TRULY DEVIOUS By Maureen Johnson

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

TRULY DEVIOUS By Maureen JohnsonTruly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Series: Truly Devious #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 1/16/18
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery & Detective, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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ReviewedbyDani

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

Short and Sweet

Albert Ellingham created Ellingham Academy a private school in Vermont for students who were bright. Tragedy struck when a mysterious person going by the name Truly Devious leaves a riddle for Ellingham, not only that but Ellingham’s wife and child were kidnapped and a student was murdered. Now in present day Stevie Bell is ready to attend Ellingham Academy. Stevie loves crimes, mysteries, and is determined to solve the infamous Truly Devious case, but things get complicated when strange things start to occur at Ellingham.

Characters

Stevie: Our main character. I loved Stevie, we don’t see many protagonist that are into true crime. Stevie looked at things from all angles and she pieced things together. I was rooting for Stevie to finally solve the case that no one else has been able to.

Janelle: One of Stevie’s roommates. Janelle was an inventor and someone Stevie had correspondance with online before they both arrived at Ellingham Academy. Janelle was supportive of Stevie and her interest in solving the murder and I love how sweet she is to everyone she meets.

Nate: One of Stevie’s roommates. Nate was a writer and he liked to stay to himself. He was interesting in the fact that you really had to get things out him, but he was a good friend to Stevie when she needed it.

Hayes: One of Stevie’s roommates. Hayes was a youtube star and was looking for some new ideas. He didn’t mind the attention because any publicity is good publicity.

Ellie: One of Stevie’s roommates. Ellie was a second year student and she was very out there. Ellie is an artist and she wasn’t shy.

David: One of Stevie’s roommates. David was considered the jokester of the group. He was also a second year student.

Romance

Stevie and David: Opposites attract and thats what happened with these two. David got on Stevie’s nerves and to retaliate she would come up with sly remarks. I didn’t like the two of them together it just didn’t feel right.

Janelle and Vi: We don’t get to know the details of their relationship but we do see them in a few scenes and it was cute.

Quotes

~ “Games are not fun when you don’t know you’re playing.”

~ “Stevie had no fears of the dead. The living, however, sometimes gave her the creeps.”

My Thoughts

~ Truly Devious, goes back and forth between the present and when the school first opened, so we get an insight on Albert Ellingham’s life and what occurred the day his wife and child went missing. It also helps to understand more about the past to understand what Stevie sees and knows about the mystery.

~ We don’t get enough clues to solve the mystery on our own but its understandable especially if this is a trilogy and this first book is building up to something.

~ I loved the characters but Stevie, Janelle, and Nate were my favorite. Probably because those three were first year students so they could bond about that.

~ I was more invested in the Truly Devious mystery than the mystery occurring in the present mainly because there was more information on that than on the one currently taking place.

~ One aspect I loved was the police reports from the past, we also get different POVs when reading the chapters about the first mystery. In the present chapters we get Stevie’s POV only

Overall

This book was exactly what I needed to get out of my reading slump! I loved it and I need book two right now! The book just ended when things were starting to come together and left me with a major cliffhanger. I definitely recommend this book if you love mysteries and crime, you even get two mysteries for the price of one!

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EVERLESS By Sara Holland

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

EVERLESS By Sara HollandEverless by Sara Holland
Published by HarperTeen on 1/2/18
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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ReviewedbyDani

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

Short and Sweet

After learning that her father is dying Jules makes the decision to go back to Everless to try to earn more time for him. But Everless is more dangerous for Jules than anyone else, Jules and her father used to be servants at Everless until they were forced to leave. As Jules makes her way back to Everless she learns more about herself there than she ever thought she would.

Characters

Jules: Our main character. Jules is brave she knew she was risking her life going back to Everless, there were dangers including people from her past recognizing her. She was an amazing character she cared about those around her and tried to protect them.

Liam: Liam is a Roan’s brother and theres just something about him. Liam is distant from others and is seen as cruel. There’s a lot more to Liam that we get to find out and its shocking.

Roan: Roan is seen as the nicer brother. There’s not a lot we learn about him because he’s not seen often but we do know that he’s nice and is going to be married.

Ina: Ina is the Queen’s adopted daughter and is soon to be married to Roan. Ina is sweet and is curious about her parentage. I liked her I thought she would be snobby but she was one of the kindest characters.

Caro: Caro is the Queens handmaiden and also one of Ina’s friends. Caro comes off as shy and she does try to help Jules but she has motives for doing it.

Romance

Jules and Roan: Jules has always liked Roan even when they were children. Things are different now because Roan is set to marry Ina Gold. When Jules and Roan are together you can tell there is still something there between them.

Ina and Roan: Ina and Roan are set to be married but we don’t get many scenes with them together so I can’t really tell you how great their relationship is.

Quotes

~”But to betray someone, you must first care for them.”

My Thoughts

~ Before going to Everless Jules is warned by her father to stay away from Everless, the Gerlings, and the most importantly the Queen.

~ We learn about what happened in Jules past concerning why her and her father were forced to leave Everless behind. But now that Jules is back we learn even more secrets about her and why she’s told to stay away from the queen.

~ Jules was brave and put herself in danger she decides that she wants to learn more about the queen so she becomes her servant which puts Jules in a position to tread lightly.

~ I thought Liam was an interesting character. He’s not the same person he was when Jules first lived at Everless and he’s doing things that are unusual for him.

~ In the kingdom of Sempera time is used as a currency and the time is taken by using blood. It’s really interesting but instead of money these coins are made from blood and they have time listed on them. They can also be consumed to give someone more time.

~ Ina and Jules develop an interesting friendship seeing as they were both orphans.

~ In the book we also learn about the story of the Alchemist and the Sorceress and theres a rumor that even though its been more than a few centuries that they’re both still around.

~ There’s so many twist and turns in this book and it just keeps you hooked until you get to the very last page.

Overall

I LOVED this book! I’m so glad that I got to read Everless! There’s so many secrets that are uncovered and the ending just leaves you wanting more. I can’t wait until the next book is released. Pick up this book now and start off 2018 with a book that will blow your mind!!!

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LOVE, LIFE, AND THE LIST By Kasie West

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

LOVE, LIFE, AND THE LIST By Kasie WestLove, Life, and the List by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on 12/26/17
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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ReviewedbyDani

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings, Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list, she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being.

But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems . . . and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

Short and Sweet

Abby Turner is an artist and her goal is to make it into an art program. The only way Abby can do this is by getting her pieces into an art show and thats where the list comes in. Abby believes that the list will help her become a better artist and put more emotion into her work. With the help of her best friend Cooper who she also has a crush on, Abby is determined to finish the list, become a better artist, and maybe get Cooper to like her back.

Characters

Abby: Our main character. I loved Abby, she was determined to get what she wanted and she worked hard to get it. She deals with a lot in her home life, her father is in the military and is away and her mom has anxiety which seems to be getting worse. Abby was sweet and sarcastic very sarcastic but I liked it she was an enjoyable character to follow.

Cooper: Abby’s best friend and crush. Abby and Cooper do almost everything together and I loved their friendship they told each other almost everything, I also loved how he was so willing to help Abby with her list. Cooper was laid back and fearless and a good friend.

Lacey: Lacey is a friend that Abby makes over the summer and I loved Lacey too! She and Abby haven’t known each other long but it was like she was meant to be in Abby’s life. Lacey is an actress and Abby is an artist so they both understood each other on that level of having a passion for something.

Romance

Abby and Elliot: So Abby and Elliot have met before but didn’t really start hanging out until this summer when they meet at a restaurant and then again at a grocery store. Both of them are artist and liked talking to each other about their art. I thought they were cute but they were better off as friends.

Cooper and Iris: Iris is a girl that Cooper meets at the beach. Iris is one of those girls that seems nice when Cooper is around but would change whenever she was left with Abby. We don’t really see many interactions with Cooper and Iris but we do know that they go on a couple of dates.

Abby and Cooper: This relationship is interesting. We learn that Abby has professed her love for Cooper but he didn’t feel the same way so she just played it off as if she was joking. And now this summer their quartet becomes a duo when two of their friends leave on vacation. Now its just Abby and Cooper and Abby still has feelings for him but it still doesn’t seem like he feels the same way. I really liked the two of them together especially after seeing how close they were as friends.

My Thoughts

~ Here’s my favorite thing about the book… the list! There were ten things on the list and all of these things were supposed to help Abby become a better artist by helping her add depth and emotion to her work. Abby learned a stranger’s story, tried five new things, and faced a fear, I can’t tell you if she fell in love or not you’ll just have to read the book.

~ I also love how Abby went out of her comfort zone when it came to the list. She picked one thing she admired about each person in her life and tried to incorporate it into the list.

~ Abby’s family was amazing too. They were supportive of her and believed that she could get into the art show. Abby’s grandpa is just as sarcastic as her which was great. We also learn more about Abby’s mom and her anxiety and how it got to the point its at now. Abby’s dad is also in the book through emails and phone calls.

Overall

This book was cute and enjoyable! It made me smile and laugh and it didn’t take long to read. I’ve loved each of the books by Kasie West that I’ve read and this one is now different. West knows how to write with emotion and it makes the book and characters so real. I love this book and recommend it for anyone who loves contemporaries, art, and maybe your best friend!

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SHADOW GIRL By Liana Liu

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

SHADOW GIRL By Liana LiuShadow Girl by Liana Liu
Published by HarperTeen on 12/19/17
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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ReviewedbyDani

The house on Arrow Island is full of mystery.

Yet, when Mei arrives, she can’t help feeling relieved. She’s happy to spend the summer in an actual mansion tutoring a rich man’s daughter if it means a break from her normal life—her needy mother, her delinquent brother, their tiny apartment in the city. And Ella Morison seems like an easy charge, sweet and well behaved.

What she doesn’t know is that something is very wrong in the Morison household.

Though Mei tries to focus on her duties, she becomes increasingly distracted by the family’s problems and her own complicated feelings for Ella’s brother, Henry. But most disturbing of all are the unexplained noises she hears at night—the howling and thumping and cries.

Mei is a sensible girl. She isn’t superstitious; she doesn’t believe in ghosts. Yet she can’t shake her fear that there is danger lurking in the shadows of this beautiful house, a darkness that could destroy the family inside and out...and Mei along with them.

Short and Sweet

Mei is an academic tutor and this summer she gets a job working for the Morison family at their house on Arrow Island. Mei expects this experience to go well, she gets to go stay at the family mansion on an island and get away from her life in the city. But what Mei doesn’t know is that the Morison household my be haunted and even though she doesn’t believe in ghost she can’t help but to feel that something is wrong.

Characters

Mei: Mei is our main character, and I tried really hard to like her but I just couldn’t. Mei is smart and is focused on her work. I like how she tried to relate to Ella and understand her more. What I didn’t like about Mei was how she tried to come off as a nice person but she really wasn’t. She would make mean remarks and once she realized what she said wasn’t nice she would try to pass it off as a joke and it bothered me because its not like she did this once or twice she did this a lot.

Henry: The Morison’s son. Mei made Henry seem like a snobby rich boy, but the truth is he’s actually pretty nice and you can tell how much he cares especially in scenes with Ella. I liked Henry he was pretty forgiving of Mei and even tried to teach her to swim.

Ella: Ella is the girl being tutored by Mei. Ella is shy and not really focused on her work, but she is interested and is a firm believer that there is a ghost in the mansion.

Romance

Mei and Henry: I don’t know how I feel about this relationship… actually after thinking about it I don’t like it at all. Mei would like Henry and then she wouldn’t and it was just off. You could tell that he liked her and she would push him away and say something about how he doesn’t know what it’s like to not have everything in life handed to him and I don’t know why he put up with that or how he could still have feelings for her but he did.

My Thoughts

~ Okay so lets get into this haunting mystery. So weird things happen at night and only Ella and Mei seem to notice.  We don’t get much information about the ghost or why it’s haunting the house which was really annoying because this book is being considered a mystery and it wasn’t.

~ The book alternates from the city and the island. On the island we see Mei’s life with the Morison family and her tutoring sessions with Ella and the ghost. On the city we learn more about Mei’s brother who has just returned home and is trying to turn his life around.

~I liked Andy he was really trying but Mei wouldn’t give him a chance because she didn’t think he could change.

~ There was also a point in the book when Vanessa, Ella’s mother would ask Mei to do things and Mei wouldn’t want to do them because she was an academic tutor, and yet she would still do these errands for Vanessa, but don’t get me wrong she would complain the whole time.

~ I can’t really explain to you guys why this is considered a mystery. Sure there’s a ghost haunting the house and the Jeffrey Morison is a little shady but other than that theres nothing to suggest a mystery. Mei isn’t putting on her Nancy Drew hat and investigating she’s just laughing it off and tries to tell herself its nothing.

Overall

I wanted to like this book I really did, especially because it was described as a mystery and I love mysteries. This book just didn’t do it for me. The plot was mundane the ghost was only mentioned several times and the ending was awful. I wish things were more explained but what I was left with was an ending that made me think I was missing something everything was wrapped up quickly with no explanation. I thought this was a good book but it didn’t live up to my expectations.

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RUN AWAY WITH ME By Mila Gray

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
RUN AWAY WITH ME By Mila GrayRun Away With Me by Mila Gray
Series: Come Back to Me #3
Published by Simon Pulse on 11/28/17
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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ReviewedbyDani

Emerson Lowe and popular ice-hockey player Jake McCallister have been best friends since third grade but as their friendship starts to morph into something more a terrible event occurs that heralds the end of innocence for both of them.

Within a week, Jake’s living on the other side of the country and Emerson is left alone to pick up the pieces of her life in a small town determined to paint her as a liar.

Seven years later, Emerson is still living on the beautiful Pacific West island of Bainbridge, helping run her family’s business. The last thing she needs is Jake turning up, bringing with him old memories and opening up old wounds. But Jake—even better looking than Emerson remembers—seems determined to revive their friendship no matter how much Emerson tries to push him away.

Forced to work alongside him for the summer Emerson can’t help but fall for Jake, and soon they’re in the midst of a passionate romance that neither of them wants to end.

But both Emerson and Jake know that if they’re to have any kind of future they must first confront the past—a past that most people want to stay buried.

Short and Sweet

Emerson and Jake used to be best friends until he ends up moving away suddenly. After not seeing each other for seven years Jake is back and wants to try to be friends again and Em just wants to push him away because she knows that if she lets him in she’ll have to relive old memories that she’s been trying to move on from since he left.

Characters

Emerson: Em is such a strong main character I loved her. I liked that she continued to be strong even when she didn’t want to. She has her guard up which is understandable especially after what happened to her which I’ll get more into later.

Jake: I loved Jake too. All he wanted to do was come back to Bainbridge and see Em and try to make things right. He was sweet and he tried his hardest to get close to her without overstepping her boundaries.

Romance

So Jake and Em do have a history they shared their first kiss together when they were 13 and 14. Now fast forwarding to the present Em has her walls up especially when she sees that Jake has returned to the island. When Jake tries to rekindle their friendship he’s met with an Em who just wants to push him away. But Jake didn’t stop and I’m so happy he didn’t because when they finally got together everything felt right. They were meant to be together, they were best friends and they know so much about each other which made it even better. Even though they have a relationship they still have to work on talking about what happened in the past which is still a little difficult. But I’m glad they ended up together they just mesh together so well and they truly love each other.

My Thoughts

~ So when Em was in high school she was sexually assaulted by her ice hockey coach which also happens to be Jake’s uncle. That was the day when Em’s life shattered. No one believed her except her parents and she was ridiculed in school by her peers and called a liar.

~ We also get to see into Em’s personal life which doesn’t seem much better she works at her family business which isn’t doing the best and in the past year her father was diagnosed with MS. Em has to manage all these things in her life and it isn’t easy for her.

~ When Jake finally comes back after seven years Em just wants to know what he’s doing back but she doesn’t want to be his friend again.

~ Jake returning was interesting, we learn about why he left and we get to learn why he returned later in the book. Jake coming back changed things on the island mainly because he’s kind of famous. He still plays hockey and is the #1 draft pick so he’s well known. When he comes back he decides to take a job at Em’s family business to try to get close to her but it also helps pick up business too.

~ I liked Toby’s character. He’s one of Em’s friends and also works at the family business. He has good intentions and he helps Em out a lot.

~ Shay is also one of Em’s friends we don’t see much of her because she’s in another state during most of the book but she’s always supportive of Em and trying to give her the best advice she can.

~ We also get to see some of the towns people like the Walsh brothers who have history with Em and Jake they’re not the best people but they do play a big part in the book towards the end.

Overall

I loved this book! I usually don’t read a lot of new adult but this is now one of my favorites! The progression of the relationship between Jake and Em was perfect. I also liked how Gray touched on the subject of sexually assault and showed how it affected Em’s life. This is such an amazing book and I recommend that everyone picks it up, I plan on reading some of Gray’s other books!

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THE CHAOS OF STANDING STILL By Jessica Brody

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

THE CHAOS OF STANDING STILL By Jessica BrodyThe Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody
Published by Simon Pulse on 11/28/17
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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ReviewedbyDani

Over the course of one chaotic night stranded at the Denver airport, Ryn confronts her shattered past thanks to the charm of romance, the uniqueness of strangers, and the magic of ordinary places in this stunning novel from the author of Boys of Summer.

Ryn has one unread text message on her phone. And it’s been there for almost a year.

She hasn’t tried to read it. She can’t. She won’t. Because that one message is the last thing her best friend ever said to her before she died.

But as Ryn finds herself trapped in the Denver International Airport on New Year’s Eve thanks to a never-ending blizzard on the one-year anniversary of her best friend’s death, fate literally runs into her.

And his name is Xander.

When the two accidentally swap phones, Ryn and Xander are thrust into the chaos of an unforgettable all-night adventure, filled with charming and mysterious strangers, a secret New Year’s Eve bash, and a possible Illuminati conspiracy hidden within the Denver airport. But as the bizarre night continues, all Ryn can think about is that one unread text message. It follows her wherever she goes, because Ryn can’t get her brialliantly wild and free-spirited best friend out of her head.

Ryn can’t move on.

But tonight, for the first time ever, she’s trying. And maybe that’s a start.

Short and Sweet

All Ryn wants to do is make it back home before New Years, but after a snow storm hits Denver she realizes that she’ll have to stay in the airport overnight. While at the airport Ryn meets some new companions and confronts the past that she’s been avoiding for over a year.

Characters

Ryn: Our main character. I didn’t mind her she was a good main character. There was a lot she was dealing with especially since it was so close to the anniversary of her best friends death. All Ryn wants to do is go home before she even has to think of Lottie’s death. You can tell that Ryn has PTSD and is still trying to figure out how to cope with it.

Lottie: Ryn’s dead best friend. Lottie shows up as kind of a conscience in Ryn’s mind or sometimes a figment in her imagination. You can tell that during the flashbacks and just by the way Ryn talks about Lottie that she was the wild one in their friendship the one that took risks. I liked Lottie she usually popped up when Ryn was making decisions or needed a little push to have some fun.

Xander: A boy Ryn meets at the airport and her love interest. Xander was all about having some fun while being stuck in the airport. He’s also just trying to make it back home while avoiding something that recently happened to him.

Romance

Ryn and Xander: Love at first sight? No. They’re first interaction occurred because Ryn wasn’t paying attention and bumped into him and they ended up trading phones, because what do you know they both have the same phone case. At this point Ryn just wants her phone back and wants to avoid Xander because she still has hope that she can get home on time. When it finally hits Ryn that she’ll be stuck in the airport, Lottie shows up and gives her a push to go hangout with Xander in the meantime. Xander wants to have some fun and during the course of the day he does get Ryn to loosen up a little. These two have their guards up and are trying to avoid talking about certain things which does at some points strain their relationship. Over the course of the book both of them realize that they need to face their past but on their own terms.

My Thoughts

~ This book was so much fun! I actually live in Denver and I’m very familiar with DIA and I think Brody was spot on when writing about the airport. I would love to be able to stay in the airport overnight and do some of the things Ryn and Xander did like surfing on the train or going to a party in the hotel.

~ Xander isn’t the only person Ryn meets in the airport she also meets Siri and Jimmy both of them work at a burger place in the airport and Ryn also meets Troy who she somehow becomes responsible for. These minor characters were quirky and fun in their own way and they also brought out Ryn’s fun side.

~ I loved the flashbacks not only do we get to really see Lottie through Ryn’s eyes but we also get to see what happened on the day that Lottie died.

~ Ryn uses Google as a coping method, she googles things she wants the answers to so that things don’t seem unknown to her. I thought it was interesting to see some of the things she would google like, “how do revolving doors work?”

~ We also have the mystery of what was said in the final text that Lottie sent to Ryn. Ryn believes that if she doesn’t open the text that she’ll be keeping a piece of Lottie alive. Brody’s writing just shows how lonely Ryn became when Lottie died and its heartbreaking.

Overall

The Chaos of Standing Still is heartbreaking, hilarious, hopeful, and shows us that moving on may not be so bad after all. The plot was amazing and the cast of characters is one you don’t want to stop reading about I loved how things were wrapped up in the end. This is a book that I won’t stop thinking about anytime soon!

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The Afterlife of Holly Chase

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Afterlife of Holly ChaseThe Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
Published by HarperTeen on 10/24/17
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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ReviewedbyDani

On Christmas Eve five years ago, seventeen-year-old Holly Chase was visited by three Ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways. She didn’t. And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge—as their latest Ghost of Christmas Past. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year’s Scrooge is different. This year’s Scrooge might change everything…

Short and Sweet

Every year Project Scrooge picks a new Scrooge to help reform. Holly Chase our main character learned the hard way that not changing her scrooge ways would result in an afterlife she wasn’t expecting. Now as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Holly is tasked with helping other scrooges change their ways, but this years scrooge is different from the ones before.

Characters

Holly: Holly is an interesting character, I didn’t think she was the best main character she came across as if she thought she was better than everyone else and I just couldn’t relate to her. I thought she was an interesting character because she was a failed scrooge and is now working at project scrooge to help other scrooges change their ways before its too late, but even though you would think that because she got the job of Ghost of Christmas Past maybe she would be nicer or something… shes not. I think that’s what disappointed me the most about her character was the lack of character development throughout the story.

Ethan: This years scrooge and Holly’s love interest. Ethan is wealthy and like Holly thinks he’s better than other people he was also just mean. There’s not much else to say about Ethan he was shown in a good light probably because the book was in Holly’s POV and she thought that they were a match made in heaven.

Stephanie: Stephanie is an intern at project scrooge for the year and becomes Holly’s assistant. I loved Stephanie she was optimistic and happy, but I felt bad because Holly did not treat her well.

Boz: Holly’s boss and the man who runs project scrooge.

Romance

Holly and Ethan: This relationship was built upon lies. So people that work for project scrooge aren’t supposed to meet the scrooges until Christmas morning when the project takes place. Holly decides to break the rules and meet with Ethan even though she knows she shouldn’t, so she takes it upon herself to enlist her Stephanie’s help and find Ethan’s daily schedule and find out when he’s being watched and where he goes during the day. When Holly finally meets Ethan she goes by Victoria. Let me just say Holly isn’t the only one telling lies in this relationship, Ethan lies about his family and its just so hard to read because you’re basically just reading about two people who “really like” each other but are lying to each others faces. This relationship was meant to crumble from the very beginning.

Quotes

~ “He came from a good family, and by good I mean rich.” Is this quote not ridiculous to anyone else? Literally! Like he came from a good family because they’re rich?! At the very moment I read this from the book I had to put it down. This is how I knew Holly Chase did not change ONE BIT.

My Thoughts

~ Let me just say that I love the idea of this book, to have a project scrooge and to help scrooges find the good in themselves. I just don’t understand why they would hire Holly when she herself hasn’t changed (I mean I find out in the end).

~ I didn’t like the romance, like I said earlier the two may have liked each other but it was all lies, well maybe not for Holly because she actually liked him but still she was lying about who she was.

~ I did like the other characters that we meet in the book like Grant and Marty from Holly’s team.

~ It was interesting to see how things progressed in the book and how the members of project scrooge found out information about the scrooges life.

~ I will say I did like the ending it surprised me and I wasn’t expecting it.

Overall

I think this would be a good book for the holiday season for some, but unfortunately I wasn’t a big fan. I really wanted to like this book but some of the things that happened just put me off. What I would have liked was more character development from Holly, because she honestly didn’t change and I felt like I was seeing her be a during most of the book. Overall it was an okay book, it’s not one I would read again though.

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THE HANGING GIRL By Eileen Cook

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

THE HANGING GIRL By Eileen CookThe Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on 10/3/17
Genres: Mystery & Detective, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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ReviewedbyDani

Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions are helping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readings have always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs to start a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realizes the people she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discover their true identity before it’s too late.

Short and Sweet

Skye Thorn is known in her high school for giving tarot readings and having psychic visions, the thing is Skye has always faked these abilities. One of Skye’s classmates gets kidnapped and Skye has insider information about what’s going on. The police are trusting Skye’s “psychic visions” to help bring Paige home, but things turn ugly when this kidnapping that seemed like a prank turns serious. Now Skye must find out who’s behind what’s happening before it’s to late.

Characters

Skye: Our main character who fakes her psychic abilities. Skye takes part in this prank to kidnap Paige because when all is said and done she’s supposed to receive some of the ransom money and start a new life. I liked Skye and then again I didn’t. I’m glad she realized when she was in too deep but it was already to late at that point. We learn a lot about Skye and her troubling past and why some of the kids at school don’t trust her.

Paige: During the book we get a few chapters from Paige, it mostly shows her writing her experience. I felt bad for Paige because she was targeted for this “prank” because her father has money and she’s the most popular girl in school.

Pluto: The guy Skye is working with to pull off this prank, there’s not much we know about him except for the fact that he’s calling the shots.

My Thoughts

~ I really liked the concept of the book, Skye trying to make some money and things go wrong and now she has to figure out who’s behind everything. Is it the most original idea? No, but I still enjoyed reading this book.

~ Skye’s mom is also a psychic which I found interesting because I didn’t know if I could trust her or not because Skye would keep saying that her visions were off most of the time or she would call her mom a fake.

~ Skye also has a best friend, Drew. Drew was good supportive friend and we see how their friendship was kind of a motive for Skye to even take part in the kidnapping.

~ I felt worried for Skye while reading the book because she was lying a lot and she had to keep her story straight and I was interested to see how that worked out for her.

~ There were a few twist in the book that I enjoyed, but I did not like the ending at all it wasn’t satisfying to me. It just didn’t end right for me personally, I wanted more.

Overall

I thought this was a good book, it was short and easy to read through. At one point I was so confused at who could have been behind all of this because there were so many twists. I’ll be honest and say this isn’t my favorite book but it wasn’t bad, so if you like mysteries with a lot of twists then this may be the book for you!

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ONE DARK THRONE By Kendare Blake

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ONE DARK THRONE By Kendare BlakeOne Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns #2
Published by HarperTeen on 9/19/17
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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ReviewedbyDani

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

Short and Sweet

After the events that took place during the Quickening the Ascension year is in progress and things have changed. Katharine is different after returning to the manor, Mirabella doesn’t seem to be the front runner anymore, and Arsinoe is trying to figure out what to do with her new found skill. The question is which sister will prevail and take the crown and the throne?

Characters

Mirabella: The elemental queen, in the last book she was thought to be the strongest of the sisters but now that seems to be uncertain. Mirabella tries to see the good in her sisters and likes to think about memories from when they were younger, but this makes her apprehensive about the fact that she has to kill them.

Arsinoe: Our naturalist queen, we find out in the last book that she’s actually a poisoner which makes sense as to why her naturalist gift never seemed to show. Now Arsinoe is trying to figure out how this new skill works and how to use it in her advantage.

Katharine: The poisoner queen, oh how things have changed with Katharine. Katharine was one of the weaker queens but after climbing her way out of The Breccia Domain she’s back with a vengeance and the people on the island now call her, ‘the undead queen’.

Romance

Arsinoe and Billy: I love these two so much! Arsinoe still won’t admit how she feels about him to his face but Billy doesn’t give up easily. He was sent away to Rolanth to be Mirabella’s taster but he was always thinking about Arsinoe. These two cared about each other and it was my favorite romance of the book.

Katharine and Nicolas: Nicolas was one of Katharine’s suitors and one she liked. I honestly think Katharine only got with Nicolas to get back at Pietyr.

Jules and Joseph: After the events of the last book Jules is still trying to find a way to forgive Joseph. Does she trust him? No. Does he still try to make an effort? Yes. Did I think these two should be together? No. Maybe in the first book, but after what he did she just couldn’t trust him I like the fact that she tried though. “So you trust me?” She turns and looks squarely into his handsome, storm-blue eyes. “Not one bit.”

Quotes

~ “This is how it is,” Arsinoe whispers. “Someone’s going to die.”

~ “I am only afraid of what I must do.”

~ “Neither of my sisters will be returning to the island. The crown and the throne are mine.”

My Thoughts

~ Arsinoe, may have a new skill as a poisoner but she knows that she has to keep this a secret and use it to her advantage at some point. For now she still uses low magic to make a bond with her bear familiar.

~ Jules is one of my favorite characters that isn’t one of the queens. She’s the best and I like her better than Bree and Elizabeth. Jules will go to the end of the Earth to try to keep Arsinoe safe. She considers herself to be Arsinoe’s guardian and its like its her full time job. I love how she looks after Arsinoe and doesn’t treat it like a ob she does it because she genuinely loves her.

~ Jules also learns that she has a second gift, she’s legion cursed which occurs when you have two gifts, shes a naturalist of course and she has the war gift. She’s just learning how to use the war gift and is determined to use it to keep the ones she loves safe.

~ Mirabella is trying to wrap her head around the things that occurred during the quickening. She knows that she has to kill her sisters before they kill her. She plans on starting with Arsinoe for sending her bear after her and then Katharine.

~ Katharine is very determined to kill her sisters. A lot has changed with her but I guess thats what happens when you ‘come back from the dead.’ She was eating a lot of poison so much so that she ends up becoming poison.

~ The events of the quickening set a lot of events into motion in this book.

~ I loved Mirabella and Arsinoe in this book. Mirabella doesn’t want to kill her sisters and Arsinoe knows that she may not stand a chance. I liked Katharine in the last book because she seemed sweet but she was blood thirsty and it was a little overwhelming.

Overall

Can the sequel be better than the first book? Yes and this series is the proof! It only seems to get better and I can’t wait until the third book is released. What’ll happen next with these girls, is what I need to know! So much happened in this book and I’m ready to find out whats going to happen. Love this series and I think its a MUST READ pick up the first two books now!

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THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE By Mackenzi Lee

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE By Mackenzi LeeThe Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 6/27/17
Genres: Action & Adventure, Historical, LGBT, Mystery & Detective, Young Adult
Pages: 528
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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ReviewedbyDani

A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi LeeSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s.

Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Short and Sweet

Monty and his best friend Percy are going on a grand tour of Europe, and they plan on having the time of their lives. Even with his younger sister, Felicity coming along, Monty won’t let it ruin his fun. But things get crazy when the group encounters an ancient artifact, highwaymen, and pirates.

Characters

Henry “Monty” Montague: Our main character who grew a lot over the course of the book. Monty has the most engaging voice, he’s entertaining and sassy. He got the group into the mess they were in by trying to get even with someone. Monty had the problem of saying things without thinking and often came to regret it, but his friends called him out on it. He was a flawed character but that’s whats great about him because over the course of the book he learned from his mistakes.

Percy: Monty’s best friend and our voice of reason. Percy is also a person a color which I found interesting, because of course during the time that this book takes place it makes travel for the grand tour a bit harder because certain places won’t allow him to stay. Percy also struggles in this book because throughout the course of his friendship with Monty he has always supported him and now Percy has his own demons to fight and wonders if Monty can support him.

Felicity: Monty’s younger sister and the brains of the group. Felicity’s strength and knowledge saved the group from dangerous situations. I was rooting for her throughout the book she had goals and I felt bad that during that time girls her age didn’t have many choices.

Romance

Monty has liked Percy for a while, and thinks the grand tour will be the perfect time to express how he feels. But things don’t work well mainly because Percy seems more annoyed with Monty than smitten. It seemed like Monty always said or did the wrong thing that ended up pushing Percy away.

My Thoughts

~ This isn’t an ordinary grand tour of Europe, like it was expected to be. Mayhem begins when the group reaches their first stop in Paris. This leads them to places that are off of their original course.

~ In Paris, Monty steals an artifact that leads to the group being attacked by highwaymen, hiding in a small town, going to Barcelona, meeting pirates, and trying to find something on an island that is sinking.

~ My favorite part of the book was the whole mystery surrounding the artifact and what it does. The artifact was the whole reason the group had to go off course so I was eager to find out what it could do.

~ What I loved the most about this book was how fast paced it was. From the very beginning we embark on a journey with these characters.

~ In each city we meet different characters and all of them add to the story in their own way. My favorite characters were the pirates I loved learning more about them and their ultimate goal.

~ I felt like I was with the trio of characters and I was worried about their well-being, they were in some dangerous positions and on the run from some people who wanted them dead.

Overall

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a must read! Everything about it is amazing, the characters, the action and adventure, the diversity, and of course the romance. The ending was great and everything was wrapped up nicely. Monty, Percy, and Felicity are a set of characters I won’t forget. This is hands down one of my favorite reads of 2017, and I encourage everyone to pick it up and read it!

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