Book Talk: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich // My Halloween Read

Book Talk: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich // My Halloween ReadThe Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Published by Little Brown Books For Young Readers on September 2015
Genres: YA Horror, YA Mystery, YA Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: BEA

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



I don’t want to say too much but it is about: a reopened case about a suspicious fire at a school 20 years prior, a discovered diary that talks about the tragic night , a girl who claims she really is two people (Carly who lives in the day, Kaitlyn who lives at night), the people who believe her and the people who don’t,  a disappearance and a sinister dark house — all told by a mishmash of diary entries, police interview transcripts, video transcripts, notes and more!


a4Wow, I could NOT put it down. Reminded me of how I loved horror and stuff like this as a teen. Everything was so interesting to me and the mystery thrilled me, I loved the format and, while not scary, the creepy & sinister vibe was totally rocking my world. And then things at the ending happened (the ending itself + some parts really started dragging) and I don’t know how I feel it. I’ll get to that in a spoiler section further below but first we will get to the good.

Here’s what kept me reading on the edge of my seat:

1. The format: I love interesting and unique storytelling and especially when it integrates visual stuff. The book was told in diary entries, police reports, transcripts of video footage, interviews with various characters with the police. The diary entries definitely added to how I felt reading the story because we are in Kaitlyn’s head and I felt just as paranoid and trapped as her.  Having all these things helped put me in the story as if I were trying to figure out the mystery myself. I was pouring over all the evidence.


2. The way the mystery kept me flip-flopping what I thought was going on the whole time: So the main character Carly? For as long as she can remember she has had another soul in her, named Kaitlyn, and Carly exists in the day and then at night they switch and Kaitlyn lives. So, as a reader, it’s like okay — does she have this dissociative disorder in which she her mind has created this alter ego like her therapist thinks plus maybe some other underlying mental disorders? Or is there something evil going on inside her? Is everything she says real? Is it not? The unreliability of Kaitlyn/Carly adds to the flip-flopping I did plus some of the other characters seemed a bit unreliable as well. Is it all in her head or is something happening? Because if everything was really true than WOWSER some truly sinister stuff. Did she have the disorder or not? What happened to make her create Kaitlyn and why has she said she was always there? THERE WAS JUST SO MUCH TO COMB THROUGH WITH THIS MYSTERY. I kept doubting my instincts. I’d start to believe something but then doubt it all.


So now it’s time to talk about where some things fell apart for me but it’s all spoilers soooo:

View Spoiler »



factors+ the plot, the storytelling, how it kept me engaged & on the edge of my seat
–  the ending, romance

Re-readability: No, though I’d be tempted to reread the beginning to see if anything makes more sense to fill in some holes
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No

a5people who like interesting storytelling, fans of horror/psychological thriller type books, people who like a good mindf*ck

a8The Dead House was just what I needed for my Halloween reading — creepy, dark and sinister (wish it had been a little scarier) and unique storytelling that really hooked me and made me eager to put together the pieces from the diary entries, video transcripts, interviews and police reports. A compelling book but I’m still really unsure about how I feel about the ending which definitely was a minor buzzkill to my overall feelings toward the book.

review-on-post-itThe Dead House


a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?



The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Book Talk: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnisA Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Published by Katherine Tegan on October 6, 2015
Genres: YA Historical Fiction, YA Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



With a pregnant belly and family secrets buried in the depths of her mind, Grace Mae finds herself in an insane asylum in the late 1800’s. She keeps silent but her sharp mind is always alert. When she has a violent outburst she finds herself locked away in the darkest depths of the asylum next to a man who becomes her ally, as he can tell she’s a great mind, and helps her escape with a doctor who is dabbling in criminal psychology. They flee to an asylum in Ohio where they embark on their work and Grace finds friendship and strength in this new home of hers.

a2PERFECT FIRST HALLOWEEN-ESQE READ! Also, yesssss to loving another Mindy McGinnis book!!

a4I loved Mindy McGinnis’s Not A Drop To Drink so I was SO here for this book about something so completely different than that one…and I have to say I’m just so ready to read ANYTHING Mindy writes after experiencing both of these stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and could not put it down. It was a PERFECT October/Halloween read for those who don’t want scary but like a little mystery and an atmospheric setting that is equal parts dark/brutal (the mystery, Grace’s family secret, the conditions at the insane asylum) as it is heart-warming (Grace’s friends).

Specifically what I enjoyed:

  • Blend of historical fiction and mystery: I love historical fiction so I was definitely excited for this setting in the late 1800’s in Boston and small town Ohio. I hadn’t really read the blurb because I knew Mindy McGinnis + insane asylums + historical fiction was all I needed to know so I was pleasantly surprised by the thread of mystery in this one. Thornhollow reminds me of a quirky Sherlock-esque kind of character and I was so interested in their search for the killer and their delving into how the murderous mind works. I don’t want to say much but OH MAN for how the mystery ended up…not only who did it but how it all works out. GAH.
  • Insane asylum setting: Wow did Mindy McGinnis do a phenomenal job with the setting. I could picture these asylums — the cold, dark cells and the sounds of the patients. It was chilling. I just am so thankful to not have been alive in a time where it was so easy to throw women in these places for any reason that a man could say and it is their word vs the woman’s. We see two different asylums, the one from before she escapes and the one she and Thornhollow head to,  and they were pretty different from each other and I’m so glad that the bulk was spent in the more ethical asylum because the Boston asylum and their practices were just awful and I couldn’t handle Grace being there any longer.

[Keep Reading]

3 May/June Releases I Read

Summer has been busy and my attention span has been that of a gnat to actually sit down and write a ton of book talk type stuff. So mini review time for some books that were released in May and June that I just really would like to talk about sooner rather than later.

Made You Up Francesca Zappia

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

About In A Sentence (ish): Alex is starting a new school her senior year after an incident that got her kicked out of her last school. She wants to make it through the year with no trouble which is hard considering she has schizophrenia — something she tries to keep to herself and she’s trying to keep in check until she meets a boy who looks like someone from her hallucinations.

Thoughts: This one was really interesting as the main character is a little bit unreliable to us as readers. She has schizophrenia so as things are happening within the story you are constantly wondering if it is real or not real. I really loved Alex and how tough she was. I could feel how frustrating it must be for her to be unable to always decipher reality from delusion but I loved the ferocity in which she lived in spite of that and how she really tried to take control of it in her own way. I loved her so much and my heart broke for her in those moments where she was so confused no matter how much she tried to manage it. There’s a pretty great cast of characters in general — like Miles, the love interest — and I just couldn’t put it down because of my desire for Alex to persevere and to find out what is real/not real especially with some conspiracies. There is a moment, a thing that I guessed and ultimately turned out to be true, and the realization of that moment just broke me down. Made You Up was just a very fantastic read that I recommend. I can’t say how accurate its portrayal of schizophrenia is but, to me, I found Alex’s schizophrenia to feel so real and like while a big part of her…it didn’t at all DEFINE her.



The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

The Devil You Know By Trish Doller

About (in a sentence-ish): Cadie has spent a lot of her time going to school, working and taking care of her dad and sister so when she has a chance for adventure with two boys she meets at a campfire she takes it. All is fun until it’s not because one of the boys might not be what he seems.

Thoughts: This is the saddest thing — to not mark a new book by a favorite author as a new favorite book — which is not to say I didn’t like it. I loved Trish’s first two books but I didn’t LOVE this the way I loved them. I think it’s more of a “me” issue and my deal with mystery/thriller/suspense kind of books. Unless I’m shocked or the mystery is super elaborate or all sorts of mindf*ckery, it never gets like super high ratings. If I completely guess it without any wavering or found it to be obvious, no matter how objectively good the book is (which I can still enjoy those parts), I have a hard time rating it high because it kills some of the enjoyment for me. While it got super creepy and twisted at times, I didn’t find it to be all that mysterious or hard to crack what was going on. I didn’t feel the suspense or exhilaration to because I was certain what was going on  even though I DID fly through this book. I just kept waiting for something to happen to make me be like WOW OKAY but in the suspense/thriller department it didn’t.  But what it didn’t do for me there,  there was so much GOOD. It had Trish Doller’s signature writing which is always so fantastic and a main character who is just SO complex plus she owned her sexuality and her life choices which I loved. I loved reading about her family dynamics and could feel the weight on her shoulders so I just so understood her desire to just be free and a bit reckless when she gets the chance to do something that ignites the desires of her heart that have been kind of locked away. I’m sad I can’t give this higher marks but it just didn’t make me fall in love like her other books Something Like Normal and Where The Stars Still Shine.  All the things I found great about it are so typical of those books…I think it just comes down to the genre being a hard one for me.




 A Sense of the Infinite Hilary T. Smith

A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith

About In A Sentence-ish: Annabeth and Noe have been best friends for years and even have planned their future endeavors together until Noe starts dating a guy and their friendship shows signs of drifting apart at a time when Annabeth needs Noe because her personal life is complicated and doesn’t know what to do without her.

Thoughts: What a great and complicated book about friendship! I’m all about books that have really strong friendships but I also really love ones that explore that fragile nature of friendship and those friendships that slowly start to crumble as two people go in different directions life-wise but still want to hold on for whatever reasons. It was such a great portrait of a friendship breakup, especially a really like exclusively close bff duo, and Annabeth’s story was really compelling to me especially with her family dynamics and secrets. Plus Hilary T. Smith’s beautiful prose strikes again! I loved Wild Awake and I could tell she was a talented writer, and while very different kind of style compared to Wild Awake, it’s equally as stunning. I will probably write a whole post devoted to all the things this book brought up re: friendship soon!! It’s a quieter contemporary YA but it explores a lot of things very poignantly.








Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Book Talk: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Book Talk: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren SumaThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on March 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: For Review

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



Told in alternating points of view we meet two girls whose only connection is a girl named Orianna and mysteries that surround them. Violet is a talented dancer from a good family who is well on her way to pursuing her dreams. Amber is a girl who has been locked away in an all girl’s correctional facility for many years despite the innocence she maintains. Amber hopes for justice and Violet hopes for nothing to get in the way of what she’s earned but is something else already set in motion?




OKAY. So this was an interesting experience, guys! I’m LOVING LOVING LOVING the book. I’m TENSELY reading…just turning the pages as fast as my brain can keep up with because things are getting CRAAAAZY UP IN THIS BOOK. And then the ending happened. I didn’t get it. I literally did not understand what happened. So I reread the THING that happens that confused me. STILL DIDN’T UNDERSTAND. So I reread again because maybe the sun from the beach I was reading on affected me. NOPE. NO COMPRENDO. MY BRAIN STILL HURTS. So I googled “PLEASE SOMEBODY EXPLAIN THE ENDING OF THE WALLS AROUND US.” Google was actually real helpful. Sort of. I found two different explanations of the ending. I think the last one made more sense and I THINK is actually what happened. If what I read is what actually happened then it was an awesome ending and such a wonderfully strange & unique book!

I think the only downfall to this book is truly is that I didn’t understand what happened at the end — I don’t know if it was my brain or if the ending was legit kind of confusing. I was so amped about it from page one and then I really struggled with the ending. But before that there was a whole lot of things that were keeping me turning those pages.

I loved the writing — it was so fantastic and had this haunting and atmospheric quality to it that could cause the hair to stand on your arms. Half of the setting is in this correctional facility for girls and she just completely transported me into this place and this look into an all girls juvenile detention center and the effects of being there on the girls. It’s not a setting I think I’ve ever read so I was glued to the book in that way. I loved seeing how the inmates interacted and what life is like day to day but also this exploration of justice and freedom and how unfair sometimes the justice system is if you aren’t as privileged as someone else.

There was this underlying mystery and these undertones that constantly made you feel like something wasn’t QUITE right. It made it such a page-turner in addition to the way she completely immersed you into the setting. Twisty in all the right places, tension that feels palpable. I think a lot of this is due to the two narrators — Amber and Violet — because you aren’t quite sure if you can trust them. Are they guilty? Are they innocent? As you try to wade through the lies and the truths you get so tangled into both of their stories. But then we have this other character, Ori, who we don’t hear from but we know her as Violet’s best friend and Amber’s new roommate and slowly we get pieces as to why she ends up there.



factors+ writing, plot, page-turning abilities, uniqueness, setting
–  the fact I didn’t understand quite what happened at the ending at all

Re-readability: I’m tempted because I kind of like reading twisty books again after I know things
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Because it’s not a favorite, probably not but I sure hope my library has a copy of it because it is FANTASTIC.

a5lots of people! Readers who are looking for something truly unique, readers who love a little mystery

a8This book truly was on a LOVE level until the ending. I’m fine with having to really think about an ending but I get really frustrated when I can’t understand what happened so it honestly left a bad taste in my mouth even after how fabulous this book had been before that. When I read someone’s explanation I was back to OH MY GOSH WOWWW but ultimately having to google to understand the ending affected my overall feelings. Still very much liked it but I have to be honest about how the ending left me.

review-on-post-itThe Walls ARound Us review


a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
If you did read it (and let’s mark spoilers in the comments), PLEASE CAN WE DISCUSS!! PLEASE!!



The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

Book Talk: Liars, Inc. by Paula StokesLiars, Inc. by Paula Stokes
Published by HarperTeen on April 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: For Review

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



Max, his best friend Preston and his girlfriend Parvarti start this business (they call it Liars, Inc) of selling forged permission slips and tests and excuse notes to their classmates. Basically they provide students with cover stories and such. Business is going great and they are making lots of money until Preston asks Max for a cover story of his own to go meet a girl he met online and then nobody hears from him. Soon the police are looking for him and Max seems to be suspect #1.

a2HMM why don’t I read more mysteries?


I don’t often read a lot of mysteries but I do like them! Every time after I read one I wonder why I don’t read more of them. I love being kept on the edge of my seat and constantly guessing who did it or what is going on. It’s so fun! (I also really loved Nancy Drew and Clue as a kid). Liars, Inc. definitely kept me on my toes with its twists and turns. I guessed right quite a bit before it was revealed but I was impressed with the way the clues were laid out and loved waiting to see if my suspicions were right. It was definitely an explosive ending.

I seriously could not stop reading it. Paula Stokes hooked me from the beginning — like the first page which is always a welcome feeling to just feel like you are going headfirst right into the tangly web. And after that strong start I was just devouring it because I had to know what was going on. The circumstances were so fishy around Preston’s disappearance and it was so frustrating that it looked like Max was being framed. Every time something made him look like suspect #1 I was like just like NO NO NO. This story was full of tangled webs and lies. LOTS OF LIES. Lies that started everything, lies that keep it all going.

There was a romance in this book. It was important to the story but I can’t say I really had many feelings either way towards it. I was more interested in the twists and the turn which the romance did factor into it in ways.

Overall, I enjoyed the ride and the characters though, I feel like, because I’m such a character-driven reader that I never fall in love with mysteries or their characters as much as I do other kinds of books. That’s not to say in SOME mysteries I don’t but that always seems to be my deal with most. I think? But sometimes I also read mysteries for different reasons than I read other genres so that’s okay? Anyways, I will say I thought the characters to be very well written compared to a lot mysteries I read so YAY.


factors+ page-turning qualities, twists & turns, interesting plot
–  didn’t completely blow me away like I need to rate a mystery higher (I need complete mindfuckery for that)

Re-readability: No
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No, not personally because it’s not a favorite or one I would re-read. I tend to borrow rather than buy mysteries.

a5YA readers who like mysteries, people wanting a quick read that will be HARD to put down, readers who are newer to mysteries (I think if you read A LOT of them it’s not WOW enough to be honest), fans of Dangerous Girls looking for more like that (though I rated DG higher for sure)

a8Liars, Inc was a twisty, turny mystery that I gobbled right up. Intriguing premise and characters and full of tangled webs and lies. Reminded me how much I love reading mysteries!


Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

Did you guess what was going on (if talking spoilers, which I would LOVE to do with you, please mark them in the comments)?

What did you think of the whole Max and Parvarti situation?

Do you have any recs for good YA mysteries? The more crazy and twisty the better!



The Perpetual Page-Turner

A January & February Release I Enjoyed!

I’ve got two mini reviews for you today! Just trying to get caught up — that ever so elusive achievement for me!


Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall


The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

Amazon // Goodreads
Published: January 2015
Received a copy for review from the publisher. This is no way influenced the opinions shared.

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: One day Avery think she is a semi-normal teenager and the next she’s being whisked away to Paris and told she has a secret, powerful family who has had a hand in a lot of the world’s history. And then she finds out that she might just be part of the key to decoding an ancient prophecy that has alluded people which makes her a pawn for the people who want to use her to figure out this mystery and also those who want her dead because of the power she could hold.

This one was fun and had me racing through the pages as the stakes kept getting higher and the conspiracies kept getting more layered. I’d heard it described as a YA DaVinci Code (also reminded me of National Treasure) and I can see that totally! You’ve got to suspend some disbelief obviously and forgive Avery for things, as a reader, you see pretty clearly (I totally guessed some things or called bad decisions) but it didn’t detract from my experience. I loved getting to know this dangerous and powerful family that Avery discovers that she has and seeing how lavish their lifestyle is and the secret hand they have in a lot of the world’s history (so much historical goodness). It was exciting and truly mysterious as danger seemed to lurk at every corner and plots to use Avery were a plenty. The only things I didn’t love: the romance (I don’t really feel it in any REAL way) and also I just struggled with the characterization not being as strong as I typically like. I will be continuing on with this series because I love a good, fast paced conspiracy thriller and I’m so interested in decoding this mystery right along with them (hopefully with even more whisking away to foreign countries)! Super entertaining!





My Heart & Other Black Holes

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Amazon// Goodreads
Published: February 10, 2015
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way influenced the opinions shared.

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: The main character has spent much of her life plotting her suicide because she doesn’t want to end up like her father — a man who committed a violent crime that has made her a pariah amongst her peers. She realizes that she won’t carry it out on her own so she finds a website that helps you find a suicide partner which leads her to Roman — a boy so haunted by a tragedy in his family.

I named this as one of my favorite 2015 books I read in 2014 so you may have already seen how much I loved this one! This one was heavy and super emotional but also so full of life and hope despite the sadness crying out from the pages. Reading it made me feel the weight of all the books I own (a lot) on my chest. The two main characters both have some awful things that have happened to them and they feel the burden is just too much and that transferred on to me as a reader.  It’s so hard to read as they plot their mutual suicide and, as the countdown until the day it is supposed to happen, you just so desperately want them to find that one shred of hope to turn back from the plan especially as they start to truly form a bond. Warga deftly explores depression and suicide in a way that just haunts you. I really loved Aysel’s voice — it was just so REAL and honest and her personality was just so vibrant even amongst all the darkness she felt. *kind of spoilery* I was nervous when this book started going into romance territory because I was like “NO. THIS IS SO GOOD PLEASE DON’T SCREW THIS UP” but I thought Warga handled it pretty delicately and realistically and rather than handing us this “LOVE CURES ALL” story I think it was more that Roman became this mirror to which Aysel suddenly could see herself more clearly. Would I honestly have preferred it just to be a friendship? Yep. As a personal thing I think it could have shown it just as clearly how important their connection was in how it sparked some more life-affirming thoughts within them. *end spoiler* Hauntingly beautiful this one was and I dog-earred so many pages because, man, Jasmine Warga can write!






Have you read either of these? I’d love to know what YOU thought!! If you haven’t read them, do you think they are something you are interested in?

Monday Mini-Reviews…AKA Summer Time Makes Jamie LAAAAZY.

I’ve got quite a backlog of books to talk about so I figured I’d do mini-reviews for 3 books I’ve read this summer! It’s hard to get my act together in the summer so this seemed like a good idea to me!


A Really Awesome Mess Trish Cook

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook & Brendan Halpin
July 23, 2013 – Egmont USA
I received this for review consideration — this in no way influenced my opinion.

I LIKED this one in but I expected to love it MORE than I did. I tend to love books that feature unlikely friendships/rag-tag group of people who are kind of forced to come together. I loved the circumstances in which these teens had to come together — being sent to this boarding school that deal with “issues” like suicide, anger, eating disorders, etc. I enjoyed getting to know the main characters and seeing them work through their issues while learning to lean on each other. It was SUPER funny and I loved some of the banter in this group that was thrown together because of a class in which they needed to learn to work together/depend on each other to get something they wanted. There were some emotional moments in their journey but it didn’t quite come altogether for me where I really felt super invested. I liked what it was but it needed more to be GREAT for me and really leave its mark. (Goodreads // Amazon)




Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn
June 24, 2014 — St. Martin’s Griffin
I received this for review consideration — this in no way impacted my opinions.

This is one where I must have completely missed something because everyone told me how amazing it was and how SHOCKING it was. And not a thing shocked me. I guessed everything. And I just wasn’t feeling it. Despite my mixed feelings, I was really impressed with the writing and how Stephanie was able to really reel you in with this sense of mystery about what Jamie’s sister did and the truth about their past. It was very controlled and precise and I loved how truly she was able to slowly make you feel like something sinister or not right was going on….all the way to the very last page. However, despite all that, it all seemed obvious to me and I could have lived with that had I not been kind of bored in a way. So in the end I kept thinking MAN I was hoping to be blown away but I sadly wasn’t. I’m definitely going to give Charm & Strange a try but this one sadly didn’t do much for me. I wanted to be SHOCKED but I was sadly not and altogether kind of bored despite her writing and the impressive way she could spin this mystery and make this an interesting psychological thriller-ish novel. (Goodreads // Amazon)





A Girl Called Fearless Catherine Lanka

A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka
May 6, 2014 — St. Martin’s Griffin
I received this for review consideration — this in no way influenced my opinions.

MAN, I’m conflicted with this one. I had a WHOLE review written about it trying to explain my crazy feelings but in the end I scrapped it because it was just too confusing. About a week after I wrote it I came across THIS review that seriously took the jumble that was my brain and SO ACCURATELY described all that I was mixed on which kind of prompted me to scrap my own rambling thoughts so go read that if you are curious. I LOVED the premise of this one (scary because it was so plausible in a way) and that it was a standalone dystopian. I was hooked from the start because the society was so fascinating and unique plus it really brought a lot to the table in terms of talking about gender and power.  There was SO MUCH GOOD in this one but then it fell apart in ways as it went on and I wanted MORE from it — in how I felt towards it and some pivotal areas when it came to building this world that had all the makings to make this an AMAZING book. I read it very quickly and kept turning the pages especially as the danger heightened but I finished being like, “Sigh I wish I could have known this” or “I don’t get quite get this or “I wish this part would have given more explanation to build a stronger world for me.”  (Goodreads // Amazon)




Have you read any of these? Interested in any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read them!!

Book Talk: Far From You by Tess Sharpe

Book Talk: Far From You by Tess SharpeFar From You by Tess Sharpe
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 8, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: For Review

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!





book synopsis

When Sophie’s best friend, Mina, is murdered everyone blames her. Why? Because she used to pop pills after a bad accident and everyone thinks that it was a drug deal gone wrong no matter how much Sophie swears she’s clean. Sophie knows what happened that night —  that Mina’s murder was NOT random or a drug deal gone wrong. Her parents send her to rehab and when Sophie returns she comes faces the same distrust, the secrets she and Mina shared and this burning desire to solve the mystery of Mina’s death because she KNOWS as killer is still roaming free and that she has to bring everything to light.

good books to read

Oh man, Far From You! It’s no secret this one was one of my most anticipated debuts of 2014 and it was even MORE than I was expecting — one of the best debuts of 2014. It was one of those mystery type reads that balances that element so well with this genuine characterization that really had my gut twisted. It managed to be and do a lot of things really, really well!

1. Far From You was really intense: Sophie’s past is rough, friends. As the summary tells, she gets in a car accident that almost kills her and she ends up on pain meds and then she ends up really hooked on them. She gets clean, comes back and then shortly after her best friend gets murdered right in front of her and everyone thinks it is because it was a drug deal gone wrong and they blame her. So THEN Sophie’s parents send her to rehab because they didn’t believe her. Man, Sophie’s pain became my pain in this — the grief of losing Mina, the unanswered questions of their complicated relationship, the hurt of nobody believing her and the fact that she knows Mina’s murder was NOT random and fighting that desire to use pain meds. It was quite an intense, absorbing read. Each and every thread was just handled really well and packed quite a punch and then the action-y bits were intense when the reveal happens and AH TAKE SOME BETA BLOCKERS BEFORE READING. (please do not really consider that as medical advice, k?)

2. I loved the back and forth of the past and the present to learn more about Sophie and Mina: Their relationship was JUST as compelling as the mystery and I loved seeing the bits and pieces of their friendship through the years and in relation to these big events in Sophie’s life. The flow and transition was done really well between them and really added all these dimensions to them individually and as friends. Their relationship was just so complicated and messy and I could feel the hurts and the betrayals and the confusion SO much — all tied together with this deep love for one another. God, my heart ached throughout this whole book when it came to these two. Their relationship was one of the most raw and memorable ones in recent history for me and it made me weep a little. I also loved how Mina’s brother factored into everything and how absolutely complicated his relationship with Sophie was. My heart was torn for Sophie but the heart wants what the heart wants.

3. What a thrilling and page-turning mystery that kept me guessing: I’m that person who ALWAYS guesses the baddie or the twist. ALWAYS. It annoys me that I do this. I actually didn’t figure it out until like a couple of pages before the reveal and even then I was like HMMM COULD IT BE?! The mystery was so interesting because nobody else but Sophie is even looking at it like a true mystery. Everyone else thinks it is this random drug deal related shooting. But Sophie knows, based on the interaction before she gets knocked out, that this person was TARGETING Mina and Sophie has to figure out WHY. So Sophie starts sleuthing like one does, while dealing with the guilt daggers that everyone is throwing her way, and starts to trace back what Mina wanted from the person she thought she was meeting in the woods. And honestly it’s kind of like a mystery withing in a mystery and that just delighted me to no end.

4. Sophie is a damn well written character: You know those characters that you swear are just going to pop out of the book when you are reading? YEP. Sophie. There’s so much to her — all these layers you could just keep peeling back and back. A lot of times with mysteries and thriller-y type books, I find that I don’t find those I FEEL THEIR SOUL sorts of characters and they are wibbly wobbly almost real characters but not Sophie. I appreciated the care in which Tess Sharpe lets us get to know Sophie and her story — especially when it comes to her sexuality. She’s got some tough issues — a murdered best friend, a drug habit that she has to work at every day, she’s got a limp as a forever reminder of her car accident — but I always could feel Sophie not ever being defined by those things and I really felt like, if we got to see Sophie grow up, she was going to kick life’s ass because she already was strong.


book reviews


Far From You by Tess Sharpe is one of the best 2014 debuts out there! It had this compelling & very emotional mystery element to it — Mina’s murder + the fact nobody but Sophie knows that it was NOT a random murder — that completely knocked me off my game as a person who always guesses early on but the strength in this story is the characterization — something that makes me so, so happy because I need characters who live and breathe. Sophie is as real as they can get and Sophie and Mina’s relationship has this ability to make my heart ache even weeks later. It’s all so complicated and confusing and tender and GOD I COULD FEEL IT ALL. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on whatever Tess Sharpe is up to next!


short book reviewFar From You by Tess Sharpe


Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it? Did you guess who it was??

The Perpetual Page-Turner


Find Me by Romily Bernard | Book Review

Find Me by Romily Bernard | Book ReviewFind Me by Romily Bernard
Published by HarperTeen on September 24, 2013
Genres: YA Mystery, YA Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: For Review

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!





After their mother committed suicide and their criminal father fled to allude the police, Wick and her younger sister Lily have been placed in foster care and are trying to leave their life behind. The only thing is that it keeps catching up with them and Wick’s hacking skills don’t help keeping them out of danger. She tries to lay low with it until she receives the diary of a former childhood friend on her doorstep and then she finds out at school that Tessa is dead — a suicide. The Post It with the diary says “Find Me” but Wick doesn’t want to get involved until she finds out something that threatens someone she loves and knows she has to do whatever it takes.

Find Me by Romily Bernard was quite the page-turning thriller and I think that was the type of read I needed to get me out of my weird reading slump I mentioned I was in where I was putting down all sorts of books after 1 or 2 pages.  But here’s the thing, the strong start that kept me panicky and flying through it slowly dissipated for me a little more than the halfway mark. I was feeling super bummed and kept me at a point where I couldn’t say this was the phenomenal read I saw it shaping up to me — just a good one. Still positive feelings toward it — I liked it– but I became a little disappointed by the end.

Find Me opened up real strong for me and really progressed at a rapid pace. We learn about her past and find out along with Wick about the suicide of her old friend, Tessa, along with diary that finds its way to Wick. As the contents inside are revealed I couldn’t stop turning the pages and HAD to know what happened to Tessa and who the older creeper was she had a relationship with that made her commit suicide — especially when we find out who his next target is. I was ready for Wick, who is pretty kickass & a hacker, to start using those skills and find this mega creep. I was ready to get my Nancy Drew/Veronica Mars on with her!

I was flying through this book and it had that perfect amount of mystery to keep you going and thinking up all sorts of theories. But then about half way (or a little more than halfway) it became really obvious where this was heading to me as I started to eliminate people logically and think about certain things. What I was really hoping was that I was WRONG about who it was or that some new suspects would be introduced or a twist or something to at least trick me a little bit or make me doubt myself. Instead, it played out exactly how I thought it would so when the big reveal happened it was a bit luckluster for me and so the pursuit and resolution weren’t as “OMG AH WHAT IS GOING ON??” for me. I just needed a little bit more I think — there was only a certain amount of people and connections that could possibly be introduced. There was nothing too shocking for me. But that’s my dilemma when it comes to these types of books. I AM good at guessing so was it really just the book and the way it was plotted or should I be pursing a career in detective work instead??

Despite the way I thought the story went, I still liked other aspects of it. I really loved Wick and Lily and loved the strong sense of family loyalty between them and how each girl felt about their new family with their past still lingering. There was also an interesting thread in the story that had to do with Wick and Lily’s real dad and showed a lot of their past and you could just see how this transition into a new life would be hard. Wick was a great character and definitely not cookie cutter for me. She was quite sassy sometimes, loved her sister fiercely and was a hacker! I will say, I’m probably in the minority, but I didn’t LOVE the romance in this one but did appreciate that she didn’t become some weak and feeble girl when a boy came in the picture.

Find Me by Romily Bernard definitely was the page-turner I needed to snap me out of my reading slump because it immediately had this MUST FIND OUT mystery element to it. However, it became really predictable in the way it was plotted out, for me, so then the big reveal seemed lackluster because I had ruled out the other possibilities pretty easily. No doubt I enjoyed most of the book but for me to be anywhere other than “just liked it” it would have had to deliver something else that blew my mind. Luckily there were great characters and some familial threads that gave some more meat to this story as well.

Recommendation: If you are one who has read a lot of thrillers, you might end up predicting it early on like I did because there wasn’t much else that made sense and no other possible twists thrown out. If you don’t really pick up thrillers often, I absolutely recommend this because it’s such a page-turner and maybe you won’t read it the same way I did!

Find Me by Romily Bernard review


Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Did you like it more/less than I did? Did you guess who it was?? Or am I just the boring person who apparently guesses everything all the time?? GRR. On that note, does your ability to predict a book effect your enjoyment of a book? I definitely still enjoyed this but the fact it didn’t surprise me at all made it on an OMG MUST READ. But is that MY great guessing skills or the book’s fault? SIGH. What are some thrillers that kept YOU guessing?


The Rules For Disappearing by Ashley Elston | Book Review

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston cover & reviewBook Title/Author: The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
: Disney-Hyperion – May 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA – Mystery
Series: The ending seems  to leave it open that it could be one (and I see a #2 on Goodreads) but I think it could also stand alone.
Other Books From Author: None — debut!

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received this from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!



Meg and her family have been put into the Witness Protection Program and have been bounced around to new towns and given new identities six different times. Meg doesn’t what her dad did to land them  in the program and her parents refuse to speak about it. Meg sees her family falling apart — her mom is drinking a lot, her dad is keeping something and look stressed all the time and her little sister is so fragile and is barely speaking — and she knows she has to figure out why they are in this situation to save her family and to stop all the tiring identity changes. She’s sick of making relationships only to have to leave so she enters this new school keeping a low profile and vowing not to make any friends — until she meets Ethan, the cute farm boy, whose curiosity could be dangerous for them both.

I really enjoyed The Rules For Disappearing though the first half was significantly a better experience for me in many ways. I didn’t fall in LOVE with this book like so many did but it was a pretty good read for me that and the MOST PERFECT gym book! It was a fun blend of mystery, romance, action, great character development and some nice familial aspects that I don’t often see.

The premise, right off the bat, drew me in as it was wholly unique with the main character and her family being in the Witness Protection Program. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of the WPP and Ashley Elston definitely drew me in with the main character’s experiences of being moved around and having new identities all the time. The majority of The Rules of Disappearing takes place in the latest town but I loved the way we learn about the prior moves and how, at this point, she’s just so weary of it all. You really see why she is so hardened now when she arrives in this new town and I really felt for her and how her life was now totally different than it ever was. I felt for her especially since it seemed like the rest of her family was taking all of this even worse than she was and I was drawn into how all of this moving and changing of identities could wreak havoc on a family. I thought Ashley Elston really excelled in creating a believable voice and exploring how this experience might really mess a family up –especially with so many secrets and mystery around WHY they are in this situation.

The mystery element of this book was what made it the most perfect gym read because I just wanted to keep finding out MORE of what happened that put them in this Witness Protection Program and her dad was so hellbent on not telling her that it drove me just as crazy as Meg. It was unraveled at what I found to be a good pace and I was surprised once we finally found out the event that was the catalyst for everything. I figured out “the twist”  for sure because of how fixated Meg was on it but the actual event was surprising to me but that’s where it kind of got EH for me as things start being remembered and Meg decides to take matters into her own hand.

Things that prevented this from going beyond a GOOD read to that next level? I thought the romantical element started out  interesting — she was so cold to him because she knew they’d probably have to uproot again and he kept annoying her and trying to find out more. I thought their exchanges were fun and playful but then as the romance progressed it just fell flat for me. The love interest is by all standards swoonworthy and I really adored Ethan but it just really felt like really intense so soon and the things that I loved about Meg just seemed to get lost inside of this romance. There was just so much of her doing things wrong and him always coming in to save the day and I just thought the first part of the book was better in terms of their relationship dynamic. I just didn’t feel anything after the halfway mark when  I was LOVING their exchanges in the beginning.

The second part of the book gets increasingly action packed and I had a love/hate relationship with it. It was good because it kept up this page-turning tempo that held my attention until the very end but pretty much I had to suspend my disbelief VERY often. I mean,  I know it’s fiction but just the way everything went down I started to get eyerolly about certain things and it distracted me from the things I LOVED about this book — the character development, the familial dynamics, etc.

The Rules For Disappearing was a book that I enjoyed but ultimately didn’t finish as strong for me. It made a great gym read for me because of the mystery and the building suspense. I was invested in Meg and her family and finding out the reasons for why they were thrust into the Witness Protection Program but as the why’s started being revealed I felt conflicted about where it went. On one hand, I flew through it but, on the other hand, I just thought it missed the mark as it progressed. I loved the character development and the unique premise and thought it was a breeze to read and quite fun. It never went anywhere past the “good” mark for me but overall an enjoyable read.


The rules for dissappearing ashley elston

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of it?  If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? I’m probably in the minority on the love story huh? I mean,  I did LOVE Ethan but I just loved it more in the beginning than the end. Did you guess the twist? Have you read any other stories with the Witness Protection Program plot?


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