this book.

I thought this would be easy to read. I thought I could pick it up and read it in a couple hours and be done.

I was very, very wrong. This book was beautiful and everything I could ever want it to be, but it was a heavy read for me.

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