Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin General UK for an ARC of this book! I read this September 26-27, 2020 and it will be released February 25, 2021.
I think this might be the most excited I’ve ever been to receive an ARC. I usually wait until closer to the release date to read my ARCs, but I was so pumped about this one that I started it immediately and didn’t put it down until I was finished, within 24 hours! I am a HUGE fan of Cara Hunter and just don’t understand why she’s not more popular because she is amazing.
This is technically the fifth book in a series that follows DI Adam Fawley. Each book can be a standalone because the case that he investigates is different in each one, but I recommend starting the series at the beginning because the personal lives of the detectives progresses in each book. The case in this one focuses on a college student accusing a teacher of sexually assaulting them. The twist – the student is male and the teacher is female. There is also a podcast investigating a decades old sexual assault case, convinced that the person who went to jail , Gavin Parries, was actually innocent. This case has a close connection with DI Adam Fawley, which was revealed in the fourth book.
The writing style is so amazing, it keeps me turning pages because the sections are just short enough that you want to read one more one more one more. Plus the scene changes so often that you have to know what happens next to every character and every storyline. And there are severalllll storylines going on here, the main ones being the alleged sexual assault and the podcast/Gavin Parries thing, but there are also several side storylines with the side characters. I absolutely love how every side character has a storyline and a backstory but it’s never confusing or hard to keep straight. It’s so detailed and yet so effortless. It’s one of my favorite things about Cara Hunter‘s books.
I just love how I never know how one of these books is going to go. I definitely had some theories but I was still surprised at how everything played out. I love how I can never guess the ending of a Cara Hunter book!
I am never disappointed with these books and I hope there’s going to be even more! If you love mysteries, thrillers, unguessable endings, and police investigation, you should definitely read these books!
Thanks to NetGalley and Skyscape for an ARC of this book! I read this book September 19-23, 2020 and it was released October 6, 2020.
This trilogy takes place in a world where, for environmental and government control reasons, it is illegal to have more than one child. That is very unfortunate for identical twins Ava and Mira, who for 17 years have been living as the same person, taking turns out in the real world. Eventually they join a rebellion set on ending “The Rule of One.” I read the first two books last year, and thought that this third book was a good conclusion to the series. My review does not contain spoilers for this book but may contain slight spoilers for the first two books in the series.
In my review of The Rule of Many, I said that I felt like this series was going to blend in with all the other YA out there and that I won’t remember the series for long. Ironically, when I started this book I could barely remember anything that had happened and was so lost. I remembered the main characters and some major things that had happened, but every other side character I had no memory of, including ones that had main perspectives in this book. As I read it started to come back to me, but I do think my prediction was right when I say this series was a little forgettable.
I like the “twins in a world where it’s illegal to have more than one child” storyline that it started off with in The Rule of One. I thought that was pretty unique and interesting, but once they revealed themselves and started the rebellion against the government, it started to feel like the epitome of typical YA. I liked the storyline and the characters, but I feel like I’ve read this book a million times before. There was nothing to make it stand apart from a sea of YA stories that are exactly this storyline.
The first book was definitely the best one in the series. While I did overall like the trilogy, it was nothing special. I’d definitely recommend it to a fan of teen dystopian stories.
Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for an ARC of this book! I read this September 7-13, 20202 and it was released September 15, 2020.
I really liked The Lost Queen a couple years ago. I absolutely love the concept of finding the real historical people who inspired Merlin and Arthur and all those people from legend. Languoreth is an incredible historical character and it’s a shame that she has been largely forgotten, so this author bringing her to life has been incredible. You can also tell that she did an insane amount of research and I really applaud that. Especially considering this is not a widely researched time in history, you know she had to do some serious digging.
All that being said, the description of this book sounds a lot more interesting than the book actually is. I do feel like part of this might be me. I think it’s a case of the author and I are both interested in these people and this time period, but were interested in vastly different aspects of the story. Just when something interesting was happening from my perspective, she’d shift the focus to something that she was interested in. This explains why I was really into the story at moments, but then would lose interest quickly.
For example, there’s a scene of some warriors preparing for battle, recruiting help, planning out how they will get into the enemy camp, and then just when they get inside, the chapter ends and the next chapter jumps ahead to years later! I thought we were building towards a battle, but apparently that wasn’t the focus of the chapter from the author’s perspective.
Another complaint, that goes along with my last thing is that I was super invested in learning about the real people Languoreth and Lailoken. Like I said, this author did incredible research about their real actions was absolutely fascinating to me. It’s what drew me to the book. I know it’s historical fiction, but the best historical fiction to me is expounding on real events. So finding out in the author’s note that while Angharad was the name of Languoreth’s daughter, she likely died as a child and NOTHING that happened to her in this story has any basis in history was disappointing. Because to me the whole point of this trilogy is expounding on this little known history so to take up over a third of the book with the perspective of a basically invented character seems like missing the point to me.
All in all I like the idea of this series but I’m not sure if I will read the third book. It kind of deviated from what I was hoping for and the books are so long. But still, I think Signe Pike is incredibly talented and dedicated to this subject, and I seriously applaud her for that.
September was an unusually amazing month. I want to list basically every single book I read, but I’ll try to keep my feels on each one short!
Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz – Actual rating 4.5 stars. This book was absolutely perfect in what it set out to be. It is faithful to the original story while being an extremely clever retelling. I just love love loved it. I didn’t expect to feel so emotional about the ending, but I did because it was perfect. Seriously I can’t express how clever this book is. If you are a fan of Little Women book or movie, you should definitely read this book!
Majesty by Katharine McGee – This was an excellent sequel! I really love these characters. I absolutely loved the storyline as well. 90% of romances are pretty predictable, these two people who meet at the beginning are going to be in love by the end. So when I find a romance where I actually can’t guess the ending and don’t know where it’s heading, I am hooked. This story had twists and turns and multiple love interests for all the characters that it always kept me on my toes. I was satisfied at the conclusion for the most part but still have a few questions, so I’d also love a third book!
Hamilton: the Revolution – I started reading this book in ebook form and liked it so much that I decided to purchase the hardcover. This book is GORGEOUS. It has full color, full page photographs, rough edges, pages from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s notebook as he was figuring out song lyrics, drawings of costumes, and more. It’s an absolutely beautiful book and I am beyond thrilled to own it. I, like everyone else, have bought into the hype that is Hamilton. But this book proves that Hamilton is not just a cool play with good music. This book dove deep into the story of how this incredibly unique show came into existence, the historical accuracy, and the incredible incredible INCREDIBLE lyrics. I love love loved the footnotes on the song lyrics, that was probably my favorite. Getting a glimpse into the amazing mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner– I love Amie Kaufman and I loved this book! I thought this book was so unique and clever. All in all this was excellent written with characters I wanted to root for, a really well-imagined and unique world, and an exciting and unpredictable storyline. I can’t wait for the next one!I loved the two cultures’ different outlook on things, especially technology. There were definitely some twists and turns I was not expecting in this book!
Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi – I have really liked this series! The first book was pretty good, but they only got better from there. I have loved getting to know these characters and this world. If you like romance with a side of dystopia, these books are for you.
Animal Farm by George Orwell – This book is absolutely genius. I found myself not wanting to put it down. It’s a short book too so I absolutely flew through it and read it in one sitting. It’s a good story on it’s own, the animals taking over the farm, and it’s a clever commentary on human nature. BUT it gets even more clever when you realize every animal has a real life human counterpart. George Orwell was an incredible writer. It was so good! I’m so so happy that I read this.
ARCs this month:
The Forgotten Kingdom by Signe Pike – I really liked The Lost Queen a couple years ago. I absolutely love the concept of finding the real historical people who inspired Merlin and Arthur and all those people from legend. But I was let down by several aspects of this sequel. You can tell the author did an insane amount of research on a time period where there is not widely researched, and I seriously applaud her for that, but I just think that I was interested in a different aspect of this time period than the focus of this book. Definitely a case of it’s me not you, book.
The Whole Truth by Cara Hunter – I absolutely LOVE Cara Hunter and want everyone to read her books. I can never guess how it’s all going to play out. She is one of my favorites!! This book also goes in the list of Favorites this month because I seriously loved it and read it in less than 24 hours.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC of this book! I read this book August 27-30, 2020 and it was released September 15, 2020.
Molly Clarke’s car is found abandoned on the side of the road, and then a note is found in a hotel room saying that Molly has had enough of her family troubles and has walked away. The note ends “don’t look for me.” The reader, however, knows that Molly is really being held hostage by an unidentified madman and his slightly crazy 8 year old daughter.
I really really enjoyed this book. One thing I especially loved about it that made it stand out from other missing person thrillers is that the whole time Nic is searching for her Molly, her mom, and wondering what happened to her, we actually have alternating chapters from Molly’s perspective. So the reader knows exactly when Nic is pursuing a wrong lead and that made the search that much more intense. Molly’s chapters also had such a high creep factor, especially Alice, the creepy kid who may or may not be in on the kidnapping plot.
I really loved the mystery. I was constantly guessing who was responsible for Molly’s kidnapping, everyone in this little town seemed suspicious. I wasn’t shocked by everything that was revealed but I really liked the way it all played out.
All in all this is a great thriller with little to no trigger warnings, while still being exciting, creepy, and super tense. I was sometimes on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen. Some aspects of the ending definitely surprised me and it did not all go the way I was predicting. I’m a fan of Wendy Walker for sure and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press Wednesday Books for an ARC of this book! I read this book August 22-26, 2020 and it was released September 1, 2020.
What an awesome, nautical adventure. It follows Fable, who was abandoned as a child on a remote island and had to learn to fend for herself. She is eventually able to enlist the help of a young ship captain named West to help her get off the island and find her powerful father to demand her rightful place on his crew.
I thought this book was really well-done. I wasn’t hooked right away, it took me maybe 50% to really get hooked. The beginning was a lot of world-building and introducing the characters, which I thought was all really well done. I adored Fable’s character. I also really liked learning about her backstory and her sad relationship with her father. I thought the concept of a gem sage was also really interesting and I liked that there was a little smidge of fantasy in this book without being over the top.
But once West was introduced and the adventure started happening I was became really really invested in the story! The world just came alive and I could picture the ships and the sea and all the things that were happening. I also came to LOVE West and Willa and all the rest of the crew of the Marigold. By the end I just couldn’t put it down and now I’m anxiously awaiting Namesake!
This book did remind me of a YA version of The Bone Ships by R.J. Barker, minus the dragons and some of the more gory bits. I think fans of that story would also really enjoy this book. It had a similar vibe with ship life and the sea-faring adventures.
All in all I am so happy I read this book. The STUNNING cover totally drew me in, it’s truly one of the prettiest covers I’ve seen in a long time. But the story absolutely delivered. Can’t wait to read the next one!
I won a print ARC of this book thanks to BookishFirst and Tor/Forge Books! I read this book July 22-August 2, 2020 and it was released September 15, 2020.
This incredible book follows Kira Navárez, who discovers some of the first tangible evidence of extraterrestrial life…a dust that then begins to take over her body. This is just the beginning of a beautifully written, 880 page (yes, it’s long!) epic space adventure that I could not get enough of.
Where do I start with a book this long? Actually, the length is a good place to start. When this book came in the mail, I’m not gonna lie, I was intimidated. It’s huge. But I think the fact that it took me under a week and a half with no ebook and even more so no audiobook speaks volumes about how much I enjoyed reading it. (For comparison, the same height Outlander book is 627 pages and took me over 2 weeks with an audiobook.) The pages just flew by. I was so immersed in the story that I never ever felt like it dragged or that it was lasting forever. I always looked forward to picking it up. It covers so much time, over a year, and I think every scene is necessary. It was actually kind of refreshing and bold that Christopher Paolini was like I have this epic story to tell and I’m not doing a trilogy. One book.
Ok, so the world. It’s awesome. At first glance it is very much our world, but in the future. But man, the more into the book I got the more I just marveled at Christopher Paolini‘s mind. This dude is a deep thinker. All you have to do to realize this is take a look inside the glossary at the back. Ok. This is an actual entry: NOMATI: polyp-like animals native to the Arctic regions of Eidolon. Every solar eclipse, they detach from their anchor point (usually a rock) and hop fourteen times. Reason as yet unknown. THIS IS NOT IN THE STORY AT ALL. He just…came up with it. And I mean, not everything is this silly. But truly, I don’t know if Christopher Paolini is a genius or stark-raving mad. Probably both. The best authors are.
I guess my point is that the world is incredibly detailed. So detailed that he’s thought of details that have no bearing on the story. And I say this in the best possible way. Everything in the story is there for a reason, there’s no overload of unnecessary info (again, a slight comparison with Outlander). But in his mind he knows all of this background info and small details about random animals and governments and political organizations and atmospheres and languages and who knows what else. It makes the world COME ALIVE and feel so real.
And the best part is that all of the world-building is dropped into the story so so naturally. There is definitely no huge infodump. We discover things exactly the way we would in the real world. One example that comes to mind is the Entropists. Kira walks by them and says oh look, there are Entropists on this ship. We as the reader are then wondering, who are the Entropists? How does she know that these people belong to that organization? But we don’t find out the answers to those questions until pages later when Kira has a conversation with them. I don’t know if I’m making sense but it was so well-done. It really was the perfect example of showing instead of telling. The writing style was absolutely perfect.
I really really love the tech in this world. The alien elements obviously make this world different than our own, but the futuristic tech was so cool. I loved things like overlays (basically all texting, news articles, videos, etc. EVERYTHING is inside your head), medifoam (instantly stops bleeding, protects wounds until they can be properly looked at), Stimware (the future of caffeine, literally makes you feel like you had a full night’s rest without sleeping), and so so so much more. And just like the culture and the aliens all of this tech was effortlessly dropped into the story in a real world way. It all felt so real.
I came to love theses characters. Kira is obvious, she’s the main character, but I really felt all the feels along with her. That girl goes through some stuff in this book. I really came to love the crew of the Wallfish, Falconi, Sparrow, Hwa-jung, Trig, Nielson, Gregorovich. Every character was so different from each other and had likes and dislikes and backstories and I know I sound like a broken record but it was just so well-written and well done. Even the Soft Blade felt like a character, without actually speaking, it had feelings and bonded with Kira in such interesting ways. I think my favorite character was Gregorovich. Speaking of tech, the concept of a shipmind is kind of amazing. He sort of reminded me of AIDAN from Illuminae, but what makes him unique is he’s a REAL HUMAN BRAIN taken out of his body and grown to incredible intelligence and also semi-insanity. Seriously, some of the scenes with Gregorovich were just ahh amazing.
I don’t know what else I can say. There are a lot of moving parts and characters in this book. It covers a lot of time and a lot of actual distance in the galaxy. It was a great mixture of adventure/action and slowed down characterization/conversations. And again, it’s a huge book but I never actually felt like it was too long.
The storyline isn’t full of twists or reveals. I was sometimes surprised at the direction it went but mostly this is just an adventure through space. The end was definitely satisfying. It felt like an ending and I love the direction it went. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if a sequel grows from here. There are several things mentioned throughout the story that felt significant but were never explained, as well as a few entries in the glossary that just say [[Invalid Input: Entry Not Found]] which definitely makes me think there’s more to come. I have questions about the Old Ones and the Wranaui (what the heck is the ripple??) that I’d definitely like answers to, and I want to know what happens after the last chapter as well. So yes, even after this 880 page monstrosity, I’m left wanting more. That, more than anything I’ve said in this review, speaks to Christopher Paolini‘s talent. Can’t wait to see what he comes out with next.
Again Again by E. Lockhart– I kind of read this book on a whim, and I expected to like it but wow. I did not expect this to become one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. It absolutely blew me away. I WILL be rereading this, and probably soon. It has poetry, which I have decided that I love when it’s used within a narrative. It’s also got this crazy, non-linear storytelling method where we relive some of the same scenes in multiple parallel universes. I can see why this could be confusing, but I have never read another book like this and it was so beautiful and tragic and I could not put it down. I do not believe in the multiverse, but I’ve always been fascinated by it. I do believe in the idea of it, that every big or small decision we make each day could lead our lives to vastly different outcomes. As I said, I don’t actually believe those different outcomes are literally playing out in parallel universes, but I just LOVE books that explore that idea. This book played with that idea SO PERFECTLY. And I don’t think I can fully express how TOUCHING this book was. It was sad and wonderful and tragic and hopeful and touched all my emotions. I didn’t know what I was getting into with this short book but I want to recommend it to everyone. I want to read it again and again (ha!). It is so beautifully written, seriously some of the sentences were just so beautiful I found myself highlighting and highlighting. It thought-provoking and touches all the emotions. I loved every second of reading it and I can’t wait to read it again.
Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover – Colleen Hoover is one of my favorite authors for a reason, and that’s saying something coming from someone who would not rank the romance genre as one of my favorite genres. The thing is, Colleen’s writing is so fantastic that anything she writes, I love. Her words and characters just completely suck you in and don’t let you go until you are suddenly at the end of the book. And her books are not predictable, which is a huge problem with the romance genre in general for me. There’s always some kind of twist you don’t see coming. I just loved Beyah and Samson and their stories. I really liked the setting too, it makes me want to visit Bolivar Peninsula. The beach and the ocean and the stilt houses were as much a part of the story as the characters. And again, the writing deserves another mention. While I did like this story, it didn’t blow me away like some of Colleen’s other books. It touched my emotions but I wasn’t emotional while reading it. That being said, the writing was SO BEAUTIFUL and I seriously highlighted the heck out of this book. Sometimes I had to read sentences several times because I just loved them so much. Although the story isn’t my favorite of Colleen’s, I really think the writing may be my favorite of all her books.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson– This was a really clever, well-written book. I absolutely LOVE that it’s a YA murder mystery, a pretty uncommon genre. It had all the twists and mystery and excitement you expect from a murder mystery without some of the more gory bits. I highly recommend it to all ages. One thing I loved about this book was the characters. All the characters were so real and so layered. I liked that even the victim was not the innocent “dead body” that was just a mystery to solve, she was a real person with a not so innocent backstory. Another thing I loved about this story is that there were SO many suspects and everyone with means and motive that I was never able to develop a fully formed guess as to who was really behind Andie’s murder. And the twists at the end definitely took me by surprise. It was super twisty! And of course, I just love when a book uses other formats to tell a story, in this case it was maps, texts, interview transcripts, and more. I thought this book was unique, twisty, and a lot of fun to read. I definitely get the hype!
ARCs this month:
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini – I actually got a sampler of the first 10 chapters (over 200 pages) through NetGalley, and then won a print ARC of this through Bookish First. When this book came in the mail, I’m not gonna lie, I was intimidated. It’s huge. But I think the fact that it took me under a week and a half with no ebook and even more so no audiobook speaks volumes about how much I enjoyed reading it. I think Christopher Paolini has an incredible amount of talent and I think this book is going to become insanely popular!
Fable by Adrienne Young – This was an awesome nautical adventure! The STUNNING cover totally drew me in, it’s truly one of the prettiest covers I’ve seen in a long time. But the story absolutely delivered. Can’t wait to read the next one!
Don’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker – I really really enjoyed this book. It constantly kept me guessing and I really liked the way it all played out. It was exciting, creepy, and super tense.
Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for an audio ARC of this book! I read this July 20-23, 2020 and it was released July 28, 2020.
This incredible story follows Anna, a reporter asked to cover a story in the village where she grew up, only to realize that the victim is a childhood friend. DCI Jack Harper is also assigned to the case, but doesn’t want anyone to know that he also knew the victim. The perspectives alternate between Anna and Jack, there are secrets galore, and I never knew who to trust.
This book was so great! I really love Alice Feeney. Her books always deliver a twist that I never see coming. While I still think I liked Sometimes I Lie a little bit more, this one was still fantastic. She has a way of writing that you just never know who is quite trustworthy and who is telling the truth and what is really going on until the very end. Things were slowly revealed throughout this book in a way that made all the puzzle pieces fit together. This is the first book in a long time where the twist actually made me want to go back and reread certain parts knowing what I know at the end.
The audiobook deserves special mention as well. I absolutely love that NetGalley is doing audio now and this one was especially great. Both readers had pleasant voices that were easy to listen to. They also really put the emotion into the story, they weren’t just reading, they werethe characters. And then the addition of the disguised/distorted voice for the murderer was excellent, not only so that you wouldn’t know who it was, but that disguised/distorted voice actually played a part in the storyline. It was so well done.
Just as a warning, there are some disturbing moments in this book so I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, specifically rape, bullying, and animal abuse.
I am such a huge fan of Alice Feeney. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it did not disappoint. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC of this book! I read this July 19-21, 2020 and it was released July 28, 2020.
When Tabitha was a teenager, she had a brief but intense relationship with Conner. She was a poor girl working at the country club his rich family frequented. Years later Conner is married to the insanely wealthy and famous Nina, and desperately unhappy. He reconnects with Tabitha, and when Nina turns up dead, of an apparent suicide, it looks like their dreams of being together can come true, plus Nina’s money. But of course, everyone in this story has secrets and Nina’s death may not have been suicide after all.
I’m actually a fan of Michele Campbell, but I feel like her books will always be average. I will read them and enjoy them, but there’s never anything mind-blowing or exciting about them. This one was pretty mundane throughout most of the book, rich people, parties, business deals, dinners. The murder falls into the background of everyday life. It was the fabulous life of the insanely wealthy, but it was still just everyday life. I was interested in the characters and what happened to Nina, and I actually thought it was pretty clever the way it all played out. But it wasn’t incredibly surprising, I guessed the murderer long before it was revealed, I just didn’t know all the details and motive. There were a few things about the ending that were kind of silly and didn’t fit with the rest of the characterization in the book.
This is definitely not Michele Campbell’s best book and although I keep having high hopes for her, I don’t think she’s ever going to write a book that I love. That being said, I still enjoy her books and will continue to read them.