Five Total Strangers // Book Review

About The Book
Mira needs to get home for the holidays. Harper, Mira’s glamorous seatmate from her initial flight, offers her a ride. Harper and her three friends can drop Mira off on their way home. Soon, roads go from slippery to terrifying. People’s belongings are mysteriously disappearing. Someone in the car is clearly lying, and may even be sabotaging the trip—but why? And can Mira make it home alive, or will this nightmare drive turn fatal?
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My Rating

My feelings about this book are very mixed. I think the plot was really good, but the story wasn’t as fleshed out as I would’ve liked. In the book, we follow Mira, who gets trapped at the airport during a blizzard. Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, she accepts a ride with 4 other teenagers.

Mira was an unlikable main character for many reasons, but the main one being that I found her to be so naive and clueless. She would willingly believe anything if they put the right amount of doubt in her mind. She never trusted her instincts, or stopped and thought before jumping to conclusions.

The rest of the characters were generic and didn’t have much depth to them. Sure, they played a part in the story, but the plot really does revolve around Mira. However, I didn’t hate any of the characters, which I’d say is a good thing.

My biggest complaint is that the book was very, very slow. I am a fan of fast paced mystery/thrillers, and this one just wasn’t one. I felt like nothing was really happening, and I just kept waiting for things to pick up.

“Six awkward hours in the car with strangers, and I’ll be home with my mom. It’s going to be fine.”

Now, the book did keep me guessing and reading, which is a good thing. But I just wanted more excitement, and more action! For it to be more thrilling. Maybe that’s just a me thing, but if I am reading a mystery/thriller type book, I want to be on the edge of my seat, and not know what to expect every chapter.

The outcome of the story was pretty good, and it did start picking up during the last couple chapters. Also, I was a fan of the writing. All in all, I just wished I liked the general plot and how things played out a little bit more.

Overall, I didn’t hate the book, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it either. However, if you’re looking for a middle of the road, very easy to read, slow thriller, you could give this one a read. Especially if you’re just getting into the YA thriller genre. In short, I would probably pick up more of this author’s books in the future.

In the comments, let me know if this book is on your TBR. Don’t forget to support my blog by hitting the follow button.

Until The Next Chapter,

Flight 171 // Book Review

About The Book
In this edge-of-your-seat horror novel, a four-hour flight takes a nightmarish turn when a supernatural creature gives a group of high school students a sinister ultimatum. Choose one among them to sacrifice before the end of the flight. Or the plane will crash. As the clock ticks down, the creature slowly unearths the passengers’ deepest, darkest secrets. The students must agree on a sacrifice, or there won’t be any survivors.
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My Rating

Honestly, when I think about the fact that I read this book, I think, “why?” And also, “what did I even read?” This book is crazy (to say the least). I have no idea what the author was thinking when they came up with this plot, but at least it was slightly entertaining.

Seriously, the whole time I was thinking “what am I doing?”, but I just couldn’t put it down. There was so much going on, and it was so weird! It was a murder trial, which we jump right into at the beginning. We learn about tons of different characters, but mostly we follow Devon, whose twin sister, Emily, was killed in a hit and run.

One of my biggest problem, besides the mess of a plot, was that none of the character were very likeable, and the MC especially drove me crazy. Even the romance side plot was a little bit off. However, romance had to be the last thing on the authors mind when writing this book.

Honestly, a big pet peeve of mine from reading stories where a family member (or a best friend) passes away, is the fact that our main character always carries some intense guilt because they said or did something regrettable right before they lost them. People say things out of anger, people get in fights. And, if we lose someone, it isn’t our fault. So, to say the least, Devon was not handling her sister’s death very well.

“Life is made of regret. You survive long enough and sometimes it’s all that’s left.”

I feel like I’m having such a hard time explaining this book, because it really is just all over the place. We have Devon trying to solve the mystery of who hit her sister. We have a bunch of kids trapped on an airplane with some supernatural creature that wants to inhabit one of their bodies. Yeah you can see how this book is hard to put into words

Maybe it’s just because I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, but I just didn’t enjoy the plot. It was strange, and all the characters made me so irrationally angry that they were willing to sacrifice one of their own to save themselves. I wanted to throw the book across the room, if I’d even had a copy (I am an audiobook reader, and was not angry enough to throw my phone). But it does show that grief really can make you do some unspeakable things.

The ending was OK. It was probably my favorite part of the entire book (and not just because it was finally over). I would say the last 20% really picked up, and it had an open-ended cliffhanger kind of ending. And, after all was said and done, it really did make me afraid to fly. Not exactly sure I’ll get on a plane, like ever again.

Overall, if you’re a fan of the Goosebumps, with a little bit of the twilight zone thrown in, you might end up enjoying this story. As for the writing, I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it, so I’ll probably be willing to give the author another try. Still, this book just wasn’t for me. There was a lot going on, and I didn’t enjoy either of the plots.

In the comments, leave me your sci-fi book recommendations! If you like book reviews, and other bookish content, please like this post and follow my blog.

Until The Next Chapter,

June 2023 // To Be Read

Hi Friends,
I know that I’ve somewhat stopped doing TBR posts, but since June is my birthday month I wanted to do a TBR for the month. I really want to work on getting my physical TBR down, so I had my husband pick five books off my shelf for me to read this month. Also, June is pride month, so of course I have to get in some LGBTQ+ reads. And, as always I have my bookclub book!

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
“A romance ghostwriter who’s lost her motivation after a breakup is haunted by the spirit of her newly departed editor in this whimsical paranormal romance.”

The Stand-In by Lily Chu
“Readers will delight in this glamourous, swoon worthy enemies-to-lovers romance that is as hilarious as it is heart-wrenching.”

When in Rome by Sarah Adams
“Opposites certainly attract for the stranded pop star and small-town baker in this charming slice of romance from the author of the TikTok sensation The Cheat Sheet.”

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
“A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?”

The Guest List by Lucy Foley
“A wedding celebration turns dark and deadly in this deliciously wicked and atmospheric thriller reminiscent of Agatha Christie from the New York Times bestselling author of The Hunting Party.”

She Gets the Girl by Alyson Derrick and Rachael Lippincott
“She’s All That meets What If It’s Us in this New York Times bestselling hate-to-love YA romantic comedy from the coauthor of Five Feet Apart Rachael Lippincott and debut writer Alyson Derrick.”

Some Girls Do by Jennifer Dugan
“In this YA contemporary queer romance from the author of Hot Dog Girl, an openly gay track star falls for a closeted, bisexual teen beauty queen with a penchant for fixing up old cars.”

Blaine for the Win by Robbie Couch
“After being dumped so his boyfriend can pursue more “serious” guys, a teen boy decides to prove he can be serious, too, by running for senior class president in this “clever, fun, original” (BCCB) romp from the author of The Sky Blues.”

Lying in the Deep by Diana Urban
“A juicy mystery of jealousy, love, and betrayal set on a Semester at Sea-inspired cruise ship, with a diverse cast of delightfully suspicious characters who’ll leave you guessing with every jaw-dropping twist.”

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
“A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling high seas tale.”

Reading Rabbits Book Club Pick:
Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau
“As sweet as a macaron from Laduree, this romantic novel set in Paris about an American ballerina and a charming French boy is parfait for fans of American Royals and Netflix’s Emily in Paris.”

There you have my probably overly ambitious June TBR! Also, just a heads up my I have moved my book clubs from Novellic to Fable (Join Here). Don’t forget to leave me a comment letting me know what you’ll be reading next month and hit the follow button to support my blog. Think of giving my blog a follow as your birthday gift to me!

Until The Next Chapter,

People Like Us // Book Review

About The Book
Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple. Debut author Dana Mele has written a taut, sophisticated suspense novel that will keep readers guessing until the very end.
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My Rating

I thought this book was going to be your typical prep school, mystery/thriller type of YA novel. I will say right up front that I haven’t loved many of the books I’ve read that follow this format. However, I am happy to say that I did actually enjoy this one!

The main character Kay is likable and interesting. She has a secret that she has kept hidden for years, but after discovering a body in the lake on Halloween, someone is threatening to expose her past. The skeleton in the closet aspect of the book reminded me a little of ‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’ by Stephanie Perkins, but it was done way better in this book.

This book was so intense! There was murder, blackmail, and it even touched on how the police are usually more concerned about closing a case than actually solving it. Racial profiling was mentioned, student teacher relationships, cheating, suicide, revenge porn, and the list goes on.

I for one couldn’t put the book down! I had to know what was going to happen next. The writing was so good, and the plot just kept getting better. I didn’t really feel like it was another prep school rehashed. Although Kay was the stereotypical non-rich girl on a scholarship, which is a running theme when it comes to the main characters in most private school mysteries.

“Does someone who does one bad thing, even one really bad thing,
deserve bad things to happen to them?”

I had my suspicions on who the killer was and I will admit that I was wrong at first. It was a slow build up to the reveal, but the reveal was done very well. The ending was amazing! By the end, you realize that there were many tiny hints throughout the book that lead you to the murders identity.

I will say that the ending was kind of sad, and had a lot to do with bullying and mental health. That being said, I liked how the story was wrapped up even though some people might guess the killer from early on. So, if you aren’t someone that minds a little predictability than you’ll enjoy this book.

Overall, this book gave me ‘Pretty Little Liars’ meets ‘Gossip Girl’ vibes. However, I did read a review calling it a ‘fucked up sapphic mean girls book’ and I think that describes it way better. But, it is a great read for spooky season, and I did get a kick out of the ‘A Christmas Story’ Ovaltine reference.

I highly recommend checking out trigger warnings —(find here)— before picking thing book up. Don’t forget to like and share this post with others. If you are a book lover (like me) hit the follow button to get notified whenever there’s a new post.

Until The Next Chapter,

People Like Us by Dana Mele

Dark And Shallow Lies // Book Review

About The Book
A teen girl disappears from her small town deep in the bayou, where magic festers beneath the surface of the swamp like water rot, in this chilling debut supernatural thriller for fans of Natasha Preston, Karen McManus, and Rory Power. In a town where secrets lurk just below the surface, and where a murderer is on the loose, nobody can be presumed innocent—and La Cachette’s dark and shallow lies may just rip the town apart.
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My Rating

This book is a very interesting take on the YA mystery genre, because it has a magical realism element to it. In the book, Grey returns to La Cachette, Louisiana to spend the summer in the same place that her best friend, Elora, disappeared from, 6 month earlier.

In La Cachette everyone has some kind of magical ability, from being a love psychic to an empath. However, Grey, just now seventeen years old, is learning to discover her own gift. As the protagonist of the story, Grey was just okay. She wasn’t horrible or unlikable, but I wouldn’t say I loved following her either.

In my opinion, this book is way more mystery based, because there were a lot of secrets going on. The mystery of Elora disappearance did keep me interested, but not enough to where I couldn’t put the book down.

“Welcome to La Cachette, Louisiana Elevation 3 Ft. Population 106 Living Souls.”

For me, the story as a whole just didn’t work. The psychic aspect of the story was a bit weird, and La Cachette was a very twisted place. There’s also another mystery from the past that somewhat ties into the current mystery. And, there’s a romance as well. It just had a lot going on.

My biggest con was the writing. I do understand that this is a debut novel, so I am trying not to judge it too heavily. But, the book didn’t come to life for me, and man, was it slow moving. I wanted the plot to pick up, but it never really did.

Overall, the ending was solid and I do think the author has the potential to write something really good. Nevertheless, I want to say the this book isn’t comparable to Karan M. McManus’ works (as it states on GoodReads), which might be a good thing for some people. Also, the story is pretty sad, and there are some triggering things talked about in this book. One being the murder of children.

Remember that StoryGraph is a great tool for finding trigger warnings for books. Don’t forget to show your support by giving the blog a follow.

Until The Next Chapter,

Friday Reads #17

Hi Friends,
Happy Friday! This weekend, I’ve got some major reading plans! Seriously, I’ve come up with a whole little reading schedule. Now, I believe that I can finish all of these books this weekend, but I’m a bit of an overachiever. Aiming high isn’t always a bad thing though, am I right?

Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour (50%): This is an adult contemporary story that I’m halfway through. So, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to finish it this weekend.

Never Vacation with Your Ex by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley (30%): This is your standard YA contemporary romance that I’m (surprisingly) enjoying. If you know me, you know I have a love/hate relationship with this author duo. I’m hoping to knock this book out this weekend as well, since YA romance are typically pretty fast reads.
Related Post: What’s Not To Love // Book Review

Dear Future Mama by Meghan Trainor (15%): Most of yiu probably don’t know this, but I’m 30 years old and trying to get pregnant with my first child. And, this pregnancy journey has been anything but easy. So, I’m always looking for advice on baby making. This book is such a quick read and Meghan is such a fun narrator. I will most likely going to be finished with it this weekend.

Those are the books I’m going to be reading this weekend. Although, I have started two other books so I don’t really know if my reading schedule is going to go as planned. In the comments, let me know what your reading this weekend. Don’t forget to hit the follow button before you leave.

Until The Next Chapter,

Finale // Book Review

About The Book
Welcome, welcome to the Caraval’s Finale. All games must come to an end. With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him. Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun.
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My Rating

This is the final book in the Caraval trilogy, so beware that this review will contain spoilers. The book starts right off from where the second book, ‘Legendary’, ended. The dates have been released, and now everyone’s lives are at risk.

Something that was weird to me is that the whole second book was about Donatella’s desire to bring back their mother. However, she played such a small roll in this book. We didn’t even get to know anything about her. However, she did have a role in the overall plot without actually being in the story if that makes any sense.
Related Post: Legendary // Book Review

In the book, Donatella, Scarlet, Jillian, and Legend are trying their hardest to defeat the fates. That plot sounds amazing! And, although the book is fantastic, it was kind of slow moving. Tella’s whole story arc became all about her romance with Legend and Jacks (King Of Hearts).

I wanted there to be more fantasy, and less pinning for Legend. And, don’t even get me started on the slow burn between Legend and her. There’s even a sort of love triangle between her, Legend, and Jacks.

“There is nothing quite so precious as the love of a sister.”

On the other hand, Scarlett’s story arc was amazing. We learn something about her that left me stunned. Also, her and Jillian’s romance is super cute. But, I’ve always found Scarlett to be very likable. Not to say I don’t like Tella, because out of the two I actually relate more to her than Scarlett.

Now I did feel like this book had a lot going on, maybe a little too much going on. It was very plot driven, which to be honest the trilogy as a whole is more focused on the plot than characters. And, although there was a lot of packed into the story, it all came together at the end.

However, Tella’s story didn’t go exactly how I wanted it too. Let’s just say I’m a ‘villain gets the girl’ kind of reader. But, I liked how everything was wrapped up, and the last few chapters had me on the edge of my seat!

Overall, the book was well written. The characters didn’t have much development this time around, but were still very likable, and the story was fantastic. Although, it didn’t give me that 5 star feel, I would still recommend it to any YA fantasy lover.

In the comments, let me know your thoughts on the Caraval trilogy. Don’t forget to follow the blog for more book reviews.

Until The Next Chapter,

Moment Of Truth // Book Review

About The Book
At sixteen, Hadley Moore knows exactly who she is—a swimmer who will earn a scholarship to college. So when a guy dressed as Hollywood’s latest action hero, Heath Hall, crashes her swim meet, she isn’t amused. Instead, she’s determined to make sure he doesn’t bother her again. Only she’s not sure exactly who he is. She soon finds herself getting caught up in the mysterious world of the fake Heath Hall.
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My Rating

This book is way more than your average YA contemporary romance, which I actually really enjoyed. In the book, we follow high schooler Hadley, who is all about swimming. She has two loving parents that support her, but she always feels as though she’s competing with her brother. The brother she never met because he passed away before she was born.

If you’ve read any of Kasie West’s books, then you know that they usually aren’t all about the romance, and have a more serious side plot to them as well. However, this book takes a different approach with the romance being the side plot.

As the synopsis states, there’s this mystery plot point involving someone in a Heath Hall mask. And, that aspect really tied everything together; from the romance, to the more serious topics together. This book definitely requires you to look into trigger warnings, yet I recommend doing this for all books.

“Just because you can’t see the future, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You don’t have to see everything clearly or know exactly where you’re going to move forward.”

The book tackles many different aspects of grief from not letting go, to feeling like a replacement child, to even being in competition with someone that’s not here anymore. It was interesting to see Hadley struggle with her feelings towards her late brother, and wonder if they’d be close if he were alive. The book begs explores the topic of how to fully grieve someone that we’ve never met, but have a connection with.

The romance was very cute, and young adult romance is something that Kasie West does a spectacular job of writing. I don’t know if I’d categorize this as an enemies to lovers, or opposites attract love story, since it falls somewhere in between. However, the love interest was funny and you could tell there were both catching feelings from early on.

Overall, if you want a more major romance contemporary then I’d give this a read. It also happens to be the last book in her ‘Love, Life, And The List’ companion trilogy. Although, the link to the first book was a very minor thing. Also, this author books are usually quick reads for me but this one, being a bit more serious, is a slower read, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a con.

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Until The Next Chapter,

White Smoke // Book Review

About The Book
Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled Midwestern city of Cedarville might be the fresh start she needs. The renovated picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its. . . secrets. But “running from ghosts” is just a metaphor, right?
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My Rating

Right off the bat, I was unsure about the writing of this book. For some reason, I didn’t love the author’s writing style, and felt it was going to be a more slow-paced young adult thriller, which it did end up being. However, in the book, we have an unreliable narrator, so I enjoyed that aspect a lot.

Marigold has moved with her newly blended family to a small town, and is trying to leave her addiction in the past, after it almost ended her life. So, drug use is mentioned a lot throughout the story. I found it interesting to see Marigold’s struggle with addiction, because you could see her wanting to stay clean, but the addict part of her brain was trying to convince her that she needed to use.

She also deals with OCD, which is a mental illness that I haven’t read about in books before. I liked the way the author talked about all these different issues, while still keeping the core of the book as a thriller. However, I didn’t find Marigold to be very likable. She had a brother that she was close to, but didn’t even want try and connect with her younger stepsister. It frustrated me to no end.

“The house stills. The house heard us.”

As for the thriller part of the plot, it was pretty slow moving. But, once you hit about the 50% mark, things get creepy. While Marigold is trying to explain away these unexplainable incidents, thinking they’re caused by her addiction, you as the reader just know something isn’t right with the house. There were times that I was freaked out and had goosebumps.

I didn’t see the ending coming at all. It was way more hard hitting than I expected, and it was a shocking turn of events to say the least. This book really straddles the line between young adult contemporary and thriller. It leaned a little too much towards the contemporary side of things for me, but I understand how some people might not feel that way.

Overall, it was a good read, and I probably would have enjoyed it more if it had been more fast-paced. The book just took a little too long to grab my attention and creep me out. I actually DNF’ed it the first time around, but I am glad I gave it another chance.

In the comments, let me know if you prefer fast or slow paced thrillers. Don’t forget to follow my blog if you like bookish content.

Until The Next Chapter,

Belladonna // Book Review

About The Book
A gothic romance following a girl with Death constantly hovering nearby, Belladonna is the gripping story full of wealth, desire, and betrayal that will sweep readers up in its haunting tale from the very beginning! New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace brings to life a highly romantic, Gothic-infused world of wealth, desire, and betrayal.
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My Rating

The thing that appealed to me about this book was the title, because I happened to play the role of Belladonna in my college production of ‘Sleeping Beauty’. So, you could say the name holds a special place in my heart. But, other than the book title, and that it was a YA fantasy, I knew nothing about the book.

The main character is Signa, an orphan, who has spent her whole life being shipped off to relative after relative. She’s also sees death. Picture  along the lines of the Angel of Death. When she arrives at Throne Grove, she starts seeing spirits, and discovers hidden powers within her.

Signa was problem my least favorite thing about the book. I found her to be a little annoying at times. Early in her life, she learned that if she poisoned herself, the poison doesn’t affect her, but death will come to her. What was so annoying was her ability to blame death for all her problems. She accused him of always following her, when she was literally poisoning herself to see him.

Other than the main character being a 7 out of 10, I loved the book. The plot was fascinating and very gothic inspired. There were a few good twists, and even a love triangle, consisting of involving Signa, Death, and a stable boy. But let’s get real, this was more of a Bella, Edward and Jacob love triangle in which there’s not really any competition.

“Do not change the parts of yourself that you like to make others comfortable. Do not try to mold yourself to fit the standards someone else has set for us.”

Death was sexy as hell, no pun intended. He was dangerous, charming, smooth, and kind. Honestly, I’d poison myself if I knew I wouldn’t die to see him as well. The romance aspect was on point, and their relationship was awesome. Not too smutty, but hot. I was here for those little steamy moment’s between Signa and Death.

The ending of the book was incredible, and it will make you want to pick up the next book immediately. I loved how everything was wrapped up. The twist was great, and I can’t wait to continue on with the series. Adalyn Grace knows how to write a fantasy/romance for sure. However, despite my love for the book, the main character’s flaws kept it from being a 5 star.

Overall, I highly recommend this book – especially if you enjoyed the ‘Kingdom Of The Wicked’ series. I chose not to continue on with that series, but in my opinion this book has very similar vibes. One thing to note, there aren’t a lot of triggering topic but you should definitely check on them before jumping into the book.

In the comments, tell me if you’ve read this book, and what your thoughts were on it. Don’t forget to support my blog by giving it a follow!

Until The Next Chapter,