Review: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

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Book Title: Delicate Monsters
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Published Date: June 9th, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary
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Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm & Strange, comes a twisted and haunting tale about three teens uncovering dark secrets and even darker truths about themselves.

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Review
I would love to just spend a day in Stephanie Kuehn’s head because she is freaking brilliant and I cannot imagine what it’s like in her head. She manages to come up with captivating characters with fucked up morals. If I ever need a book that will mess me up completely, I’ll reach for Kuehn’s books and do a reread.

Saying I enjoyed this book sounds weird because the book was really dark, but I love dark books and I really did enjoy this one. I was expecting something a bit more gory. Especially given what people had told me about certain parts of the book. There were some disgusting things in the book. There’s one particular scene that made me squeamish, which is strange because I’m normally not squeamish at all.

I was expecting to struggle with the three POV’s this book had. But I didn’t. Sadie, Emerson and Miles were interesting characters. Characters that made some really bad choices (I’m looking at you Emerson) But they were characters that I wanted to know more about and I love that feeling.

Sadie was always angry, always cruel. Even from a small child, she never had anything  nice to say and it was her father that noticed her cruelty. She was very much a sociopath and sociopaths have always interested me. In Delicate Monsters, we learn exactly how messed up she is and I found her so fascinating. In the beginning, I liked her POV the best, but I slowly grew to enjoy the boys’ POV’s.

Emerson seemed normal, but it’s not until about halfway through the book that we start to learn that he’s not normal. in fact, he’s a sick boy with horrifying proclivities. Yet again, I found him fascinating. His family history was interesting. He still cared about his younger, and sickly brother, so there’s SOME kind of humanity there.

Miles was also very interesting. I kept wanting to know why he was so sick all the time. I kept wondering who was responsible for it. My suspicion turned out to be wrong, so apparently, I’m still not good at figuring out any twists. Someone needs to teach me how to figure them out. He had a lot of darkness inside of him, but I still felt like he had some sort of humanity.

I still don’r know if I even understand this book. It’s the most confusing book of Kuehn’s and it’s also my least favorite. I still recommend it, and I still recommend this author because she’s so brilliant. 4 stars to this book that kept me guessing, and made it impossible for me to read anything else that night.

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.

Blog Tour: Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

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Thicker Than Water
by Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: December 29th 2015
Kensington Books

Summary from Goodreads:
On his own
Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

Add to Goodreads
Buy Links: AmazonBarnes and NobleGoogle Play

Review
I didn’t know much about this book before I sat down to read it. I felt like it had promise and it had so much potential to be awesome. I also tried to avoid other early reviews of this book because I really didn’t want my reading experience to be tainted.

So I dove into this book with an acceptable amount of anticipation and, at first, I was disappointed with it and contemplated DNFing it. I just could not get into it because the pacing was so slow and some of the characters frustrated me. But I wanted this book to be awesome and I could see the potential in the main characters, Charlotte & Tommy.

So I kept reading and it kept getting better. I am SO happy that it improved because it ended up being a captivating read that kept me guessing all the way through.

I know a lot of people had issues with Charlotte and I get why, but I actually really liked her. Yes her family was crazy overprotective and that would have driven me nuts. Given what had happened many years ago to Charlotte’s classmate, I couldn’t totally blame them. She was also very passive and didn’t stand up for herself. That was definitely something that bothered me. But it’s the kind of thing that ALWAYS bothers me about girls (and guys) who are passive & don’t stand up for themselves. Charlotte had a great character arc, so I was able to get over her passivity & pushover-ness.

Tommy’s arc went places I was never expecting it to. I did love the relationship between him and his stepdad and how that unraveled throughout the book. I felt like that was done really well and I was really happy. I was very annoyed with how he was treated initially by the police, investigators etc. That was almost enough to get me to DNF the book, but like I said before, I am really glad I stuck with this book.

I want to talk about more of the book, but I’m not going to spoil things. So all I’ll say, is you need to read this book. It had twists & turns & even some utter mind-fuckery. I am giving this book 4 stars, mostly because of the slow start to this book and the crappy way Tommy was treated by law enforcement.

About the Author
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Brigid Kemmerer was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, and several stops in between, eventually settling near Annapolis, Maryland. Brigid started writing in high school, and her first real “novel” was about four vampire brothers causing a ruckus in the suburbs. Those four brothers are the same boys living in the pages of The Elemental Series, so Brigid likes to say she’s had four teenage boys taking up space in her head for the last seventeen years. (Though sometimes that just makes her sound nuts.)

Brigid writes anywhere she can find a place to sit down (and she’s embarrassed to say a great many pages of The Elemental Series were written while sitting on the floor in the basement of a hotel while she was attending a writers’ conference). Most writers enjoy peace and quiet while writing, but Brigid prefers pandemonium. A good thing, considering she has three boys in the house, ranging in age from an infant to a teenager.

While writing STORM, it’s ironic to note that Brigid’s personal life was plagued by water problems: her basement flooded three times, her roof leaked, her kitchen faucet broke, causing the cabinet underneath to be destroyed by water, the wall in her son’s room had to be torn down because water had crept into the wall, and her bedroom wall recently developed a minor leak. Considering SPARK, book 2 in the series, is about the brother who controls fire, Brigid is currently making sure all the smoke detectors in her house have batteries.

Brigid loves hearing from people, and she probably won’t refer to herself in the third person like this if you actually correspond with her. She has a smartphone surgically attached to her person nearby at all times, and email is the best way to reach her. Her email address is brigidmary@gmail.com.

Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

Giveaway
Giveaway Link

Book Tour Organized by:
YA Bound Book Tours

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Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

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Book Title: Firsts
Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Published Date: January 5th, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from St. Martin’s Griffin via NetGalley.

Review
I think I underestimated the book and it’s importance. Because it is such an important book. It tackles friendships, sexuality and the infuriating truth that are double standards.

Mercedes is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s totally fine. People aren’t going to be okay with the fact that she basically helped these guys cheat on their girlfriends. As someone who has experience with cheating boyfriends, it took me a little while to get my head wrapped around Mercedes’ idea. It was a little uncomfortable to me for awhile, but I pushed through the discomfort because I was so insanely excited for this book.

I was really excited to see strong female friendships, not so much with Mercedes & her friend Angela, but with Mercedes and the new girl, Faye. I actually took to Faye immediately and even though I could tell Mercedes really didn’t want to let anyone else into her life, I was hoping she’d let Faye in. What I wasn’t expecting was the Mercedes/Faye flirtation throughout the book, but oh my god, did I love that.

Tonight was weird. Maybe I’m reading too much into it. This could very well be what regular teenagers do every day. But something was weird. I felt wanted.

What this book also did was explore the rage-inducing double standards that teen girls still experience today. Boys are applauded for having sex, girls are criticized for having sex. Boys are studs and girls are sluts. How does that make any sense? It’s no longer the 1950’s. Big surprise, even girls like sex.

I wasn’t sure how to feel about Angela’s boyfriend Charlie. Alarm bells related to him didn’t go off for a long time. But when they did, they rang like the church bells in The Sound of Music. I started getting a knot in my stomach around 70% through the book, and the knot did not go away through the rest of the book.

I’m torn on the romance aspect. On one hand, I really liked Zach and I loved how good he was to Mercedes. She really needed that. At the same time, I almost feel like the thing with Zach weakened the book for me. Like they were better friends than a couple. I think I’m the only one to feel like this though.

Yes, Mercedes had character flaws, but I think that’s what made me adore her even more. She was flawed, and awesome and I saw quite a bit of myself in her, and that surprised me. I didn’t expect to relate to her, but I did.

“…Nothing you do will make him leave, no matter how many times you push him away. And you’ll never have to be afraid of him.”

This book is so important to all teenagers, both boys and girls. I totally recommend this book to teenagers and adults alike. Give it a shot, it may surprise you like it surprised me.

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.

Stacking the Shelves #86

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This feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Hi guys!

So things have changed drastically over the last month or so. I recently made the decision to start co-blogging with my good friend, Bekka at Pretty Deadly Reviews.  I am undecided on whether or not I will be closing down this blog, but I will keep you all posted on the decision I make.

Anyway, here is my haul for the past month!

Received for Review
-Edelweiss-
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With Malice by Eileen Cook
Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

-NetGalley-
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Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill
The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston
Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz

-Blog Tour-
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Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Library
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Drowning is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley
The Naturals (The Naturals #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Killer Instinct (The Naturals #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz

Have a great week!

Stacking the Shelves #85

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581bc-stsThis feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Hi guys!

This month brought me a lot of different books from different sources. If I tried to tell you where each and every one of them came from, it would be a long list. So thank you to my Secret Sister, the various publishers as well as friends, fellow bloggers and my library.

Bought
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The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu

Received for Review
-Edelweiss-
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The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

-NetGalley-
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Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns & Melinda Metz
In Real Life by Jessica Love
This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
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Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard (sneak peek)
Riders (Riders #1) by Veronica Rossi (sneak peek)
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury (sneak peek)

Publisher
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The Yearbook by Carol Masciola

Blog Tour
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Diamonds are Forever (The Secret Diamond Sisters #3) by Michelle Madow
Half in Love With Death by Emily Ross

Gifted
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A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Infinity Lost (The Infinity Trilogy #1) by S. Harrison
Design the Life You Love by Ayse Birsel
The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Library
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The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Oblivion by Sasha Dawn
Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke

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Cam Girl by Leah Raeder

So let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you plan to soon! Have a fabulous, book filled week, everyone!

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
Standalone
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

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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
Standalone
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.