Review: The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy

841fe-tc
Book Title: The Creeping
Author: Alexandra Sirowy
Published Date: August 18th, 2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers
Genre: YA Horror/Mystery
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Eleven years ago, Stella and Jeanie disappeared. Stella came back. Jeanie never did.

Now all she wants is a summer full of cove days, friends, and her gorgeous crush—until a fresh corpse leads Stella down a path of ancient evil and secrets.

Stella believes remembering what happened to Jeanie will save her. It won’t.

She used to know better than to believe in what slinks through the shadows. Not anymore.

Disclaimer: I received this book as an e-ARC from Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers in exchange for my honest review.

Review
I’ve been in an epic slump over the past few weeks. This slump included both reading and blogging, so I was definitely nervous to read this book. I really didn’t want the first book I’ve read in weeks, to be a disappointment.

Thankfully, this book was an awesome surprise.

With books in this genre, I put a lot of importance on the writing. I want to feel scared. I want to be intrigued. I want to be afraid of the unknown. Sirowy’s writing did that for me.  I basically read 85% of the book in one day.

I was utterly captivated by the mystery and horror that Sirowy created. I won’t say much about the mystery & horror aspect because I want to avoid spoiling the book for those who haven’t read it yet.

What I wasn’t expecting was the romance. I loved, LOVED the romance. It was unexpected as there isn’t normally romance in books like this. But it was cute and sweet to see how this boy cared for Stella.

Stella did have a bit of a toxic friendship with Zoey. Zoey really drove me insane. She was judgmental and rude and mean, especially to the boy Stella falls for. Yet, Stella continues to defend her. That drove me insane. I understood that Stella felt this loyalty to Zoey, but I desperately wanted Stella to have a backbone.

The mystery of what happened to six year old redheaded Jeanie was captivating. I kept wanting to read more and more. I wanted to learn more about that day, but Stella couldn’t remember anything.

Until bits and pieces started coming back to her.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. It did remind me a bit of The Devil You Know by Trish Doller, which I also enjoyed. This book will be getting 5 stars from me.

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

ELW
Book Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Published Date: June 16th, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Disney Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review
Oh my god. I think my feels are dead. This book wrecked me in the best possible way. I don’t talk about this much, but I have OCD and until I started this book, I had no idea that my obsessive thoughts, my obsessions over the number 16, and my constant overthinking of things was part of OCD.

I thought I was genuinely crazy and that was utterly terrifying.

I loved Sam. She was raw, real and awesome. She was so resistant to being different, to showing weakness in front of anyone outside of her psychiatrist or her family.

No one knew the real her. Not the friends she had known since kindergarten, not the people she swam with.

Not until she met Caroline and the rest of Poet’s Corner. AJ, Sydney, Emily, Cameron, Jessica, Chelsea and Abigail are all part of this thing. They come to be better friends in just a few months than her other friends have been in twelve years. She is able to be the real Sam with them.

I was really curious to see how things would progress with AJ and Sam. Especially considering how Sam’s superficial friends treated him when they were just in grade school. I was worried that AJ would still hold a grudge about that. Thankfully he handled it well.

The ending was crazy-pants. I was utterly stunned at certain events that took place at the end of this book. Certain things happened in this book that I never expected. If you’ve read the book, I’d love to know if you guessed the twist.

This book was gorgeous, heartbreaking and it left me emotionally spent, half sobbing, half hyperventilating. I loved this book and I think it needs to be in all high school classrooms. It’s such an important book. I’ll be giving it 5 stars.

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

c37b0-ee
Book Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Published Date: September 1st, 2015
Publisher: Random House Children’s
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from Random House Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review
It was no secret that I was insanely excited for this book. I had repeatedly told fellow bloggers that it was one of my most anticipated fall reads. I was super nervous about reading it. I really didn’t want it to let me down.

Thankfully it didn’t.

This book blew me away in the best possible way. I finished the book totally and completely in love with it. It’s been awhile since I fell this hard for a book. It’s unlike a book I’ve ever read before.

I love books about illnesses and I’ve always been fascinated by Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease. So as soon as I saw this book up on NetGalley, I KNEW I had to request it. When I got the email that my request was approved, I kinda screamed a little bit. Okay maybe more than just a little bit.

I read it last week and finished it in basically a day. I devoured it at rapid speed. I cannot say enough about Madeline and Olly’s romance. It was perfect, shippy and all kinds of adorable. God, I loooooved watching them fall in love. It was so much fun to watch/read. Now theirs is the kind of love I can root for.

Sweet, sweet Olly had a crappy home life and I’m happy about how that was handled. I wanted to hug Olly so much during certain parts of the book.

I feel like Maddy’s nurse, Carla is going to be overlooked, but she was really awesome. She was there for Maddy when she needed someone. She knew how Maddy felt about Olly even before Maddy realized it herself. Carla really was Maddy’s best friend and I loved Carla for how wonderful she was to Maddy.

There is a twist in this book, and it’s one I never in a million years saw coming. If you’ve read it, I’d love to know if you saw it coming. It made this book even more amazing to me.

Needless to say, I loved this book. I’ll be giving this book the full five stars. It was amazing, and I absolutely loved it. It is firmly on my favorites list for 2015. I’m thrilled that this book lived up to the hype.

Review: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

EMBook Title: Extraordinary Means
Author: Robyn Schneider
Published Date: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads

From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it’s easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down.

Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.

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

Review
I needed something amazing, something that would blow me away. Given how I felt about The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, I was worried that I wouldn’t love this book. Especially seeing as it looked like something I was going to love.

Thankfully, I did love it.

Sadie was very much like me. She was sarcastic, fearless and fascinating. I loved her as a character because she reminded me so much of myself. I live life fearlessly, and so often, the girls I read about don’t live life fearlessly so I don’t always connect to them the way I want to. Sadie knows she’s sick, but she’s bound and determined not to let her illness hold her back. That kind of fearlessness and willingness to fight the drug resistant strain of TB that the entirety of Latham House has.

Lane, on the other hand was very much like me in the overachiever department. He reminded me a lot of myself when I was in high school. He was so focused on his life plan that in some ways, he really didn’t start living life until he was at Latham House. He had been so focused on school, getting into Stanford, that he never really took time out for fun. He probably couldn’t even give an example of it if someone asked him to.

Lane and Sadie were adorable together. I loved them together, and my favorite moment between them is when they kiss for the first time. I adored that part and I found myself grinning like a crazy person.

Books that are very character centered are usually some of my favorite books. This book was very character centered, and the characters were all fleshed out well. Even the secondary characters like Charlie, Marina and Nick were well developed. I love when that happens.

This book destroyed my feels in the best possible way. I love books that make me feel, and boy this one did just that. It brought the feels in a big way. I absolutely loved this book and am giving it 5 stars.

Review: Paperweight by Meg Haston

Book Title: Paperweight
Author: Meg Haston
Published Date: July 7th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.

Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.

Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn’t plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.

In this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut, Meg Haston delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss, while posing the question: Why are some consumed by their illness while others embark on a path toward recovery?

Disclaimer #1: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Disclaimer #2: Trigger warnings: Self Harm, Eating Disorders.

Review:
Every once and awhile, there’s a book that changes your life. It had been a very long time since this had happened. I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. It was one of the hardest books I had ever read in my life. It was a book that I know will stay in my mind for a very long time, probably forever.

When we meet Stevie, she is completely against any kind of treatment. It isn’t necessary in her opinion. She plans on ending her own life. She believes that she was responsible for her brother, Josh’s death. She wants to be with Josh again, and she believes that killing herself can absolve her of guilt.

She developed the eating disorder prior to her brother’s death and after her mother walked out on her, Josh and their dad. Yet, it was when Eden came into her life, that things shifted once again. Stevie found Eden intoxicating. Josh also was captivated by her. Stevie feels jealous that Josh and Eden were involved. Stevie develops feelings for Eden, which complicates things between her and Josh.

When first started at the treatment center, she was very against just being there. She looks at the girls who’ve made progress and ridicules them for not having willpower. This was the thing that irked me. I mean I understand why she would think that given where she was in her recovery, but I really didn’t like her in the beginning.

It wasn’t until I was halfway through the book, that Stevie really started to grow on me. I liked how she was warming up to Ashlee, Cate and Tegen by the ending. I loved her story arc. It was inspiring and emotional. I wasn’t sure if I would ever end up liking her, but I did end up loving her.

Watching Stevie become more aware of how toxic Eden was, was totally awesome and unexpected. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but she came to the realization that Eden never really cared about her and that Eden wan’t good for her in any way. Someone who would not inquire as to how someone was doing, was not a friend. Knowing that Eden hadn’t even asked how Stevie was doing with Josh’s death or even the eating disorder.

I fell in love with this book unexpectedly, but damn this book is so, so important. I cannot wait to own a finished copy of this gorgeous book with great character development. I am giving this book 5 stars and I recommend this book very highly.

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh

Book Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Published Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Putnam (Penguin)
Genre: YA Retelling
Series: Book one in The Wrath and the Dawn series
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Disclaimer: I bought this book.

Review:

I am utterly dumbfounded right now. This book was unbelievably gorgeous. From the cover to the pages to what was written ON the pages. This book was stunning. I’m still as in love with the cover as I was the first time I saw it. Now that I’ve read the book, I’m just as in love with the words on the pages as I am in love with the cover.

I have read many many books in my 29 years but I don’t think any of them have ever been this gorgeously (is that even a word?) written. I was barely 20 pages into it when I put it down and said out loud “holy hell this book is gorgeous” I could probably talk about the gorgeous writing for days, but I probably shouldn’t. It was so beautiful through the entire thing. I was worried that the beautiful writing would take away from the actual story, but it didn’t. It added to it.

The world building was stunning and I felt like I was actually in this world. That’s how vivid things were. I could see the clothes in my minds eye, my mouth watered with the descriptions of the food (funny as I usually don’t enjoy Indian or Persian food) but I definitely wanted the food they were eating because it sounded delicious. When a book can make you hungry in the dead of night, then you know the book is good.

I have massive love and respect for Shazi. She was fierce, stubborn and protective. Her objective was the avenge the death of her best friend Shiva. She never expected to fall for Khalid, and in fact she fought it for a good chunk of the book. In her mind, she could never love Khalid because of what Khalid had done to many young girls before her, including Shiva. She had this vulnerability to her that she was clearly reluctant to show anyone else. It took awhile for her to even let Khalid sense her vulnerability. But when she did, it was beautiful.

Khalid was one of those brooding, mysterious types. Those types always intrigue me because there is always more to them than initially meets the eye. I sensed that he had a lot on his plate and that being vulnerable with anyone wasn’t something he was comfortable with. Just like with Shazi, it took awhile for him to show her his vulnerable side.

I was really worried that Shazi and Khalid would fall for each other and it would feel very insta-lovey. I was really hoping that wouldn’t be the case as I think it would have really ruined the book for me. Thankfully it was not an insta-love situation. I fell for them as I watched them slowly fall for each other. That is a truly great feeling.

There were so many secondary characters in this book. My favorites were Despina, Shazi’s handmaiden & Jalal, Khalid’s cousin. We didn’t get to see a lot of Shazi’s father, but I liked him. I was not really fond of Tariq, Shazi’s first love, but he wasn’t a terrible person. Even the secondary characters were fleshed out well.

I almost forgot to mention, the feels! Holy feels, Batman. Within the first 20 pages I had already cried twice and then through the rest of the book, I cried no less than 5 times. I was not expecting the feels to be so rampant in this one. There were several feelsy moments near the end, and thankfully I had kleenex for those moments.

I absolutely loved this book and I am so glad I took a chance on it and pre-ordered it without even reading an ARC copy. It was totally worth it and I’m not sure how I am going to wait until next year for book 2. 5 stars to this beautifully captivating book.

Review: The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen

Book Title: The Revenge Playbook
Author: Rachael Allen 
Published Date: June 16th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In this poignant and hilarious novel, Rachael Allen brilliantly explores the nuances of high school hierarchies, the traumas sustained on the path to finding true love, and the joy of discovering a friend where you least expect.

Don’t get mad, get even!

In the small town of Ranburne, high school football rules and the players are treated like kings. How they treat the girls they go to school with? That’s a completely different story. Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane, and Ana each have their own reason for wanting to teach the team a lesson—but it’s only when circumstances bring them together that they come up with the plan to steal the one thing the boys hold sacred. All they have to do is beat them at their own game.

Brimming with sharp observations and pitch-perfect teen voices, fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Mlynowski are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp tale—by the author of 17 First Kisses—about the unexpected roads that can lead you to finding yourself.

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

Review:
I loved Allen’s first book, 17 First Kisses, and I wasn’t sure if this book would live up to it, but it did. In a really big way. Like with 17 First Kisses, I was expecting something light and fluffy, but what I got was a book chock full of girl power, and some hard topics of conversation.

It has always been a big complaint of mine that high school athletes get special treatment. They get a pass on bad behavior, they get extensions on homework assignments, even when the non-athletes have asked for them for a legitimate reason and they don’t get them. It’s like they get privileges that other students don’t get. 

Like they are the “golden boys”

Out of the four girls, Ana, Melanie Jane, Liv and Peyton, I think I liked Peyton the most. I related to her in a way that I couldn’t relate to to the other three. She had special considerations due to her ADHD and she constantly tried to alert the teachers and the rest of the staff that she needed the boys (the football players) to stop bothering her so she could concentrate.

Did they punish the football players? Of course not.

Did they punish her by making her move so she wouldn’t be so distracted? Absolutely.

I don’t think I’ve been this angry over a book in a very long time. I was livid, actually more than livid if there is such a thing. It was the treatment of Peyton that enraged me the most.

Then we move on to Liv who has not had sex with her boyfriend, but she’s still called a slut by a lot of the boys.

We have Melanie Jane who has sworn to remain a virgin until her wedding night. She used to be best friends with Ana until something changed between them.

Ana is hiding a secret. A secret that will devastate her family. She’s choosing to keep it from them because when she tried to report it to the school & the law enforcement officers, she was told that she needed to keep it to herself or else one of the boys would lose his football scholarship.

When I read that part, I was furious. This is why so many high school girls are terrified to report any incidence of assault. They know that nothing will happen to the football players and other sports participants because they are athletes and are exempt from punishment. Schools need to stop treating these boys like they are a gift to mankind. Treat them as you would any other student, even if that means *gasp* punishing them.

These four girls have some similarities, but also a lot of differences, but the way they come together to fight back against the sexism and the misogyny surrounding the school, and most specifically the football team. They wanted nothing more than to beat the boys at their own game, even embarrassing them.

The presence of a list was also made known to the girls. This list is written by the BMOC (Big Man On Campus) Chad McAllister. It informs the rest of the football team that certain girls aren’t worthy of them for various reasons (all of which have to do with either their looks or the fact that they haven’t put out)

Barf.

Basically if you have a girlfriend who is on the list, you need to cut her loose. For the good of the team & its image of course. This was another scene where I had to literally get up and walk away from my Kindle because I was literally shaking with rage.

I loved the friendships that developed in this book. I loved how Melanie Jane wasn’t ridiculed for being a virgin. I loved how despite their different home lives, and interests, they still managed to form a friendship. This entire book was awesome, but the ending was amazing, and I cried buckets because of certain things that happen at the end that I don’t want to spoil for those of you who haven’t read it yet.

Just please read it. I actually feel like this book needs to be in classrooms, especially high school classrooms. It’s a must read for all teenagers and even school faculty. I loved this book for the messages it sent and for the powerful friendships that developed. I’ll be giving it 5 stars and I cannot wait to get a finished copy of this book.

Review: Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu

Book Title: Making Pretty
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Published Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Montana and her sister, Arizona, are named after the mountainous states their mother left them for. But Montana is a New York City girl through and through, and as the city heats up, she’s stepping into the most intense summer of her life.

With Arizona wrapped up in her college world and their father distracted by yet another divorce, Montana’s been immersing herself in an intoxicating new friendship with a girl from her acting class. Karissa is bold, imperfectly beautiful, and unafraid of being vulnerable. She’s everything Montana would like to become. But the friendship with Karissa is driving a wedge between Montana and her sister, and the more of her own secrets Karissa reveals, the more Montana has to wonder if Karissa’s someone she can really trust.

In the midst of her uncertainty, Montana finds a heady distraction in Bernardo. He’s serious and spontaneous, and he looks at Montana in the way she wants to be seen. For the first time, Montana understands how you can become both lost and found in somebody else. But when that love becomes everything, where does it leave the rest of her imperfect life?

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

Review:
How does Corey Ann Haydu do this? 

She creates wonderfully real, flawed characters that you don’ t always love, but you root for them. She creates real life situations that would make most of us ragey, frustrated and sometimes downright angry.

I’ve never been the type of person who needs to love or even like the characters in order to like or even love the book. That was a much needed realization as I dove into this book. Montana did not make the best decisions in her life. She makes questionable decisions throughout the book. Some of her decisions made me want to put my head through a wall. I literally had to remind myself that she was a teenager. Teenagers are pretty much known for making questionable decisions.

She struggles with wanting to belong, and while that is definitely a teenage thing, I think that’s also something that comes with having extremely limited contact with her mom and her dad basically treating marriage as unimportant as he marries them, talks them into a lot of plastic surgery and then eventually divorces them. I understand Montana’s unhealthy approach to relationships and love.

That’s why I didn’t mind her relationship with Bernardo too much. Yes, the guy had red flags all over him, and yes, I didn’t like him very much. However Montana just wanted to be loved for who she was. She wanted someone to want to stick around for her. Bernardo was that guy. He made her feel loved, adored and cherished. 

Yes she had her friend, Roxanne and her older sister Arizona, but there was distance between them. Both Roxanne and Arizona were in college and Montana definitely felt left out.

This was where Karissa came in.

Karissa was one of those “bad decisions” She seemed to use  Montana, drugs & alcohol as a way to deal with her rough life. In toxic friendships, the toxic one usually pulls the other friend into things so quickly and so fully that it takes awhile for the non-toxic person to realize that the toxic person is not all that great.

This book was intoxicating. I was absolutely addicted to this book and I was so curious to see how things would turn out by the end. I wish we had gotten a bit more in the end because I really wanted to see how certain things played out. I did love this book though and will happily give it 5 stars.

Review: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

Book Title: The Devil You Know
Author: Trish Doller
Published Date: June 2nd, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s USA
Genre: YA Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions. 


A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.


Disclaimer: I received this ARC as a gift from a fellow blogger. Thanks Emily!

Review:

So Trish Doller really knows how to write books that people will love, but she also knows how to write books that are so different from one another. This woman is insanely talented and I’d kill to have her talent for writing such dynamic stories. Her first two books were more of the contemporary romance type, with the flawed characters that I love so much. The Devil You Know was totally different, in a mind-blowing, fantastically awesome way.

I have a feeling a lot of people will be irked by some or all of Cadie’s choices. Yes, she really does make some questionable choices, I’ll admit that. However, Cadie has been this “perfect” teenager who has helped her dad raise her little brother ever since her mom died of cancer several years before. She has also been essentially holding down the fort by taking care of everything that her father should be taking care of. Cadie’s been under immense pressure, and I couldn’t blame her for just wanting to be a normal teenager, a teenager who is allowed to make stupid mistakes, and who isn’t always perfect.

The book itself is slow in the beginning, just like Doller’s first two have been, yet I knew some insanity was about to go down, so I was willing to wait and be patient. Doller has yet to disappoint me, and I just knew that she wouldn’t disappoint me this time around. Early on, we’re introduced to cousins, Matt & Noah (PSA authors, please stop using the name Noah)  and because of the synopsis, my brain starts spinning. Right away, I begin looking for clues as to who I could trust and who I couldn’t.

Cadie has very strong opinions, all thanks to her mother who encouraged her to have strong opinions. This leads to her speaking up when she feels that Noah and Matt are trying to take ownership of her,

“Poach? Seriously? Like I’m an endangered white rhino instead of a person? Pretty sure I’m capable of choosing for myself, instead of waiting for you guys to decide who gets me.”

Interestingly only one of the boys apologized for it. If I had been paying better attention to that part, I would have noticed the red flag.

The following day, the four of them meet Naked Ed. Oh my goodness, if I had known he was going to provide the last real bit of comedy in this book, I would have laughed even harder. He was awesome, and I wish he had been a bigger player in this story.

When Lindsay just up and disappears, that’s when I knew something was fishy, and Cadie was probably in danger. I was really annoyed about how she handled that situation though. I mean, I know they weren’t best friends, but by this point, red flags are slowly popping up all over the place. Instead of being worried, and questioning, she’s falling hard for Noah and she’s contemplating sex with him.

I do have to say that Doller treats sex very positively, and she uses it in a very empowering way. So often girls are told that “good girls don’t have sex” and if they do have sex, then they’re sluts or whores. Whereas if a boy has sex, he’s a stud. I really, really hate the double standard. Cadie mentions the conversation that she had with her mother when she was 12 years old.

“Virginity wasn’t something to be lost or won, given or received.”

That quote was very thought provoking, but not quite as much as the next quote.

“And you don’t lose value by having sex.”

So many teenage girls are told that a boy won’t want “sloppy seconds” or that if a girl has sex, she’s worthless. I really think teenage girls need to read this book, just based off of the sex positive message that is in this book. I know the sex positive message isn’t what this story is about, but it is in the story and it’s something that I felt the need to mention.

When Cadie finds out that Lindsay didn’t make it home after a supposed family emergency and also that she had told her family that she was still with Cadie, that’s when Cadie begins to realize that something is not right and that she could be in danger. She begins to wonder if Noah is really all he’s cracked up to be. She begins to wonder if she’s missing something about him.

Near the end of the book, one of the boys labels his cousin as having antisocial behavior disorder, which is basically the same as being a sociopath. But as the book goes on, I realized that this boy was talking about himself and that he has this disorder, and that he’s the sociopath.

“Sociopathy isn’t an affliction Cadie. It’s a gift.”

Chills. All the chills.

This book was awesome. I hadn’t read a really good thriller in a long time and I knew that Doller would deliver in a big way and she did. She delivered a creepy, terrifying book that reminded me of a roller coaster with all the twist and turns. It should come as no surprise that I’m giving this book 5 stars. She was already on my auto-buy list, and I really, really hope she writes another thriller.

Review: NIL Unlocked (NIL #2) by Lynne Matson

Book Title: NIL Unlocked
Author: Lynne Matson
Published Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: YA/Science Fiction
Series: Book 2 in NIL trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
On the island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape—or you die. Rives is now the undisputed Leader of Nil City, but keeping the City united is tougher than ever.

Raiders have grown bolder, supplies are dwindling, and non-human inhabitants have taken a turn toward the deadly. New arrivals cause rifts within the City, putting the Search system at risk, and calling everything Rives knows into question. Desperate for answers, he teams up with the only other person searching for them: Skye, a new arrival with a mysterious past of her own. Soon the duo find themselves locked in a desperate race to save all the residents of Nil—and possibly destroy the island forever. But at what cost? And who will pay the price?

Disclaimer: I won this book in a giveaway.

Review:
Holy crap, I didn’t expect NIL Unlocked to be better than NIL, but it was!
I didn’t mention this in my review of NIL, but my only criticism was that we didn’t get any information on the history of NIL and how it came to be or any other kind of backstory on NIL. Thankfully, in NIL Unlocked, I got some answers. I got answers about NIL and how it worked. In some ways, this was my favorite part of the book.
We wouldn’t have known anything about NIL if it weren’t for Skye. NIL wasn’t a mystery to Skye and although I’d love to say more on that front, I can’t because of how spoilery it would end up being and I really want to avoid spoilers as much as I can. Skye was awesome though and as much as I loved Charley in book one, I loved Skye equally.
As fascinating as Skye was, I was very curious about Rives. I had loved him in NIL and was excited to see what was in store for him. I had loved Thad, but I think I actually loved Rives more. I’m not sure exactly why, but Rives was awesome and he was a leader and he had a whole lot of strength.
Unlike with Charley & Thad, Skye and Rives’ romance didn’t start until the book was nearly over and I think I liked that better. I love slow burn romances and Skye & Rives fit that to a T. Truthfully though, I do wonder if Skye’s NIL knowledge was really what attracted Rives to her. Yeah maybe that’s a bit cynical, but I wonder if Rives would have fallen for her if she didn’t have this “insider information”
The secondary characters were once again, awesome. I loved Jillian and Dex especially and it was because of them, that the ending of this book had me pretty much sobbing into the pages. I wasn’t expecting the feels to be quite as intense in the second book, but in many ways, the feels were more intense. I don’t know how Lynne Matson does it.
I loved this book even more than I loved book one and I will be ordering a finished copy of this book soon. Needless to say, I’m giving it 5 stars and I cannot wait to see where the story leads in the final book.