Review: Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2) by Dahlia Adler

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Book Title: Under the Lights
Author: Dahlia Adler
Published Date: June 30th, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Genre: YA LGBT
Series: Book 2 in Daylight Falls series
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents’ wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show,Daylight Falls … opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he’s trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he’s in the spotlight—on everyone’s terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.

Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents’ disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she’s painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van’s life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she’ll have to choose between the one thing she’s always loved … and the person she never imagined she could.

Disclaimer: I received this book as an e-ARC from Spencer Hill Contemporary via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review
I don’t know why it took me so long to read this book. If someone wants to figure that out for me, that’d be awesome. This book was utter perfection. Not only was the romance swoon worthy and sexy, but the friendships in here were absolutely awesome as well. Not to mention the diversity.

Josh was a royal pain in the ass initially. He drove me batcrap insane, but at the same time, he’d have me laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. He had the combination of humor and douche-canoe down pat. At the same time, I loved the friendship that developed between him and Vanessa. We don’t see enough opposite sex friendships in books and that really bugs me. It is possible for a girl & a guy to be friends and I really hate the implication that men & women cannot be friends without there being a ulterior motive.

Vanessa is involved with a boy named Zander. This boy wants things that Vanessa doesn’t want. He wants her to focus on him, and the future with him. He wants that future to include a purity pledge. That’s not what Vanessa really wants and she struggles with that and what that means. He is also intimidated by Josh, yes crude, rude pain in the ass, Josh. He’s convinced that Vanessa is stepping out on him.

Well technically it’s not Josh, Zander should be worried about. It’s Brianna. Brianna who is initially Vanessa’s stand in for Ally, Vanessa’s best friend. Brianna who quickly becomes Vanessa’s confidant and good friend. Brianna talks to Vanessa about the whole purity pledge thing

“You really don’t want to have sex until you’re married?”
“What if I don’t?”
“Then I respect that. If it’s really what you want. Is it?”

First of all, I absolutely LOVE Brianna. Not only does she support a person’s right to wait until marriage to have sex, but she verbalizes that viewpoint. Not very many people would voice that. And that is sad & so depressing. If someone wants to wait to be married to have sex, that’s their choice. Even though Brianna didn’t believe Vanessa, she still respected Vanessa’s choices. That’s important in both a friendship & a relationship.

“I just kissed my first girl. And yeah, I think I might be…”
“Gay?”
“Maybe. Or maybe I’m bisexual. What if I am?”
“What if you are? Like boys all you want Park. It still won’t fix this. I’m bi and I promise you it’s not a fucking light switch. You can’t just set it on ‘boy’ because it’s inconvenient that you like a girl right now. Widening your options doesn’t change the feelings you have.”

This stuck with me for many different reasons, most of them being because it took me four years to admit to anyone that I was bisexual. I struggled with feeling like I had to flip a switch and make sure it stayed on “boy” because it was inconvenient for me to like a girl. I totally related to Vanessa because of this. I remember feeling the same things that she felt.

The sex scene was steamy and sexy and so perfect. I absolutely loved it. There are virtually no LGBT sex scenes in YA, so I was super excited to see Bri & Van get it on and for it not to fade to black like so many other YA’s do. I was so, SO thrilled. I am very pro-sex in my YA and in some ways, even more in the subgenre of YA LGBT because there is such a lack of full on sexy scenes that don’t fade to black.

Van then has to go through the tough process of coming out. Coming out to her friends, her fans & to her family. Josh and Ally handle it perfectly and Josh’s response made me cry.

“So you’re a lesbian K-drama, not an axe murderer. Why do you say that like it’s the most horrible confession on earth?”
“Because it may as well be, and you know it!”

Van handles this whole thing better than I ever could. Especially given the fact that she lives in the public eye. She tells her parents. Her super conservative, Korean parents, and thankfully, she had her friends & Bri to console her when things become rough. I couldn’t help but remember how rough it was for me when I came out. Especially how rough things were between my Catholic relatives and myself. Things are better now, but it took a really long time. So reading about Van’s struggles with her family, really hit home for me.

This book and the friendships and the romance was utter perfection and I cannot recommend this book enough. Adler is amazing, and she captured so many of my thoughts and made them come out of Van. If you need a diverse read with a couple you can root for, then you need to pick up this book.

Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

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Book Title: This Is Where It Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Published Date: January 5th, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Contemporary
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Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Disclaimer: I received this book as an e-ARC from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley

Review
Nothing I can say will ever do this beautiful book justice in my mind. I mean, WOW. What an incredibly gorgeous, yet heartbreaking book this was. I wasn’t sure what to expect, wasn’t sure I’d love this book as much as I wanted to, but at about 12% of the way through, the tears started falling and they never let up. I think part of the emotion was because this has happened so many times in the US. School shootings are not as rare as they once were.

I was also worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep the 4 different POV’s in my head. I wouldn’t be able to differentiate all four voices. Thankfully, it only took me a little while to get accustomed to them and before I knew it, I had no problem telling each of the voices apart. Claire, Tomas, Sylvia & Autumn each have a connection to the shooter, though the connections aren’t immediately apparent. The different connections they had to the shooter are revealed early on, for which I was grateful.

I cannot say enough about the diversity in this book. In some ways, I think the diversity within the characters was my favorite part. There were characters of different ethnic backgrounds, different family systems, and perhaps my favorite thing, main characters who were lesbian. I did not expect the LGBT aspect of the book, so to see that unfold really excited me, and in some ways, made me sob even more.

This book was very character driven and for a short book, these characters were very well developed. That was one of my concerns with this book, given the length. I was nervous these characters wouldn’t be fleshed out well, but they were.

The pace was quick, but in a book like this I wasn’t bothered by it. A whole lot of stuff needed to be packed into 54 minutes and it felt real to me. I felt the panic. I felt the terror and I felt sadness. I didn’t know it was possible to feel all of these things from a book, and I’ve been reading since I was four.

This book was the kind of book that sticks with you hours, even days after you’ve finished it. I love these type of books. The tough subjects, the books that bring the feels and this book was no different. Marieke Nijkamp’s debut is a stunning book that broke my heart from the beginning.

Review: The Naturals (The Naturals #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Book Title: The Naturals
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published Date: November 5th, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA Mystery Thriller
Series: Book One in The Naturals trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review
I don’t know why it took so long for me to read this book. Maybe hype reasons, I’m just not sure.

But I am totally kicking myself for not reading it sooner. It was so, so good. It went beyond my expectations. I usually try to go into books with average expectations because I’ve been burned before, but more than once, bloggers had been telling me that it was a “me” book and that I’d love it.

They were right!

It’s very rare that I like pretty much all of the main players in a book. Usually there’s one or two who I am not a huge fan of. That was not the case with this group. I loved Cassie, Sloane, Lia, Dean and Michael, but if I had to pick, I’d pick Cassie and Sloane over the others.

In fact, I think Sloane was my favorite character in the entire book (Sorry Cassie) She was just so awesome, and willing to speak her mind. You all know how much I love outspoken female characters. Nothing fazes her. She crazy intelligent and one heck of a hacker.

“This encryption is pathetic. It’s like they want me to hack their files.”

I wish I had that kind of talent. Where it would take a few keystrokes and I’d be in the middle of something that’s not for my eyes. Sloane was fascinating. Her ability with numbers & statistics was quite fascinating and that was one of the many things that fascinated me about her. I do hope we learn more about her in the books to come.

I also found Cassie to be interesting. She was motivated by the fact that her mom had been murdered when she was 12 and she had been sent to live with her dad’s relatives who she never really fit in with. I understood her desire to solve her mother’s murder. I too wanted her to be able to solve it. Well her and the other teenagers in this program.

The romance was weird. It was a weird romance-square. Between Lia, Michael, Cassie and Dean. If I hadn’t enjoyed the book as much as I did, the romance could have ruined the book for me. I liked them both, but for Cassie, I liked Dean better. Lia and Michael were more on and off again and throwing another person in a relationship like that ruins things.

I want to talk about so much more, but I can’t. I don’t want to ruin things for those who still haven’t read this awesome book. I loved it and I am happily giving it 5 stars.

Blog Tour: Diamonds are Forever (The Secret Diamond Sisters #3) by Michelle Madow

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Title: Diamonds are Forever
Author: Michelle Madow
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters #3
Genre: Young Adult
Length: 368 Pages
ISBN: 9780373211524
Add to your TBR List:  Goodreads
Buy Links:  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository  |  Books A Million  |  iBooks

Synopsis
It’s cold outside, but the drama is hot!

The Diamond sisters jet to the mountains for spring break, and Savannah’s flirt-mance with an international pop star heats up as her pursuit of stardom succeeds. But is this romance meant to be, or has the right guy been in front of her all along? Meanwhile, Courtney takes the next step with her secret boyfriend—and future stepbrother—and as their parents’ wedding approaches, the pressure’s on to reveal their relationship.

Peyton’s figuring out a plan for her future, but she still feels guilty about getting her former bodyguard fired and wonders if she can get over him in the arms of someone else. But the biggest bombshell will change everything once again, because Madison’s ready to tell the huge secret she’s uncovered. And with the boy who betrayed her but who could be the love of her life fighting for his own life, she might need the Diamond sisters more than ever.

Review
I’m just gonna come out and say it, this book was the best book of the trilogy. It was so, so good. To the point that I basically devoured it in less than 24 hours. It was light, fluffy and full of drama. I don’t usually go for light & fluffy, but I needed a light & fluffy read so I grabbed this one.  It had everything I wanted in the final book.

In book two, I was not sold on the romances, but this time around, I loved the romances. Wait, let me rephrase that, I loved the way certain romances ended up. There is one couple in particular that I was rooting hard for. I was worried they wouldn’t be end game, but they were, so YAY!

I really loved Madison in this one. She just kept getting more likable as the series continued. For that, I am grateful. I wanted her to develop a sisterly relationship with Courtney, Peyton & Savannah, but I was worried that the three Diamond girls wouldn’t really welcome her into their family. Given how Madison had treated them at the beginning of the series, I don’t think I would have blamed them.

Things come to a head when all four Diamond girls and some friends of theirs are in Aspen for spring break. Hearts break, loyalties are tested and relationships are put back on track. I would love to talk more about the trip to Aspen, but that contains a ton of spoilers, so I probably shouldn’t.

I still see myself as a mix of Courtney & Peyton, and certain things about Peyton are so similar to me that I still find it disconcerting. Savannah is still the absolute complete opposite of me. I’d say that Madison is most similar to Courtney, but she’s got dashes of Savannah & Peyton in her as well.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. It was a perfect ending to the trilogy. I am sorry to see these characters go because I think they are interesting and they always leave me wanting to know more about them. I am giving this book 5 stars and I am so glad I kept reading the series because it got better and better as it continued.

About the Author

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Michelle Madow wrote her first novel, Remembrance, in her junior year of college. Remembrance is the first book in The Transcend Time Saga, a three part series about reincarnation and true love that Michelle successfully self-published. The series was inspired by Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” music video. Michelle’s latest YA series, The Secret Diamond Sisters, about three sisters who discover they are the secret heirs to a Las Vegas billionaire casino owner, was published in March 2014 by Harlequin Teen. The second book in the series, Diamonds in the Rough, released in November 2014, and the third book, Diamonds are Forever, will be coming out in November 2015. Michelle is active on social media networks and has toured across America to promote her books and encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing.

Michelle lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for young adults. She loves reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling the world, shopping, Disney fairy tales, Broadway musicals, and loves talking with fans on Facebook (/MichelleMadow), Twitter (@MichelleMadow), and Instagram (@MichelleMadow).

To chat with Michelle and other fans about her books, join Michelle Madow’s Street Team on Facebook!

Connect with Michelle:  Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Goodreads

Rafflecopter for Release Week Blitz Giveaway:
Michelle is offering up a fabulous prize during her Diamonds are Forever Virtual Tour event. One (1) lucky winner will receive a signed paperback set of The Secret Diamond Sisters, along with a swag pack that includes lipgloss, bookmark, sister postcards, pin! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:
Giveaway Link

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Review: Placebo Junkies by J.C. Carleson

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Book Title: Placebo Junkies
Author: J. C. Carleson
Published Date: October 27th, 2015
Publisher: Random House Children’s
Genre: YA Contemporary Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Going Bovine meets Trainspotting in this gritty portrait of at-risk teens gaming the prescription drug trial system.

Meet Audie: Professional lab rat. Guinea pig. Serial human test subject. For Audie and her friends, “volunteering” for pharmaceutical drug trials means a quick fix and easy cash.

Sure, there’s the occasional nasty side effect, but Audie’s got things under control. If Monday’s pill causes a rash, Tuesday’s ointment usually clears it right up. Wednesday’s injection soothes the sting from Tuesday’s “cure,” and Thursday’s procedure makes her forget all about Wednesday’s headache. By the time Friday rolls around, there’s plenty of cash in hand and perhaps even a slot in a government-funded psilocybin study, because WEEKEND!

But the best fix of all is her boyfriend, Dylan, whose terminal illness just makes them even more compatible. He’s turning eighteen soon, so Audie is saving up to make it an unforgettable birthday. That means more drug trials than ever before, but Dylan is worth it.

No pain, no gain, Audie tells herself as the pills wear away at her body and mind. No pain, no gain, she repeats as her grip on reality starts to slide….

Raw and irreverent, Placebo Junkies will captivate readers until the very end, when author J. C. Carleson leans in for a final twist of the knife.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Review
This one looked interesting from the moment I saw it on Goodreads. I requested it and totally forgot about it. So when I got the approval email, all I felt was nerves. I wanted this book to be awesome and I was so worried that all the hype I had built up for it was going to be unwarranted.

I loved, LOVED this book. It was an insane mind-fuck that had me questioning the entire book and wanting to know exactly what was going on. It took me a long time to realize that things weren’t as they seemed. Maybe I should have picked up on that sooner. Oooops. It was a book that has been flying under the radar, but it’s a book that all YA Thriller enthusiasts should read.

It’s been a long time since I loved a protagonist like Audie. She was hilariously funny, un-apologetically blunt and through it all, it was clear she had a good heart. She wanted so badly to make memories for her terminally ill boyfriend, Dylan.

Audie even writes a blog, trying to help other people who are just stepping into this guinea pig thing. Her blog entries are insanely funny, and as someone who has a long history with pharmacies, hospitals and doctors, I found myself laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.

She was good to her roommates, Jameson & Charlotte. Especially Charlotte. Charlotte didn’t talk about her life before. She kept herself very guarded, not trusting many people, and especially not trusting men. It was hard for Audie to see that because she had such a loving relationship with Dylan. She couldn’t understand why Charlotte didn’t like him.

“Because of the life she’s had, she just has no concept of genuine un-fucked up love.”

As the book continues, things go from bad to worse. Audie starts losing chunks of time. Her memories start to become cloudy and she struggles with knowing what’s real and what isn’t. She doesn’t want to bother Dylan about this because his life, unlike hers, has been normal. She keeps what she’s doing to herself, just like she keeps her past to herself. She doesn’t want to burden Dylan with why she’s not in school, why she’s got no family around.

“Sometimes people cause themselves harm just to prove to themselves, and perhaps the rest of the world, that they can.”

I found The Professor to be very interesting. I am still unsure as to what his actual position in the story was, but I kept thinking that he had to be central to the story. He had to be around for a reason. I do wish we had seen more of him though.

“It’s more like a feeling of being simultaneously dead and alive, like a furless version of Shrodinger’s cat.”

Audie’s descriptions of her feelings while on the various drugs were really awesome, and surprisingly funny.

Things just got crazier and crazier as the book continued. I started to question so many things about the drugs, and about the characters in this book. I started to realize that something was off. Aside from the morally decrepit Audie. I felt like I was missing something. Something was going to smack me in the face.

“Because the truth is whatever you say it is.”

This book surprised me in the best way possible. I hadn’t heard much about it, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with it. But I loved it. I love mind-fuckery and having them in books only make me happier. This book was awesome and I highly, highly recommend it to people who love YA Thrillers because that’s exactly what this one was. I am giving this one 5 stars.

Review: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

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Book Title: What We Saw
Author: Aaron Hartzler
Published Date: September 29th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. I was pretty sure I’d love it, but I was horribly unprepared for the rush of emotions that overtook me as I read it. I wasn’t prepared to have to frequently walk away from the book to keep from exploding in anger. I wasn’t expecting to get angrier and angrier as the book continued.

But I did.

Listen, it is never okay to take advantage of someone who has been drinking or is otherwise incapable of giving consent. I don’t care what someone is wearing. It’s not okay no matter what.

Got it? Good.

I definitely got an All The Rage feel from this book, but this book made me angrier in ten minutes than All The Rage made me in one day. I was utterly horrified, heartsick and livid all at once and by the time I finished the book, I was in tears. Sad tears & angry tears and my stomach was in knots.

By now you all should be aware of my disdain of high school athletes getting away with pretty much anything. It’s disgusting and infuriating. It’s even worse in a small town. Here, high school athletes are regarded as “kings” and “queens” and anyone who tries to change that, is automatically labelled a “troublemaker”

In this book we have everyone from the small store owner, Bonnie to the coaches of the sports teams villifying Stacey. How dare she press charges on these “good boys from good Christian families”

Vomit.

I cannot say enough amazing things about our protagonist, Kate. She didn’t just sit back and watch things go to crap. She questioned things, people and even her own thoughts about that night. She knew Stacey was telling the truth.

Her friends on the other hand, particularly Christy, were crappy people. If I had to hear one more statement of victim blaming from Christy, I was going to put my damn hand through a wall.

“Did you see the skirt Stacey was wearing at the party? I have washcloths made of more fabric.”

At least Lindsey wasn’t such a terrible person.

“Just because she was wearing skimpy clothes means that she’s lying about forcing themselves on her?”

But Christy insisted on blaming Stacey, the goddamn victim, for what happened to her.

“If you don’t want to work a guy into a lather, keep your cooch covered up.”

Thus blaming Stacey for what happened to her and not holding the boys responsible at all. That’s disgusting, and it further proves some people’s point that boys cannot be held responsible for their actions and that girls need to cover up if they don’t want to be assaulted.

I’m speechless, and not in a good way.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Ben. I knew something was off about him early on, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I wasn’t sure if he had any part in what the basketball players did to Stacey or if he was even there. I definitely did not trust him, and I was definitely worried about Kate.

The amount of sway the boys’ families had over the investigation was staggering, although not totally unheard of in a small town such as this one.

“Dooney’s dad’ll make it go away.”

Just the fact that this was said at all, made me sick to my stomach. Allegations such as this shouldn’t be swept under the rug regardless of what’s at stake and the simple fact that Ben said this so matter-of-factly, made me furious. I’m no stranger to powerful people sweeping things under the rug unfortunately.

I think I hated the coach & the head honchos of the school the most. Their number one concern should have been getting to the bottom of what happened, and making sure Stacey was safe. But, instead, they continued to coddle the basketball players, ignore Stacey completely and insist that these allegations were baseless.

“I want to ask you all to send good thoughts to the players who aren’t with us this afternoon.”

Um, seriously? Where are those good thoughts for Stacey, you know the victim in this awful thing? Apparently she wasn’t worth good thoughts because she was the one potentially screwing up their lives.

If this book wasn’t raising my blood pressure enough, this conversation between Ben & Kate certainly did.

“Why would Deacon and Dooney rape anybody? They can both have any girl they want. You saw Stacey hanging all over them at the party.”

“That doesn’t mean she wanted them to fuck her.”

“We don’t know that. We weren’t there.”

“Exactly, for all we know it’s just as likely that Dooney and Deacon are the ones lying. Don’t we owe it to Stacey to believe she might be telling the truth?”

“I don’t owe her anything.”

From that moment on, I had a knot in my stomach that did not let up for the rest of the book. I was livid. How could Ben say that he didn’t owe her anything. What if it had been someone he loved, what if it had been Kate who was assaulted?

I was pretty ambivalent about Rachel the entire book. I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t really like her either. My ambivalence went out the window at about three quarters of the way into the book.

“All I’m saying is that there are rules.  You don’t get wasted. You don’t take off your top. You don’t flirt with raging drunks. You don’t dress like a slut. You have to play by the rules, if you don’t, this is what happens.”

Well well, victim blaming again.

I have to give Mr. Johnston mad props here. Instead of sweeping this under the rug, he used class time to force the guys to come up with alternative options for rape. Of course there should have never have been a need for this, but I’m glad it was addressed, and by a male teacher nonetheless.

I also have to give serious props to Kate’s younger brother, Will. There was a video of that night and Kate forces him to view it. After seeing him idolize the guys responsible, Will realizes that some things are not okay.

“Not being able to say no isn’t the same as saying yes. She didn’t deserve this.”

“Nobody does. Nobody deserve this.”

Watching Will realize this was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. He idolized the boys that did this, and the boys that knew about it.

This book made me feel all the things. I think it needs to be in high schools and I will be purchasing this book for my own collection as well as for my brother. He doesn’t read at all, but he reminded me so much of Will, and I think it’s important that he read this book. I will be giving it 5 stars and I will be recommending it to everyone.

Review: The Boy Most Likely To (My Life Next Door #2) by Huntley Fitzpatrick

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Book Title: The Boy Most Likely To
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published Date: August 18th, 2015
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Companion to My Life Next Door
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
A surprising, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door—great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house.

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.

Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.

And Alice is caught in the middle.

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review
I don’t know how Fitzpatrick does it, but I love it.  I enjoyed My Life Next Door immensely when I first read it, and when I found out this book was going to be about Tim & Alice I was stoked. Tim had been an intriguing character in My Life Next Door and I was very excited to read his story.

I was not disappointed. At all.

Tim had been the screw-up of his family for a long time. He had been the one to be kicked out of school, become an alcoholic and has a very cavalier attitude about sex. Unlike Alice, his family is not close, they aren’t loving or welcoming.

I’m still crazy about Alice’s family. The Garretts are utterly awesome, and I adore them all. From Mr. & Mrs. Garrett to toddler Patty. The boys, particularly Harry & George are still some of my favorite characters in this book.

“What’s a virgin?”
“Something about a forest.”

When I read that exchange from Harry & George I laughed so hard Dr. Pepper came out of my nose.

There’s Andrea “Andy” who begins high school in this book and she’s got all sorts of questions about guys, but she also has some words of wisdom that she hands out to Alice.

“Alice, c’mon you can have a bad day. Without it being your period or you being a ballbuster-see I said it-or a wimp or calling yourself names.”

Alice was struggling, trying to keep up on everything. She felt like taking care of her siblings, paying the bills, doing her schoolwork and going up against Grace Reed, the ice queen who just happened to be the mother of her brother’s girlfriend, was all on her. Alice was trying desperately to keep things afloat for her family, even when it wasn’t her concern. She loved her family, that much was obvious, but it wasn’t until her dad finally said something that she stepped back and handed the reins back to her mom & dad.

I gotta say that I suspected what Tim’s consequence would be, actually I could have bet my money on it, and if I had, I’d have been rich. However, how things ended with that little consequence was something I didn’t expect.

Now, about Tim & Alice, goodness I loved them. It was very much a slow burn romance, for which I was grateful. So if you’re expecting them to get together right away, you’re going to be disappointed. I loved how it happened though. It seemed very realistic, especially from Alice who has her walls up and from Tim who is trying to mature.

Overall, I did absolutely love this book. I liked it even more than My Life Next Door. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe because Alice reminded me a bit of myself, plus the fact that Tim had red hair and I’m always a sucker for guys & girls with red hair. I am giving this book 5 stars and I need to get a copy of this book for my personal library ASAP.

Review: Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

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Book Title: Damage Done
Author: Amanda Panitch
Published Date: July 21st, 2015
Publisher: Random House Books For Young Readers
Genre: YA Thriller
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Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she’s able to begin again. She’s even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy’s forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .

Disclaimer: I received this book from Random House Books For Young Readers in exchange for my honest review.

Review
Holy mother of God. This book was beyond my expectations. I started it Tuesday morning and before I knew it, I had read half of the book in one sitting and had been treated to a roller coaster of craziness, only half of which I had guessed ahead of time.

It was the kind of book that I just wanted to forget all of my adult responsibilities and just read. I had to know what happened. I had to know more about Ryan and his twin sister. I had to know the truth because I suspected Julia/Lucy knew more than she was letting on about what had happened.

This book reminded me a lot of Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn, both in the writing and in the twists and turns. And I enjoyed this one just as much as I enjoyed Complicit.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but I knew that since it was a YA thriller, I had to read it. YA thrillers are my jam and books that are total mind-fucks are even more my thing. I love not really knowing what is going on in a book. I love books that keep me guessing all the way though. And this one did that in a really big way.

Sociopathy has always been very fascinating to me, so when I first read the synopsis for this book, I knew her brother had to be a sociopath. It was the only thing that made sense to me. By the time I was only 10% into it, I knew I was going to love this book. It was the kind of crazy that I LOVE. It was the kind of crazy, topsy-turvy ride that makes for an awesome thriller.

I liked Lucy as a character a lot. She was trying to put the past behind her and focus on rebuilding her life. After something like what her brother did, can you really blame her? She surrounded herself with two good people Alane and Michael. Alane was a good friend to her and I could tell that Lucy needed a good friend. She needed someone who wasn’t afraid of her. Michael was a sweet guy, albeit a bit boring for me, but maybe boring is what Lucy needed at the time.

Ryan was captivating and I really wanted to know more about him. More than we already were told through Dr. Spence’s notes. Sidenote: I LOVED Dr. Spence’s notes. It felt like we were getting more of an idea of who these twins were though his notes. It was unique and it worked for me.

There is so much more that I want to talk about, but I can’t because of spoilers. So I’m just going to say that if you love YA thrillers, you need to pick this one up ASAP. I loved this book and I am giving it 5 stars.

Review: Return to the Dark House (Dark House #2) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

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Book Title: Return to the Dark House
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Published Date: July 21st, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: YA Horror
Series: Book 2 in Dark House duology
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Ivy Jensen survived the Dark House once, but can she make it out a second time?

Two months have passed since Ivy narrowly escaped the Nightmare Elf’s grip, but the memories of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie, and Garth continue to haunt her. Their killer is still out there—somewhere. The police trail has gone cold, though, and it’s up to Ivy to piece together the clues to find him.

When a cryptic video arrives in her inbox, Ivy soon finds herself back in the spotlight, this time on a twisted scavenger hunt through the dark, ancient halls of a long-forgotten Gothic school building. Ivy’s not alone, either. Taylor Monroe has returned to the scene. But can Taylor be trusted? Or is she another pawn in the Nightmare Elf’s deadly game?

Laurie Faria Stolarz crafts a mesmerizing thriller that will leave readers looking over their shoulders.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review
I don’t know if you guys remember, but I really enjoyed Welcome to the Dark House so when I heard that it was getting a sequel, I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait to dive back into this world.

Guys, the wait was so worth it!

They added an element to the story that made it even scarier and I actually loved that. This time, it wasn’t the Nightmare Elf that scared the ever loving hell out of me. It was this mysterious E. W and the boy called Ricky. The origin of these boys took this story down a path that I was not expecting.

I think the thing I was most excited about was that we got to meet Taylor this time around. She had been the girl who had left before things had even really begun. I knew after finishing Welcome to the Dark House, that she probably was important to the story. I was really curious to see what her part was in all of this.

This book was even more terrifying than the first book in this series. I would love to talk about certain things, but I don’t want to spoil you guys, so I’ll just say, READ IT. If you haven’t read the first book, then binge-read both books, one right after the other. If you enjoy horror books, you will not be sorry. 5 stars to this utterly terrifying but at the same time, captivating book.

Blog Tour: The Body Institute by Carol Riggs

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TBIBook Title: The Body Institute
Author: Carol Riggs
Release Date: 09/01/15
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Book Link: Goodreads
Buy Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo Books

Summary from Goodreads:
Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute.

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl’s body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body—leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches…

For one, Morgan won’t remember what happens in her “Loaner” body. Once she’s done, she won’t recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she’s been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it’s all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start…

Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan’s mind. She’s feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti–Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she’ll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul…

Review
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but I knew I wanted to read it. Science Fiction is one book genre that if done well, I’ll love.

And The Body Institute was done well. So, so well.

We’re in a world now that taxes people who are overweight. In order to avoid having to pay those taxes, there are people called Reducers who take over the bodies of Loaners and help them lose weight so the Loaners no longer have to worry about those “fat taxes”

The bodies of the Reducers are kept in suspended animation until their job is done. That could take 3 months to over a year depending on how much weight the Loaner has to lose to avoid being taxed.

Morgan Dey is one of those Reducers and I loved her almost immediately. She was tough, stubborn and willing to do whatever she needed to to help out her family. Throughout the book, she took a lot of risks, made some questionable choices, but it always came back to her wanting to help her family.

The second half of this book was probably my favorite because things just started getting more and more twisty and messed up. Shocking revelations kept coming and more and more secrets came to light.

I really hope that this book isn’t a standalone because I feel like there’s a lot more to the story. More things could be uncovered especially considering how it ended. I did really enjoy this book a lot. I am giving it 5 stars because it was awesome the entire way through.

About the Author
CR
I’m a YA writer represented by Kelly Sonnack of Andrea Brown Literary. My sci-fi novel THE BODY INSTITUTE explores the themes of society, identity, and body image. I live in the beautiful, green state of Oregon and have a Studio Arts degree; I’m an SCBWI member.

You’ll usually find me in my writing cave, surrounded by my dragon collection and the characters in my head. I also enjoy reading–mostly young adult novels–as well as drawing, painting, and quilting. I also attend writing conferences, walk with my husband, and enjoy music and dance of all kinds.

Author Links:
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Book Tour Organized by YA Bound Book Tours