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: The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey

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Book Title: The Sister Pact
Author: Stacie Ramey
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published Date: November 3rd, 2015
Genre: YA Contemporary
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Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
A suicide pact was supposed to keep them together, but a broken promise tore them apart


Allie is devastated when her older sister commits suicide – and not just because she misses her. Allie feels betrayed. The two made a pact that they’d always be together, in life, and in death, but Leah broke her promise and Allie needs to know why.

Her parents hover. Her friends try to support her. And Nick, sweet Nick, keeps calling and flirting. Their sympathy only intensifies her grief.

But the more she clings to Leah, the more secrets surface. Allie’s not sure which is more distressing: discovering the truth behind her sister’s death or facing her new reality without her.

Disclaimer: I received this book as an e-ARC from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review
Books about sisters are one of many book related things that I love. I love the dynamics that come into play as well as the differences & similarities between the sisters. Books that include some sort of suicide pact are books that I have a morbid fascination with. The idea of a “suicide pact” seems so interesting and bizarre.

Going by the fact that this book had both of those things in it, I should have loved the book. But I didn’t.

First of all, even in death, Leah was a horrible person. A horrible sister who pressured younger sister, Allie, into things she didn’t want to do. Situations that she didn’t want to be in. Among other things, she basically virgin-shamed her little sister.

“You have to grow up. If you can’t with Max, pick someone else. Someone you don’t care about. Then go back to him. Show him you can play with the big boys.”

Apparently losing your virginity proves that you are growing up. Ick. I really don’t like when virginity is tied to respect or maturity levels. That really bothers me and it’s a crappy thing for girls (and guys) to have to worry about.

Leah also had a twisted view of love. Granted neither she or Allie had a good model to look up to. After all, their parents were no longer together thanks to a girl only a few years older than Leah. Their dad had picked this girl, Danielle, over his wife and daughters.

“It’s that nothing matters other than being with this person. Even the things you thought were important, aren’t. Every second you aren’t with this person is like being slowly suffocated.”

That quote worries me. I know so many girls who feel exactly like Leah. So many girls who believe in constant contact and togetherness. That’s not healthy and it worries me that teen girls are reading this.

It’s Leah’s viewpoints on love & sex that get Allie wondering about her own experiences. Is Max really worth all of her thoughts? Is semi-geeky Nick worth more than she initially gives him credit for?

“And I wonder, by giving him what he wants, have I made him want me less?”

That is such a common worry for not only teen girls, but also women as well. We’re told from a very early age that boys want sex. So in the minds of teen girls and some women, once they get sex from you, a guy won’t want you anymore.

Nick tries hard to dispel that worry. He tries hard to make sure that Allie knows how he feels about her and that her decision to have sex with him, has not changed how he feels about her.

And then there’s John Strickland. He turns out to have a connection to Leah that Allie never knew about. Initially, I wasn’t a huge fan of his, but by the time the book ended, I was really liking him and how protective he was towards both Allie and her deceased sister, Leah.

Overall I just wasn’t a huge fan of this book. Some of it I liked, like Nick, John and Allie’s character arc, but a lot of it I didn’t like, like Allie’s parents, Leah, Max and Emery. The pacing was jerky too. Sometimes I would speed through it really quickly and and other times, I’d be reading it very slowly because I was at a part that wasn’t particularly interesting to me. I am giving it 3 stars. The only reason it’s not getting a lower rating is because I enjoyed Allie’s character arc a LOT.

Review: Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern

dbff7-rf5050cBook Title: Rules for 50/50 Chances
Author: Kate McGovern
Published Date: November 24th, 2015
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Genre: YA Contemporary
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Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
A heartrending but ultimately uplifting debut novel about learning to accept life’s uncertainties; a perfect fit for the current trend in contemporary realistic novels that confront issues about life, death, and love.

Seventeen-year-old Rose Levenson has a decision to make: Does she want to know how she’s going to die? Because when Rose turns eighteen, she can take the test that will tell her if she carries the genetic mutation for Huntington’s disease, the degenerative condition that is slowly killing her mother. With a fifty-fifty shot at inheriting her family’s genetic curse, Rose is skeptical about pursuing anything that presumes she’ll live to be a healthy adult—including going to ballet school and the possibility of falling in love. But when she meets a boy from a similarly flawed genetic pool, and gets an audition for a dance scholarship in California, Rose begins to question her carefully-laid rules.

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

Review
This book was totally 100% up my alley. I love reading about and studying rare genetic diseases. Had my math abilities been good, I would have probably gone into genetics. That’s how fascinating I find this stuff. So when I first read the synopsis for this book I got really excited.

I don’t know if I’m more excited about the diversity of this book or about the strong family presence. Can I pick both? Because I want to. Caleb, Rose’s love interest is African American, her best friend Lena is Asian. I loved that about this book. Her parents were still together despite her mom’s illness. That, right there, was amazing to see So often spouses ditch their ill partners because they don’t want to deal with what’s ahead.

Not to mention Rose’s grandma was in the picture. She was helping Rose’s father (her son) care for his wife. I have a close relationship with my own grandma so I loved how present Rose’s grandma was in her life.

I think the one real negative thing I’d have to say about this book was that I didn’t love the romance. Caleb bugged the hell out of me. I know he was constantly stressed out since his mom and two sisters all had Sickle Cell Disease, but sometimes he treated Rose like crap. Yes, she didn’t always treat him well either, but I think this was a case of two teenagers who had a lot of stuff on their plates. Stressful stuff that would have made most adults short tempered. The romance usually felt really forced to me and I was definitely disappointed by that.

And the ending was really anti-climatic for me. I was disappointed by the ending. I was hoping for a different ending. I felt like I didn’t get a whole lot of closure to the story. I wish I could say more about it, but I’m trying to avoid talking about spoilers. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am glad I read it. I am giving it 4 stars.

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
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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.

Blog Tour: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

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Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksThe Book Depository

Synopsis
Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

Review
Normally historical fiction isn’t my thing at all, but when I saw that this takes place in an insane asylum, I knew I had to give it a shot. Stories set in insane asylums are some of my most favorite things in the world.

Grace was awesome. She had been through absolute hell in her own home, but then had been shipped off to an insane asylum when her condition couldn’t be hidden any longer. The condition? Pregnancy. She kept a lot of secrets inside her mind. Secrets that would terrify anyone of sound mind.

She met Falsteed and Reed when the book first began, and they were both instrumental in getting Grace to safety. I really liked Falsteed from what we saw of him, however he was a bit creepy with how he handled certain things.

She was also incredibly insightful, she had an eye for detail. This was the reason among other things, that Dr. Thornhollow took an interest in her. Her work with Thornhollow gave her a purpose. She suddenly was considered useful, not someone to be carelessly tossed away when things didn’t happen the way they “should” have.

It took Grace awhile to trust other people. After all, she had been betrayed by the person who was supposed to protect her and love her. And now, with her gone, she lives in terror for her little sister, Alice. Grace isn’t able to protect her anymore, and in fact, she comes to find out that her sister believes that she is dead.

“Sometimes the loveliest places harbor the worst monsters.”

It takes her awhile to warm up to Nell & Elizabeth, but then she finally begins to let these other two young ladies in, and it’s beautiful. Watching her open up to them, even in small steps was awesome.

I loved the ending to this book. Watching Grace find her voice was so awesome to see. I wasn’t sure if she would actually find it. I wanted her to speak up for herself, and I was worried that she wouldn’t. She had Dr. Thornhollow, as well as other allies with her as she worked to find her voice, to villify the person who hurt her.

“Appearances are everything Grace. As long as no one suspects something, it didn’t happen.”

I fell in love with this book. It was the perfect read for October, and I am so glad I read this one when I did. I absolutely recommend this book. I am giving it 5 stars and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes creepy books.

About the Author
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Mindy McGinnis is a YA author who has worked in a high school library for thirteen years. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a post-apocalyptic survival story set in a world with very little freshwater, has been optioned for film my Stephanie Meyer’s Fickle Fish Films. The companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST was released in 2014. Look for her Gothic historical thriller, A MADNESS SO DISCREET in October of 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books. Mindy is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary.

Author Links
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One winner will win a HarperTeen Horror themed prize pack! US Only.
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Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

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Book Title: Dumplin’
Author: Julie Murphy
Published Date: September 15th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Contemporary
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Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Disclaimer: I received this book as an e-ARC from Balzer & Bray via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review
I loved Julie Murphy’s debut, Side Effects May Vary, so I was excited for this book. I was so excited for body positive messages, and confidence building.

What I wasn’t expecting was how funny Willowdean was. There were parts throughout the book that had me laughing until my sides ached. She had such a healthy outlook on her own life. Her weight wasn’t an issue for her, unlike for her mom. Her mom truly believed that because of Willowdean’s weight, she’d never find a boyfriend, never be truly happy.

“News flash Mom: A man will not cure my troubles.”

Yet, Willowdean does want someone to kiss, to cuddle and to be romantic with, whatever that entails.

“I want a person to kiss hello”

Willowdean also begins to feel awkward around her best friend Ellen. Ellen is preparing to have sex with her boyfriend for the first time. Willowdean sees it as this really big thing that’s about to happen for her best friend, and she feels left out in a weird sense. Like Ellen is so far ahead of her.

“Having sex doesn’t make you a woman. That is so freaking cliche. If you want to have sex, have sex, but don’t make it this huge thing.”

Willowdean also had an aunt Lucy who died before the book began. Lucy had been significantly obese all her life and had never been unable to lose the weight.

Aside from their weight issues, there was something else that tied Lucy and Willowdean together: Dolly Parton. I love country music but I had never listened to a lot of Dolly Parton’s music until I read this book. Now I’m on a serious Dolly Parton kick.  Ellen and her family were also fans of Dolly Parton. That was part of what brought Willowdean and Ellen, together.

Willowdean’s mom was so insistent on getting rid of Lucy’s things at certain parts in the book and it really mad me mad and it made me upset to see Willowdean so upset about it. I really wasn’t a huge fan of Willowdean’s mom whose name I am totally blanking on right now.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance. I tried to see what Willowdean saw in Bo, and he just didn’t appeal to me. I did love his step mom Loraine, though. She was warm, inviting and accepting of Willowdean. I’m not a fan of love triangles at all and this one was weird because Willowdean was bouncing back and forth between Bo and Mitch. I hated the way she treated Mitch. It was like he was her backup guy, someone she turned to when she didn’t think things with Bo would work out.

I also was not a huge fan of how Willowdean treated Ellen when she also signed up for the beauty pageant. I understood why Willowdean wanted to have just this one thing to herself, but I also understood that Ellen wanted to participate. They both had a hand in that ugly fight that began long before the pageant even started.

I did like the friends that Willowdean made. Hannah, Millie & Amanda. They were the social outcasts of tiny Clover City, but each of them was brave enough to try something new. To try and break the barrier of what is considered beauty. I do think Amanda was my favorite though. She was the most reluctant to do the pageant, but she did it anyway.

I did enjoy this book, and I’m really glad the pageant wasn’t a huge part of it. I know I’m probably the minority in that. I am thrilled that accepting yourself, loving yourself and friendships were such big parts of this book. I am going to give this one 4 stars. I do think people should read this book.

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
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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 Accident Season by Moira Fowley Doyle

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Book Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moira Fowley Doyle
Published Date: August 18th, 2015
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Genre: YA Paranormal
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably accident-prone. Some years it’s bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it’s just a lot of cuts and scrapes. They know what they need to do—stock up on bandages and painkillers, cover sharp table edges with padding, banish knives to locked drawers, switch off electrical items. They buckle up, they batten down.

But this accident season—when Cara; her ex-stepbrother, Sam; and her best friend, Bea, are seventeen—none of that will make a difference.

Because Cara is starting to ask questions. And the answers were never meant to be found.

A haunting, untethered, addictive read that perfectly captures that time in our lives when our hearts crack open and the raw secrets of our true selves burst forth—whether we are ready or not.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review
What did I just read?

I’m not even kidding about this. I’m so utterly baffled with this book. I am feeling all sort of things about this book. Good things, definitely.

I know the back of this book said that it was for fans of We Were Liars, but I was not a fan of We Were Liars, so I was worried that this book wouldn’t work for me. Bu I was willing to give it a shot.

I gotta say that The Accident Season was very compelling, and there were characters in this book that were interesting, quirky and they were characters that I was excited to learn about. I wanted to know more about them and what makes them tick.

I got more and more invested in the book as I kept reading. I wanted to know what was really going on. I wanted to know about Alice, Cara, Sam & Elsie. I was curious to know if this was all in Cara’s head or if all of this was actually really happening.

As I kept reading this book, I thought it was similar to Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta and (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn. Both of those aforementioned books, we didn’t find out what was really going on until the very end. That was also true with The Accident Season.

I am going to give this book 4 stars because I really enjoyed the book overall. I didn’t know what to expect with it, but I am really glad I read it. I love books that keep me wanting more and that’s exactly what this book did for me.

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: Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

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Book Title: Future Perfect
Author: Jen Larsen
Published Date: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads
Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.

Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.

But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.

As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?

Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.

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

Review
This book frustrated me from a very early point. At first I was really loving Ashley’s confident voice. Even her obsession with being perfect didn’t really bother me initially. It was her refusal to defend herself to her grandmother that really ticked me off. She claimed to be totally okay with how she looked, but she was so easily swayed by what her grandmother thought.

“It’s not her business. Your body is not her business.”

Thank God Ashley had her friend Laura. Laura at least tried her hardest to make sure that Ashley realized that the decisions about her body were to be made by her and her alone. She also had her boyfriend Hector and her other friend Jolene, neither of them thought weight loss surgery was necessary, and they were angry with her grandmother for offering it in exchange for paid tuition at Harvard. They were even angrier at Ashley for considering it.

Ashley really didn’t understand that her grandmother was not thinking of her best interests at all. She was trying to control Ashley. It was maddening to see Ashley not have a backbone. She needed a backbone. I just wanted to hear Ashley tell her grandmother off. Her grandmother needed to back off, and Ashley needed to make sure that happened. But she was so focused on being perfect that she didn’t realize she was being controlled by her grandmother.

I’m utterly frustrated that Ashley was this quiet, meek teenager. Where was her fire? Where was her her fight? Why didn’t she fight for what she knew was right? If she was truly confident and happy in how she looked, why did she even allow her grandmother to think she had won?

It took her so long to realize that her grandmother wasn’t really thinking of her. She was focusing too much on pleasing society. In society, thin is gorgeous and fat is ugly. She just couldn’t appreciate the granddaughter that she had.

I wish we had seen more of Ashley’s brothers. I think they were interesting and they could have brought some complexity to this story. They brought more about Ashley’s mother into the story. I wish we had seen more of Ashley’s mother in this story. I think there was a lot they didn’t delve into that could have made this book more interesting to me.

“And you’re pissed at Mom for not having gone to Harvard instead of Clara for lying to you?”

When she realized that her grandmother had lied to her, she realized her grandmother wasn’t as perfect as she claimed to be.

She started to become more aware of what she really wanted for herself. She started to realize that she could really be herself, and she didn’t have to be perfect.

But it was all just a little bit too late for me to really care about the characters in this book. The only people I really liked were the secondary characters Laura, Jolene and Ashley’s brothers. So unfortunately I have to give this book 2 stars. It was a total letdown for me in many different ways.