Review: Last Things by Jacqueline West

Last ThingsLast Things by Jacqueline West
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Anders Thorson is a rock god. Okay, not really a rock god. He’s actually a high school kid but he is front-man of a band, Last Things, and they do have a regular gig at a coffee shop in their Northern Minnesota town.

Thea Malcolm is the new girl in town but has quickly become Anders number one fan. She shows up every where he goes, never approaching, just quietly lurking in the background.

When bad things begin to happen to Anders and those closest to him, the first suspect on everyone’s list is Thea.

What’s her deal anyway? She’s so quiet and she lives alone with her mysterious Aunt who everyone suspects of being a witch.

But Thea is harmless, right?

Told in alternating perspectives between Anders and Thea, the reader is quickly tuned in to the fact that there is a lot more going on in this town than meets the eye.

Let’s talk about the woods.

Yes, ‘the woods’. The woods play a prominent role in this story. You definitely feel early on that something is out there. It takes on a presence all of its own. It’s dark and eerie and we all know, that’s my aesthetic.

The atmosphere of this book definitely amped the story for me. I loved getting tiny tidbits of insight into what was really going on without having everything revealed. That may not make much sense but if you read the story, you’ll get it.

This was a fast, fun read. It reminded me a bit of the movie Megan’s Body mixed with a bit of Stranger Things; not a bad combo. I would say it reads on the younger side of YA and may be a great introductory book for someone looking to get into more paranormal reads.

Overall, I was impressed with Jacqueline West’s writing and I would definitely pick up more books from her in the future. This being said, I did feel the ending was a bit rushed. I could have done with a bit more explanation of the powers involved in the resolution.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Greenwillow Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to get my hands on this early and provide my opinion. This is out now guys, so grab a copy today and let me know what you think!

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Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While attending a Spring Break party, Starr Carter, runs into her best childhood friend, Khalil. They haven’t seen each other in a while and Starr is happy to catch up with him. They used to be real close but drifted apart once Starr started attending a private school out of their neighborhood.

After a violent incident erupts at the party, Khalil offers to give Starr a ride home, which she accepts. On the way, they get pulled over. A nightmarish scene then plays out in front of Starr’s eyes. Khalil removed from the car and ultimately gunned down in the street by a police officer. Badge number 1-1-5.

The rest of the books follows Starr in the aftermath of this killing; what she goes through, what her family goes through and what her community goes through.

There is nothing that I can write that hasn’t been written before in regards to this book.

It’s so important, so well written and so needed.
I loved it beginning to end.

Believe the hype. If you haven’t picked this up yet, please do.
I’m so glad that I did. As an aside, I listened to the audiobook while following along in my hardcover edition. As I already knew, but maybe you don’t, Bahni Turpin is a goddess. She is such a great narrator, bringing stories to life.

I will definitely be picking up On the Come Up very soon! Thank you for writing this, Angie Thomas.

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Review: Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer

Saving MeghanSaving Meghan by D.J. Palmer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

15-year old, Meghan Gerard, is a very sick girl.
Or is she?

Her mother, Becky, insists there is something really wrong with her but after numerous specialists, and countless tests, there is no definitive diagnosis. In fact, Becky’s track record on dragging Meghan to a million different doctors has started to attract attention.

One doctor in particular, calls her out on it. Dr. Nash, a GI specialist, suspects Munchausen syndrome by Proxy as a cause for Meghan’s mysterious symptoms and she is not going to sit by while Meghan is further harmed.

Dr. Nash sets up a series of events that forces the removal of Meghan from her parent’s home. While this may seem brash, Dr. Nash feels that based on the totality of events, it could also be the best thing to ever happen to Meghan.

The premise behind this book is super intriguing and I wanted to love it. Unfortunately, overall, I was underwhelmed.

It just seemed to drag on and on. I couldn’t stand Becky, or Meghan really, and while I am not one who has to love my book characters, I honestly couldn’t have cared less what was wrong with Meghan.

There were also some fairly far-fetched plot points toward the end that definitely had me rolling my eyes. This being said, the writing itself was strong so I wouldn’t be opposed to reading future books by this author. This one just didn’t seem to stand out for me.

As we all know, there’s a reader for every book and a book for every reader.

Maybe this will work for you.
Pick it up. See if you can figure out who to believe.
It will definitely have you guessing.

Thank you so much to the publisher, one of my favorites, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. As always, I appreciate the opportunity to share my opinion.

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Review: King of Fools (Shadow Game #2) by Amanda Foody

King of Fools (The Shadow Game, #2)King of Fools by Amanda Foody
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amanda Foody.

Amanda Foody.
I will never be the same again.


Picking up directly after the final events of Ace of Shades, this book, the second in the Shadow Game Trilogy, is so full of action and political intrigue it left my head spinning!

We see the return of our favorite characters from the first book, Enne, Levi, Lola and Jac, and get to meet some great new characters as well.

Welcome, Tock, my sweet little bomber. ((who I picture as Michelle Rodriguez…you’re welcome.))

New deals, alliances and deceptions are made, with the final scenes shaking New Reynes to its foundation.

I was really impressed with the maturation of Foody’s writing for this one. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the first book but ultimately ended up having some issues with the magic system and world building. All of those slight criticisms are completely absent with this book.

The plotting in this is seamless, the world lush and bold; the magic system didn’t feel as prevalent in this one and I never felt confused by what was there. I look at this as a fairly evident improvement over the first novel and I hope other people feel the same way.

In addition to the growth I feel I have witnessed for the author, the growth in these characters was tremendous as well. Enne and Levi both have strong character arcs, Enne most of all. The strategies and ambitions they both show, man, so good.

If you are a Slytherin like me, this series is not to be missed. Also, if you were just okay with the first book, I really hope you continue on. I do not see how this second book could disappoint!

Now, the question of how the heck am I going to survive until the third book is released!?

Thank you so much to the publisher, Harlequin TEEN/Inkyard Press, for providing me with an early copy of this to read and review. You know I will be knocking on your door as soon as I know there are review copies of Book 3!

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Review: Internment by Samira Ahmed

InternmentInternment by Samira Ahmed
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This hurts my heart.
I wanted so much to love this. It was one of my most anticipated reads for the first part of the year.

I did not like this.
I’m crushed.

One reason I was so excited for this book was the exploration of topics and perspectives that I think are so important and need to be included more often.

This book did touch on many issues that are salient in today’s culture, such as: Islamophobia, xenophobia, ‘us vs. them’ mentality, the politics of fear, the importance of resistance movements to initiating change, black op sites, disappeared peoples, the illegal detainment of individuals and the abuse/neglect and torture of detainees.

All of this stuff.
Yes. Let’s see more of it, particularly from those peoples or populations most affected.

My issue with this was purely in execution. The first 20% was so gripping. The circumstances were terrifying. I was hooked.

Then it just lost me. Layla, the main character’s, fixation on her boyfriend, the storyline involving the guard, Jake, the dialogue.

Don’t get me started on the dialogue.

In summation, this was a disappointment for me. I still think the content is important and I hope people continue to read this and discuss it. Maybe I am in the minority here with this opinion. As I always say, there is a reader for every book! Sadly, this one just didn’t work for me.

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Review: The Last by Hanna Jameson

The LastThe Last by Hanna Jameson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Jon Keller is attending an academic conference at the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland on the day the bombs fall. Nuclear war has broken out and cities all over the world have been decimated. Through early news alerts he learns hundreds of thousands of people have been killed.

Jon’s wife and two children are home in San Francisco but he can’t really worry about that now, he needs to focus on his own survival. Jon and twenty other survivors hunker down in the relative safety of the hotel and that’s truly where our story begins.

A historian by trade, Jon takes it upon himself to begin writing the account of the survivors and that is how the narrative is told. For me, this worked so well as a way to tell this story. I loved the feel of it and how we were able to learn not just what was going on currently but also a bit of the survivor’s back stories, as well as some of the history of the hotel itself.

While opening up the top of some water tanks in an effort to start catching rain water, they find the body of a dead girl. It is clear she ended up in the tank by nefarious circumstances and Jon becomes obsessed with finding out who killed her. He starts a legit investigation and that is how he focuses most of his energy.

Tensions are running high and the survivors begin to form alliances and develop a social system unto themselves. When supplies begin to dwindle and winter is approaching the survivors start to send out mini-expeditions in search of food and other supplies. As you can imagine, these are dangerous undertakings and add quite a bit of tension to the plot.

I had a great time reading this book. I was absolutely entertained the whole time. I felt there was just the right level of tension the whole way through to keep you on the edge of your seat. I loved the exploration of people pushed to their limits and how they would organize themselves in order to function with some baseline of decency.

The last little bit seemed a little rushed to me but I wasn’t disappointed with how it ultimately turned out. I would recommend this one to anyone who likes post-apocalyptic stories. This is nice and modern and fitting for our times. Very well done!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to reading more by Jameson in the future!

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Review: Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby

Hurricane SeasonHurricane Season by Nicole Melleby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fig may look like any other 6th grader but she is struggling to stay afloat. She lives alone with her father, a once renowned pianist, who is living with bipolar disorder. As a consequence of this, Fig’s role is often more one of parent than child.

Regardless of daily struggles, Fig loves her father with her whole heart and she knows that he loves her too. He is trying his hardest, he really is, but without any sort of outside assistance or treatment, they are barely getting by.

After an embarrassing incident at school, one of Fig’s concerned teachers ends up contacting Child Protective Services. Now being watched by a social worker, Fig feels even more pressure to maintain their household, projecting as much normalcy as she can.

During an art class, she learns a bit about Vincent Van Gogh and his mental health issues. She can see similarities between Van Gogh’s personality and her father’s so she decides to find out all she can about him in an effort to better understand how her father’s mind works.

Through all of this, Fig is also going through things any 6th grader would go through. Feeling out of place at school, tension with some friends and discovering her own sexuality.

This book is so beautiful and pure. I adore Fig with my whole heart. She was such a precious little bean who is wise beyond her years. Her relationship with her best friend, Danny, was just so precious, as was her crush on Hannah, the girl who works at her local library.

I was very impressed with the writing and feel that Melleby does a seamless job of inserting important topics into the narrative without them seeming forced. The story felt very organic and real.

I was a legit emotional mess upon finishing this. It was just gorgeous. The strength of the bond between Fig and her father. His will to overcome and work through his illness any way he could, it was…ugh…no words. My heart is full.

I would recommend this to anyone. Even though this is a Middle Grade story, I think this can absolutely be enjoyed by readers of all ages!

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Review: Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

Anger Is a GiftAnger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an absolutely engrossing story.

I don’t think I will ever ‘review’ this.
I don’t think it is my place to review this.

This is a hard story to read but one that needed to be told and heard.

This one will be going on my ‘books everyone should read in a lifetime’ list.

Taken from the synopsis on Goodreads: “A story of resilience and loss, love and family, Mark Oshiro’s Anger is a Gift testifies to the vulnerability and strength of a community living within a system of oppression.”

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Review: Second Lives by P.D. Cacek

Second LivesSecond Lives by P.D. Cacek
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

My exact thoughts upon completing this:

Eight people die.
Four come back but not as they were before. Or should I say WHO they were before.

Intriguing premise, right?
It certainly is and I think Cacek did a wonderful job of weaving this highly detailed tale together.

The writing was very solid. You can definitely tell that Cacek is an experienced author.
Each chapter was like a short story unto itself. It was quite impressive. For those of you who enjoy short story collections, I feel like this book could really work for you.

Creative and unique, this story made me really sad. I feel like it is suppose to be a story about hope, love, relationships and sacrifice for others but honesty, it bummed me out. Some of the characters end up in fairly hopeless circumstances and are forced to begin again with no choice.

I thought going into this that it was a horror novel but after reading it, I wouldn’t personally classify it as such. It seemed more speculative fiction to me. There were a few chilling moments, mostly due to the thought of imagining something like this actually happening to you or a loved one.

We get a couple of hints throughout that the events of this story are a phenomenon occurring around the world but this book focuses on patients in one hospital. They are all strangers but through various doctors have their cases ultimately connected. The book seemed to be broken up into three distinct parts: learning about each character, the soul shuffle and the aftermath. I liked the format a lot and thought it was an agreeable way to present the story.

Other than that, I can really not say too much more without giving anything away. I think if you like eccentric stories that explore life’s darker side, you should give this one a shot. I definitely am interested in chatting about this with some other bookworms, so if you ever read it, message me!

A big thank you to the publisher, Flame Tree Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity!

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Review: The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) by Maureen Johnson

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2)The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Dear Maureen Johnson,

How dare you?

Truly devious of you to slay me with yet ANOTHER cliffhanger ending!

I had many thoughts whilst reading this, the second installment of the Truly Devious trilogy. There was this:

Followed by this:

Wrapped up like this:

Okay. I still love you but you hurt me.

Kindest Regards,


Okay, y’all, let’s try an actual review.
That ending!?!?

I really wasn’t expecting that, even though Ms. Johnson has played me like that before.

I was totally invested in this. I loved being back with Stevie and the rest of the cast at Ellingham Academy. We got to meet some new folks and have a few puzzle pieces filled in as far as the Ellingham cold case went.

I really enjoyed that aspect of the story again. Alternating timelines between past and present is an aspect I always seem to enjoy in a story. I feel like it keeps me more engaged than sometimes a single, linear storyline will.

If you enjoyed the first book, I think you will continue to do so with this. Honestly though, I did not love this quite as much as the first book.

I think part of my swooning over book 1 was being new to Ellingham Academy and learning about the place, the history and all of the people. We had less of that excitement in this one, at least for me.

Does this book suffer from the dreaded ‘middle book syndrome’?
Maybe a little.

Calm down.
Not much, just a teeny-tiny bit.

I can tell you that I am completely stoked for the conclusion to this trilogy and will definitely be ordering it to add it to my bookshelves!

Side Note: Really hoping the cover is a nice, deep green.
That would make my Slytherin heart so damn happy.

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