Posted in Young Adult

Bellamy and the Brute Book Review

Bellamy and the Brute by Alicia Michaels

Published: March 13th 2017 by Clean Teen Publishing

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she’s reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill—including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin’s eldest son, Tate. The former football star and Golden Boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness that has caused deformity…turned him into a real-life monster. Bellamy wants to dismiss these rumors as gossip, but when she’s told that if she takes the job she must promise to never, ever visit the 3rd floor of the mansion, she begins to wonder if there really is some dark truth being hidden there.

Tate’s condition may not be the only secret being kept at Baldwin House. There are gaps in the family’s financial history that don’t add up, and surprising connections with unscrupulous characters. At night there are strange noises, unexplained cold drafts, and the electricity cuts out. And then there are the rose petals on the staircase. The rose petals that no one but Bellamy seems to be able to see. The rose petals that form a trail leading right up to the 3rd floor, past the portrait of a handsome young man, and down a dark hallway where she promised she would never, ever go…

As Bellamy works to unravel the mysteries of Baldwin House and uncover the truth about Tate, she realizes that she is in way over her head, in more ways than one. Can her bravery and determination help to right the wrongs of the past and free the young man whose story has captured her heart?

This month I’ve been reading mainly retellings, and this one so far is probably my favorite of the month. There have been a lot of Beauty and the Beast retellings lately, especially thanks to Disney’s live adaption that was released this past March. I like that Michaels put her own spin to the original and made it very fresh.

This is set during modern day society in a little town in Georgia (very Riverdaleesque). Bellamy is a high school student just trying to survive since everyone thinks her father is crazy and makes fun of her for it. To help out with finances around the house, Bellamy takes a summer job as a nanny for the Baldwin family. (Remember that movie with Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer? Beastly? Kinda got that vibe a little bit) Once she starts working there is really when the plot starts to take shape and move along. As much as I enjoyed the book, it almost seemed as if it was on a rotating checklist. For a few chapters we will focus on the relationship between Bellamy and Tate. Then we will rotate to the ghosts haunting the house. Then we will go back to Bellamy and Tate for awhile. Then back to the mystery. You get the idea. Overall though Michaels tied everything up very neatly and all the different checklists merged into one for the climax. The ending kind of dragged a little bit for me after everything was resolved, but the author sets it up for the next book. Thankfully, the author didn’t leave us on a cliffhanger it’s more of a Nancy Drew type of situation where each book will be it’s own mystery for our MC’s to unravel.

Overall, I really enjoyed how Michaels interwove the original story with her own. She gave us just the right amount of elements from the original that we love and gave her own spin to make a fresh new story. Also, I liked how Bellamy is a person of color and not just your stereotypical white girl with blonde hair main character with parental issues. I also liked how then the author incorporated an inter-racial relationship. As I am part of one myself, it made the story a bit more relatable (minus the ghost seeing part).

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Posted in Young Adult

Lock & Mori: Mind Games Review

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Mind Games (Lock & Mori #2) by Heather W. Petty

Published: December 6th 2016 by Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers

Rating: DNF

Goodreads Summary:

Sherlock Holmes and Miss James “Mori” Moriarty may have closed their first case, but the mystery is far from over in the thrilling sequel to Lock & Mori, perfect for fans of Maureen Johnson and Sherlock.

You know their names. Now discover their beginnings.

Mori’s abusive father is behind bars…and she has never felt less safe. Threatening letters have started appearing on her doorstep, and the police are receiving anonymous tips suggesting that Mori—not her father—is the Regent’s Park killer. To make matters worse, the police are beginning to believe them.

Through it all, Lock—frustrating, brilliant, gorgeous Lock—is by her side. The two of them set out to discover who is framing Mori, but in a city full of suspects, the task is easier said than done. With the clock ticking, Mori will discover just how far she is willing to go to make sure that justice is served, and no one—not even Lock—will be able to stop her.

Mind Games (Lock & Mori, #2)

I should have learned from the first book, but I was hoping that this one would be better. I really only read it because I received it with the first one in my Lit-Cube subscription last month.

I think it was really Mori that just drove me crazy that I had to stop reading it. With her constant back and forth with Lock and thinking that she is superior to everyone else. Mori is just not a relatable character and I have too many books on my TBR shelf to read a book I am not interested in.

Posted in Subscription Box, Young Adult

Lock & Mori Review

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Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori #1) by Heather W. Petty

Published: September 15th 2015 by Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students—one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James “Mori” Moriarty—meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.

Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more…

FACT: Someone has been murdered in London’s Regent’s Park. The police have no leads.

FACT: Miss James “Mori” Moriarty and Sherlock “Lock” Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.

FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.

FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock’s one rule—they must share every clue with each other—Mori is keeping secrets.

OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can’t trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.

Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori, #1)

This wasn’t anything that I expected a modern day Sherlock book to be. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Although this book is called Lock & Mori, it is definitely basically all about Mori. Sherlock is there randomly when needed or not.

This book starts off with Mori who has an eidetic memory, and it’s basically brought up every chapter of the book. Her first introduction to Sherlock is going to fetch him during a fire alarm in his secret lab in the basement of the school (because that makes sense in a high school). Then somehow miraculously they end up in the park late at night together, and decide to crash a crime scene. What do you think they decided to do next?

“We should take the case.”

“‘Take the case’?” I wanted to laugh openly at him then. “Do you think at all before you speak?”

“We could do it. We are clever. The swans on the lake are more clever than those detectives. Perhaps even the trees.”

That’s right, they took the case, and then Mori couldn’t decide if she even wanted to play Lock’s game for most of the book. The only rule they had was to share everything, no secrets. Guess who failed at that, Mori after like the second day of looking for clues. I was expecting the mystery to go for the entire book, but Mori solved it it felt like before half the book was over. From then on I just wanted to strangle her, I thought she was supposed to be really smart?

Want to know the worst part about this book? There was insta-love. To make matters worse, it seemed as if Mori would only kiss Lock to distract him so that she wouldn’t have to tell him her secrets. There was no building of romance, or really character development in this book.

Overall, I would not read this book again. The entire book was kind of boring and slow to begin with, but when you add in the insta-love and lack of character development it’s just not worth it. There are tons of books on my TBR shelf right now that have a much more interesting plot.

Posted in Young Adult

Evergreen Falls Review

Evergreen Falls by Kimberley FreemanIMG_0021

Published: August 26th 2014 by Hachette Australia

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

1926: Violet Armstrong is one of the few remaining members of staff working at the grand Evergreen Spa Hotel as it closes down over winter. Only a handful of guests are left, including the heir to a rich grazing family, his sister and her suave suitor. When a snowstorm moves in, the hotel is cut off and they are all trapped. No one could have predicted what would unfold. When the storm clears they must all keep the devastating secrets hidden.

2014: After years of putting her sick brother’s needs before her own, Lauren Beck leaves her home and takes a job at a Blue Mountains cafe, the first stage of the Evergreen Spa Hotel’s renovations. There she meets Tomas, the Danish architect who is overseeing the project, and an attraction begins to grow. In a wing of the old hotel, Lauren finds a series of passionate love letters dated back to 1926, alluding to an affair – and a shocking secret.

If she can unravel this long-ago mystery, will it make Lauren brave enough to take a risk and change everything in her own life?

Inspired by elements of her grandmother’s life, a rich and satisfying tale of intrigue, heartbreak and love from the author of the bestselling Lighthouse Bay and Wildflower Hill.

This was my June Lit-Cube subscription book, “Roaring 20’s” themed.

“She loved him, too. Mad as it seemed, she loved him, too, and had sine their eyes met that evening in the dining room.”

For the most part I enjoyed this book, I enjoyed Lauren’s timeline a little bit more than the 1926 one. Lauren’s relationship with her family was very relatable, and I enjoyed seeing her finally stand up for herself and get away from her mother. Out of all of the characters in the book, Lauren grew the most and really became a strong, independent person.

“Love was a thunderbolt, crashing down on her with its brilliant, savage force. It was ancient and eternal and it peeled back the mundane layers of the world and showed her the wet, beating heart of reality beneath.”

 I did not enjoy all of the cliches that kept popping every other chapter. For instance, almost every new relationship in the story was an insta-love. Violet and Sam’s relationship was most likely the most annoying one in the entire book. Sam was a very weak, one-dimensional character and as the love interest for Violet, we didn’t really get a sense of who Sam is. Lauren’s relationship with Tomas while sort of insta-love, it wasn’t as annoying as the Violet and Sam’s. For one, Lauren didn’t lose herself in the relationship and actually grew as a character because of it. Although Tomas is just sort of a filler character that helps Lauren grow, he was a lot more likable than Sam as a love interest.

“But she knew what came next.”

The mystery aspect was very appealing when reading the blurb, and it was one of the main reasons why I decided to read this book. I wish the book spent a little bit more time trying to solve the mystery, than going back to Violet’s timeline and letting us see the mystery unfold that way. The “mystery” was also very easy to figure out early in the book and all of the plot twists could be seen way before it ever happened. Even though it was predictable, I liked how Freeman incorporated the two storylines together at the end. The ending went by a lot quicker than the whole book, and I wished there was more.

“Passionately. Once she had thought the word described something different. Something fast and hot, like lightening. Now, she realizes, passion is a deep well, ancient and fathomless.”

Overall, while the book moved a bit too slowly for my liking, I did enjoy it. I wouldn’t say it was a quick read, as I was flipping constantly to see how many pages I had left, but I would suggest at least giving it a chance. So if you like historical fiction mixed in with modern fiction with a hint of female empowerment, then you’ll enjoy this book.

Posted in Arc, Young Adult

Last Seen Leaving Review

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehriglast seen leaving

Expected Publication: October 4th 2016 by Feiwel & Friends

Format: eArc provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

Flynn’s girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

Flynn’s girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can’t answer, and her friends are telling stories that don’t add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January’s boyfriend, he must know something.

But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January’s disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

I really enjoyed this book! It had me on the edge of my seat for most of the mystery. This book was really two in one, first it was the mystery of the disappearance of January and the second part is about Flynn’s acceptance of who he really is.

For most of the book, I thought I knew for sure who killed January, but as the mystery kept unraveling I was proved wrong again and again. I was not expecting the ending to the mystery, and these are the types of books that I really enjoy. It isn’t fun if you can guess the whole plot within the first few chapters, and this one kept you guessing all the way to the end.

When Flynn isn’t trying to be a detective, he is trying to come to grips with his reality and who he is as a person. He has this secret that he kept hidden for most of his life and all of a sudden he just blurts it out when being interrogated and doesn’t know how to proceed from there. His struggle and confusion was very relatable to teens or adults who will/are/did go through the same ordeal. I thought Roehrig handled it very well, and I could see Flynn growing as a character. By the end, Flynn accepted who he is and started leading a much more happier life which was a stark contrast to how he was in the beginning of the book.

If you love mysteries and a character that goes through a tremendous growth by the end, then this book is for you!

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Posted in NetGalley, Young Adult

The Assassin Game Review

The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay27969100

Expected Publication: August 2, 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire

Goodreads Summary:

Who will be left after lights out?

At Cate’s isolated boarding school, Killer is more than a game- it’s an elite secret society. Members must avoid being “Killed” during a series of thrilling pranks, and only the Game Master knows who the “Killer” is. When Cate’s finally invited to join the Assassins’ Guild, she know it’s her ticket to finally feeling like she belongs.

But when the game becomes all too real, the school threatens to shut it down. Cate will do anything to keep playing and save the Guild. But can she find the real assassin before she’s the next target?

Originally published in the United Kingdom by Chicken House in 2015 under title: Killer game.

I found this book for the most part to be really entertaining. Although, it did take awhile for the real “killings” to start, but after it did boy did the book really start to pick up speed. The first half of the book we get the backstory on the game, as well as a little bit about Cate and her friends. After Vaughan arrives, it seems as if Cate just drops her other two friends and the relationships don’t really evolve past that. If it helped the plot, then we saw Cate interact with them but other than that it was like they were acquaintances rather than best friends for the past two years.

Aside from the slow moving plot, in the beginning, I really enjoyed this book. I felt like Nancy Drew trying to solve the mystery before I was the next victim. Although, left to my own devices and following Cate’s judgement, I would not have been able to figure out who the Killer is in the game and the Killer in real life. After the revelation, it totally made sense and I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it sooner.

I liked how at the end, we got to see how Cate was handling the events a few months afterwards. It made her a more believable character that she didn’t just go riding off in the sunset with Vaughan. We saw that she was still affected by the real killer and was suffering from PTSD. I almost wish that this was a series, rather than a stand alone just so that the author could have gone into more detail about life on the island, and the game specifically.

This arc was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Posted in Arc, NetGalley, Young Adult

Gilt Hollow Review

Guilt Hollow by Lorie Langdongilthollow

Expected publication: September 27th, 2016 by Blink.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Willow Lamott’s best friend is a murderer, and no one in the small town of Gilt Hollow will let her forget it. For four long years, she’s tried to fade into the background—but none of that matters when Ashton Keller comes striding into school, fresh out of juvie and fueled by revenge. The moment their eyes meet, Willow no longer feels invisible. Drawn to the vulnerability behind Ashton’s mask of rage, she sinks deeper into his sinister world and begins to question whether he’s a villain, a savior, or both.
Ashton thought he wanted vengeance, until Willow reminded him what he’d been missing. Now he longs to clear his name and become the person she sees in him. But the closer they get to uncovering the truth, the darker the secrets become, and Ashton fears his return to Gilt Hollow will destroy everyone he loves, especially the girl he left behind.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this stand alone book. It was fantastically written, and the characters were very believable. I enjoyed the setting, the minor characters, and the plot of the story (although it did move a tad bit slow in my opinion, but it didn’t bother me as much).

My intention was to uncover the truth and somehow clear my name. But someone’s been working overtime to send me back to jail.”

This story is told by two first person narratives, Ashton and Willow. Their chemistry was palpable through the page and I couldn’t help but root for them.

The mystery behind who really killed Ashton’s friend four years ago gets very convoluted and leaves you guessing until the very end. I got very invested into the who done it aspect, that I read this entire book in one day! The author could have cut some scenes out that were unnecessary, but by the end I didn’t even care.

If you are looking for a good mystery then you should definitely check this book out!

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

This arc was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.