The Counselors // Book Review

About The Book
“A nervy, intense, and expertly crafted thriller that kept me hooked page after page. Dark secrets? Summer camp setting? Complex teen girls? Murder? Count me in. A simply stunning book.” — Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces, You’d Be Home Now, and The Agathas.

My Rating

 


My Thoughts
At first, I thought that this was going to be a DNF for me, since the first few chapters were pretty boring. I have read ‘They Wish They Were Us‘ and ‘They’ll Never Catch Us‘ by Jessica Goodman, and have reviews up on both of them. If you have read those reviews, then you know that I haven’t been the biggest fan of her work. Still, I wanted to give this book a chance, because something about camp based thrillers intrigues me. Maybe, ‘Friday the 13th’ is to blame for it.

The book follows Goldie, whose life is turned upside down, and who ,has become an outcast at her high school. Her only safe place is the summer camp, Camp Alpine Lake. My opinion on Goldie changed multiple times throughout the book. Initially, I thought she was weak, since she was still pining for the guy that broke her heart, and let other people treat her like crap. She has this secret that she wants to share with her best friends, Ava and Imogen, but won’t. Yet, she whines about wanting to tell them all the time. It seemed that the author wanted us to feel bad for Goldie, but I was more annoyed at her for willingly taking shit from people for months on end. However, as the story went on, I saw her get stronger as a person – she was done keeping her mouth shut.

There were some side characters, the main ones being Ava and Imogen, who Goldie met at camp. Ava and Imogen don’t live in Goldie’s town, and have fabulous, rich lifestyles. But, Ava and Imogen like Goldie for who she is, and they don’t let money affect their friendship. I liked their friendship dynamic a lot, because they were there for each other, no matter what. There were a few other characters, such as Goldie’s ex-best friend, the owners of the camp, and a few other camp counselors. Honestly, I can’t remember anyone else’s name, and I’m pretty ashamed of that fact.

The main plot is the mystery behind who killed Goldie’s ex-boyfriend, Heller, who was found dead in the camp’s lake. It wasn’t until the halfway point, that I started to get super invested in the story, and couldn’t put it down. The characters started to grow on me, as did the writing style. There was a twist, but you could see it coming before it was revealed. Still, I thought the ending was solid, and was very fitting for the story.

“I inhale deeply and remind myself, You are home.”

The book shows that money and social status can affect people, and even drive you mad. This is something that we face in the real world, too. Some people are so focused on fitting in, having the nicest things, and making the most money, that they’ll do anything. Whatever happened to the saying ‘money can’t buy happiness’? But, we should probably ignore Blair Waldorf’s take on that message.

However, the thing that bugged me the most in the book was that nobody felt bad about their hatred towards Goldie. So many of these characters could have stood by her, but were totally spineless. To me, actions speak louder than words, and feeling guilty doesn’t excuse your bad actions towards them. You would never want to intentionally hurt someone you love.

Overall, this wasn’t a horrible read, and I’ll probably keep reading Goodman’s books. Still, this is in no way a thriller, so keep that in mind before picking it up. It is truly a YA mystery, and some people might prefer that over a thriller. I am not sure which side I fall on, since I am still kind of new to the mystery/thriller genre. Also, the book does mention underage drinking and drugs, which I understand that some readers might not condone.

In the comments, tell me which of Jessica Goodman’s books have been your favorites so far. Don’t forget to share this post, and give it a like! If you want to get notifications of all my upcoming posts, follow the blog.

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

The Upside of Falling // Book Review

Synopsis
Acting like the perfect couple isn’t easy though, especially when you barely know the other person. But with Becca still picking up the pieces from when her world was blown apart years ago and Brett just barely holding his together now, they begin to realize they have more in common than they ever could have imagined. When the line between real and pretend begins to blur, they are forced to answer the question: is this fake romance the realest thing in either of their lives?
Synopsis from Amazon

My Rating


My Thoughts
This is a sweet, simple, and short young adult contemporary that I enjoyed right from the start. The plot unfolds quickly, and we learn a lot about the characters early on. However, the quick start was a minor con, since by the have way point the story started to lag a little.

In the book we follow Becca, a romance book lover, who is still dealing with the scars her father left when he walked out on her mom and her. You could tell that her father’s choice deeply affected her, and that she was, in a way, damaged by it. I liked seeing a character that had a lot issues, but not necessarily a mental illness.

Opposite Becca, we have Brett, who seems to be the typical jock. But, like Becca, there’s a lot more to his character. Sure he is the popular, hunky high-school athlete, but he desperately wants his parents to be proud of him. He puts his dad, as well as his parents’ marriage, on a pedestal, which ultimately leads to disappointment.

In the story, Becca and Brett start up a fake relationship, because of some snotty comments made by Becca’s ex-best friend. Personally, I loved how Brett started the fake dating, and was such a sweetheart the whole time. Becca annoyed me at first, since she was not being a very good fake girlfriend. Yet it did fit with her personality, and her history with relationships.

However, at times, Becca was somewhat rude to Brett, because he was different than her. Why is it that girls in books tend to be more judgmental than the guys? But, the romance was cute and it progressed naturally. They might have started off fake, but took time to get to know one another for real. Becca and Brett were cute together fake or not.

“People always talk about falling in love but no one ever talks about falling out of it.”

Although, I wouldn’t say their relationship was ‘To All The Boys’ level good; I didn’t mind the love story being mid-range. Honestly, the book showcased some other important topics that were almost more interesting than the fake dating plot. Something major happens to Brett’s family life, and although it wasn’t shocking (I saw it coming miles away), it was an interesting turn of events.

The side characters were all fleshed out, good characters, and it was nice to see Becca clear the air with her former BFF. The two have this whole moment, and it was a big “aha” moment for Becca. As readers, we fall so in love with books and their stories, that we sometimes forget that they are still just a work of fiction. They can always be our comfort zone, but will never be our reality.

Also, there were a lot of little things added in to the story that I liked, such as Becca’s need for pro/cons lists, and Brett’s funny one-liners. There was even a mention of buying 4 books for $36.00, which is a steal in my opinion. And, I don’t think they were even secondhand books.

Overall, the book was an easy read, with a good plot and writing style. I already know that I will be reading more of this author’s works. Also, there is a part in the story where Becca tells Brett that she categorizes things in her mind. Labeling things as ones that are worth remembering, and the ones that aren’t. Now, it isn’t a way to live life, but it was fascinating to think about which moments or days I’d say are worth remembering.

Please know that divorce is a major subject in the book as well as another type of relationship issue in the book that I won’t mention as not to spoil anything. Nevertheless, some people might not like the way such topics are handled in the book. I for one, am not a fan of the outcome, since it is something that is unforgivable in my eyes. Even so, I was generally happy with the story.

Quick PSA, there is a scene that showcases a murder (of books), but it’s okay, you will get through it. Don’t forget to hit that like, and follow my little book blog for more reviews.

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

14 Ways To Die // Book Review

Synopsis
A decade ago, Jess lost her mother to the Magpie Man, an infamous serial killer who is still at large and planning to kill again. Now, She’s going to use her new platform as the star of a YouTube reality series to catch him. That is, if he doesn’t catch her first.
Synopsis from Amazon

My Rating

 


My Thoughts
I had been seeing this book in stores for months, and decided to pick it up. I went into it fairly blind, but the cover and title were very intriguing. It was interesting to see that the plot centers around a serial killer and unsolved murders. The book follows Jess, a teenage girl, determined to find the Magpie Man, who is the serial killer responsible for her mother’s death.

To draw the Magpie Man out of hiding, Jess enters a YouTube reality competition where she documents her search for her mother’s killer. Honestly, I t think that the whole reality competition aspect was unnecessary. You didn’t learn much about the other contestants, and the story could have had the same outcome without the reality show element. The author could have simply made Jess start her own YouTube channel about the murders, instead of adding cameramen and show runners.

It was understandable that Jess wanted to bring her mom’s killer to justice, but she was too reckless about it. She was literally asking for a serial killer to come get her. She didn’t even have a plan as to what she’d do if she found the killer. You should always have a plan. However, she gets points for being bold, since I don’t know if I could be as brave as Jess is in the book.

Yet, I didn’t feel like we got to know Jess, or any of the other characters, much. All we really learn is that Jess spent her whole life wanting to avenge her mother’s death, which I found to be very unhealthy. However, her determination was understandable for the story. You could see that she has a lot of unresolved issues, and hasn’t fully come to terms with the loss of her mother.

Keep in mind that the book is very plot driven, which is the case with a lot of thrillers. Still, I want strong character development in addition to a solid mystery. For me, a successful book is made up of an engaging plot, and a forged connection with the characters. This book was lacking on the character front.

There is a romance that forms between Jess and someone, which progresses gradually. The love interest cared for Jess, and wanted her to stay safe. But they also understood that she had to see her plan out until the end. He didn’t understand her pain, but wanted to be there for her nonetheless.

We lie to sad people because we think it will make them feel better. But sad people see through lies. You can only trick happy people with bullshit.”

There weren’t many suspects, so it was hard to see where the story was going. When the killer was finally revealed, you started to put all the pieces together. The author did a good job of dropping bread crumbs throughout the book without making the serial killer’s identity too obvious.The book depicts that everyone has a story to tell, and some people’s stories might be more tragic than others. Also, a murder is never truly perfect. There is always some evidence left behind. Yet, the police overlooked certain things for years. More and more, a lot of books have been brave enough to call out the police and the justice system.

Overall, I was a fan of the writing style and the short chapters. The book went by fast, but still got the story across. The plot twist at the end was good, but I was hoping for more. I think that fans of ‘A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder’ would thoroughly enjoy this book. Speaking of the “Good Girl’s” trilogy, I do have reviews up for all three of those books, if you want to know my thoughts on them.

In the comments, let me know if you have read anything by this author. I would love to know more about their other books. If you like bookish content, then be sure to follow my blog.

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

Love And Gelato // Book Review

Synopsis
A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping New York Times bestseller filled with romance, mystery, and adventure. Kirkus Reviews called Love & Gelato “a sure bet for fans of romance fiction,” while VOYA said readers “will find it difficult to put this book down.” Readers are about to discover a new place, a new romance, and a new talent.
Synopsis from Amazon

My Rating


My Thoughts
In the book, we follow sixteen year old Lina, who is dealing with the passing of her single mother. However, her mom’s dying wish is for her to move to Italy and get to know her estranged father, Howard. I could understand Lina’s frustration about the prospect of moving all the way to to Italy, and leaving behind her friends and loved ones. Her mother just died, and now she has to say goodbye to the people she’s known for years.

At first, Lina took out her frustration and grief on Howard. Sure, he wasn’t around for years, but you could tell right away that it wasn’t his choice. Also, you could instantly tell that there was more to her mother and Howard’s story. As a main character, Lina frustrated me, because she seemed completely clueless about Italy. Actually, she just seemed clueless in general.

A big part of the story is that Lina is given her mother’s old journal, which helps her see who her mother was before she had Lina. We learned a lot about her late mom, since she was almost like a second main character. It was interesting to see Lina discover a new side of her, and find out about her secret college romance.

“I thought I wanted caprice and fire, but it turns out that what I really want is someone who will wake me up early so I don’t miss a sunrise.”

There weren’t many other characters, at least not ones we got to know. There is Howard, and his co-workers, Sonia as well as Ren, who is Lina’s love interest. Honestly, Lina and Ren’s romance wasn’t a major part of the story, since it focused more on her mom’s life, and Lina trying to piece together her mom’s past in Italy.

Actually, the story focused a lot more on her mother’s love life, which I found to be way more interesting. I want to note that there are a few minor characters, such as Ren’s friends, Lina’s mom’s college friends, plus her mothers stuck-up ex-boyfriend that all play small parts in the story.

The ending was nice, and wrapped things up well, but there was still a slight twist, albeit one that was very easy to figure out. Still, I liked that Lina started to trust Howard more, and realized that her mother wanted to share all her secrets with him as well. But, I did think the outcome of her and Ren’s romance was a little too intense for teenagers.

A con was that being in Italy wasn’t a huge part in the book. There were some moments showcasing different places in Italy, and a lot of talk about gelato, but, I wish the author described the beauty of the country more. I wanted to feel like I was in Italy, and the book didn’t do that for me.

Overall, the writing was fine, and the story was well done. It isn’t my favorite contemporary – especially since the plot was fairly slow moving. I wouldn’t read it again, but it wasn’t a disappointing read.

In the comments, let more know what your thoughts on the book are, because I’d love to hear your opinions. Don’t forget that following the blog lets you know about new posts!

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

The Towering Sky // Book Review

Synopsis
In this breathtaking finale to The Thousandth Floor trilogy, Katharine McGee returns to her vision of 22nd-century New York: a world of startling glamour, dazzling technology, and unthinkable secrets. After all, when you have everything… you have everything to lose.
Synopsis from GoodReads

My Rating


My Thoughts
Since this book is the final book in the ‘Thousandths Floor’ trilogy, it will be hard not to include spoilers. So before continuing, I recommend you first read my reviews on the first and second books in the trilogy. The books follow the perspectives of 5 different characters, and is set in a sci-fi, dystopian version of the real world. This final book takes place a few months after the events of the second book, and we learn what the characters have been up to since then.

Each of our characters have their own plots going on, but are still connected to one another. However, this time around, I didn’t actually feel as though the characters stories really intertwined. It felt as if I was reading five different stories, which made the plot feel disjointed. However, there was a one main plot point that held the book together, but for me it wasn’t really a huge aspect of the story.

Calliope, who was introduced in the second book, ‘The Dazzling Heights’, is my favorite character. I love her personality and her backstory. That being said, I still can’t figure out what her character added to the story in this book. She had minimal interaction with the other four core characters, and wasn’t a part of the bigger plot that had been at play since the first book. Although her character was my favorite, she just felt really out of place, but I found her arc to be very transformative. Ultimately, her story’s ending was very bittersweet. I wasn’t 100% in love with the way the author warped things up for her and her mother.

Avery was another character that I enjoyed reading about, but her entire story-line in this series is kind of weird. I am not sure if the author wants us to support her forbidden romance, or be creeped out by it. Still, it was nice to see her standing up for herself, and not being the perfect daughter her parents expected her to be. Honestly, her relationship with Atlas gave me ‘Flowers in the Attic’/’Petals on the Wind’ vibes. Well, maybe not that extreme. It’s cringey, but secretly, a part of you is rooting for them.

Wyatt’s plot in the book focused around Leda, which I found pathetic. I cannot stand their relationship, or how the author turned Wyatt into such a lovesick puppy. He started off as one of the most interesting characters in the books, then he got paired with Leda. Yet, it was nice to see him realize how one can become too reliant on technology. Being connected with Nadia for so long made him lose himself, and this discovery helped take his character development to the next level.

“Maybe happy endings were real, as long as you understood that they weren’t endings, but steps on the road.”

Rylin is a character that I didn’t mind, since she added a bit of realness to the story. She’s the only character that isn’t rich, and has to work hard to get where she wants to go in life. I do think that in this book she was a bit stubborn and rash. I felt as though she didn’t feel good enough to be around these characters, or in their world. And, she take her own insecurities out on others. The main issue with her character is that her presence isn’t memorable at all. I can’t remember much about her chapters, and didn’t really see much character development.

Leda is the worst character ever! Okay, maybe not ever, but in each of these books, she finds new ways to make me dislike her. However, in this book we find that she has been distancing herself from everyone and trying to become a better person. She eventually learns to let her loved ones back in, and forgives herself for her mistakes. But, I personally couldn’t get behind her sorry, because if she truly felt bad for the crimes she committed she would have owned up to them and turned herself in. She kept saying it was all an accident, but really it was a drugged up episode that all sparked because she was a jealous spoiled brat. And, the fact that the characters all acted like Eris death wasn’t her fault was ridiculous.

The plot of the book was slow moving, but the multiple story-lines were slightly more interesting than the ones in the second book in the series. Still, I was having to push myself to finish reading it. The biggest problem with the book was that it felt like the previous two books. The books all followed similar plots and the characters kept repeating the same patterns. There wasn’t enough mystery thrown in to make the book to make it interesting, or standout from the first two books in the trilogy. Nevertheless, there was one twist at the ending that I didn’t see coming, and it really worked well with the story, and world that the book takes place in.

Overall, there was the message that you can’t simply sweep your problems under the rug, but instead you have to face them head on. Only once you own up to your mistakes can you start moving on from them. There was a mention that we all have a Tiffany’s (Breakfast At Tiffany’s reference), a place where we go to think, and feel at peace. It made me wonder if I have a Tiffany’s, so to speak. Do you have one?

All in all, these books missed the mark completely, which is a bummer since the first book showed so much promise. Let me know in the comments your thoughts on this trilogy as a whole. And, give my blog a follow so you never miss a post.

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

They’ll Never Catch Us // Book Review

Synopsis
A thriller about two sisters vying for the top spot on their cross-country team–the only way out of their stifling small town. But their dreams are suddenly thrown into peril when a new girl threatens to take away everything they’ve worked for… until she disappears.
Synopsis from GoodReads

My Rating


My Thoughts
This is a dual perspective narrative about two sisters that compete on the same track team. The sisters differ tremendously, Stella, the older of the two, is strong, competitive and had to grow up quick. Ellie, on the other hand, is naive and trusting. She feels as though she has to prove that she is just as good a runner as Stella. Although, different the sisters both feel like they are under a extreme amount of pressure to succeed at track. Actually, the pressure to be the best is a huge focus in the plot. Begging the question what would one do to be the best.

At the start of the book, Stella is determined to move on from an incident that almost derailed her future, in track as well as in general. Ellie had a secret summer fling with a teammate who has a girlfriend that’s also on the track team. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that this relationship got complicated fast. Honestly, I hated the whole Ellie being a side chick angle. She was treated so poorly by the guy, and guilted into keeping their affair a secret. He basically slut shamed her. I was not here for it at all.

You might be wanting me to stop rambling, and get into the mystery thriller aspect of the book. Funny enough, that was exactly how I felt when reading this book. No joke, it felt like a slow YA contemporary, and not one with a compelling plot. It seemed as though the mystery would never happen. And, by the time it did, I was so over reading about these characters.

Still, the mystery was what happened to Mila, the new cross-country star at the sisters’ school. Once Mila goes missing all eyes are on Stella. She was the only suspect and an easy target to pin the whole thing on. One positive about the story was that I didn’t see the minor twist at the end coming. However, the mystery as a whole wasn’t exciting, and there weren’t really any clues as to what had happened to Mila.

“The world doesn’t celebrate girls who take up space, who demand to be heard, who are just a little much.”

A lot of the characters were self-involved and judgemental. There was a typical ‘mean girl’ character that wasn’t necessary to the story at all. I could have lived without her rude and nasty attitude. Yet, there is a cute sapphic relationship that forms between Stella and another character. It was more of an unfortunate meet cute that turned into something sweet.

Overall ,I enjoyed the notion that just because you know all the facts of something, doesn’t necessarily mean you know the whole story. Still, I found the book to be slow, and way too long. No hate, but I wish the author would have gotten to the point much sooner. The book wasn’t completely terrible just not for me. However, it covers a variety topics such as manipulation, bullying and a specific kind of depression that may be considered a spoiler. I encourage you to find full list of all the subjects that were touched on, in case they may be triggering for you.

In the comments, let me know if you have read this book. I do have a review of ‘They Wish They Were Us’, which is also by this author, that you can read (click here) as well. Don’t forget to like, share, and follow the blog.

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

Defining Life // Book Review

Please be aware that this is a novella of about 30,000 words.

Synopsis
This is the story of two teenage cancer survivors on the quest to define life, because if they don’t, they might as well fail their class project entirely.
Synopsis from Amazon

My Rating


*I want to thank the author for sending me a copy of the book for review.*

My Thoughts
This is a short, but sweet second chance romance about learning to live life to it’s fullest. The book follows Heather, who is a junior in high school and cancer survivor. She is thrown for a loop when she is paired with golden boy Aaron for a class assignment. Aaron is also a cancer survivor, and Heather’s ex-best friend. I found Heather and Aaron to be pretty bland characters. There wasn’t much depth to them, and we didn’t get to know them very well. It made me unable to form a connection with them, so I wasn’t too invested in their story.

Heather and Aaron had a bad falling out as kids, and I’m still unsure of how I feel about the whole situation. After going into remission, Aaron was forced by his mother to no longer see Heather, who was still a cancer patient at the time. Heather felt abandoned by Aaron, but he was just a child just following his parents orders.

Honestly, I felt like Aaron didn’t own up to his actions when they got to high school. Instead of making amends with Heather, he completely ignored the elephant in the room. However, my husband pointed out that there are three sides to every story. His, hers, and the truth. Sometimes, it can be hard to say sorry when so much time has passed.

“At the end of it all, life’s ending story is death.”

Still, it was clear that Heather had been deeply hurt by his actions, so I don’t understand why she never brought it up before their forced proximity. I understand that they’re just in high school, but they handled the whole situation poorly. At least they cleared the air relatively early on in the story.

The plot is very straightforward and easy to follow, with a simple writing style. The story is a quick read, too. Every chapter title is a word followed by it’s definition. I am not sure if I liked that format, but I think it fit with the story, since the book centers around defining the word life. So it does make sense why the author added that small detail.

Overall, the plot felt rushed, and the romance was predictable, but still cute. The moral of the story was that sometimes people are dealt a bad hand in live. And, we will have to face grief and loss in our lives. A lot of the time, it isn’t fair when it comes to who gets to live and who gets to die. This is why we should live each day like it’s our last, while being thankful that wake up everyday and get to live life.

I wouldn’t call the book anything special or overly memorable, but if you are looking for a simple and fast read to bump up your reading goal for the year, then give it a read! Before you go, make me smile by hitting that follow button!

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

The Cousins // Book Review

SynopsisMilly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious. Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option.
Synopsis from Amazon

My Rating


My Thoughts
I don’t know how Karen M. McManus does it, but her books seem to have a way of pulling me in right from the start. This story was no different, I was immediately intrigued by the story and characters. In this book, we follow three teenage cousins from the Story family: Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah, who barely know each other. They are all very different from one another, but somehow their personalities worked well together. Each of them must drop everything to spend the summer working at their estranged grandmother’s resort. As the three get to know each other, you can see a bond forming between them while they try to uncover family’s secrets.

They were all likable characters, but didn’t stray too much from the author’s typical character personas. They are each facing issues at home, and even though the book was a crazy mystery/thriller, there was definitely some character growth, which was a nice added touch. The Story cousins aren’t clueless, and were immediately suspicious of their grandmother’s sudden invitation. Personally, I enjoy a mystery when the characters aren’t oblivious to things that seem fishy.

As perusal, we have dual perspectives throughout this book, but we don’t just alternate from Story cousin to cousin. There are chapters that take place in the past, which I found very interesting since it helps you piece together the mystery. In the past, you get a glimpse of the cousins’ parents as teenagers, and find out just how different they are from their kids. Let’s just say that money can’t buy you humility. I mean, the word ‘townie’ was used. More than once.

Besides the characters, the plot and mystery was amazing, intense and a roller-coaster ride. I didn’t know what was going to happen next, because there were so many twists, each just as shocking as the last. There were tons of jaw-dropping moments, making it impossible to put the book down. The story is addictive, and I couldn’t wait until everything came together. However, I will say that I figured things out right before the big reveal. Still, I was pretty stunned by the ending.

“Leave the past where it is.”

Of course, there was a romance which I found to be predictable. And truthfully, I wanted it to go another way. Although, I understand that sometimes the most obvious route is the easiest one to take. But make no mistake, the romance is minor, since the book is truly all about the mystery. And, the ending proved that Karen M. McManus is a queen when it comes to YA thrillers.

Overall, I found the story to be incredible, which you have probably already gathered. And, the newfound sibling type of bond amongst the cousins was charming. The Story family were a very dysfunctional bunch, so it was nice to see that not all of them were heartless. If you’re looking for an amazing thriller, with many surprises, then this is a must read! However, I think that all of McManus’ books are must reads. If you want to know my thoughts on her other books view my reviews here.

Leave me a comment letting me know your thoughts on this book. Did you love it as much as me? Did you hate it? Or, maybe you thought it was sub-par? Before you go, give my blog a follow, so that you never miss a post.

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

Seven Dirty Secrets // Book Review

SynopsisFrom the New York Times bestselling author of Five Total Strangers and “master of suspense” (BCCB), Natalie D. Richards, comes a pulse-pounding YA thriller about a girl who goes on a mysterious scavenger hunt, only to discover that someone knows her worst secret…and is out for blood. I know seven dirty secrets: One caused the fall. One did nothing. One saw it all. One didn’t care. One used their head. One played the hero. One was left for dead.
Synopsis from Barnes And Noble

My Rating


My Thoughts
Right off the bat, I was unsure of the writing style, and kind of scared it wasn’t going to be for me. However, the first few chapters where intriguing enough for me to keep reading. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, which makes for an interesting story. In the first chapter we’re introduce to Cleo, the main protagonist of the story, on her eighteen birthday. There isn’t much personality to her character, but you can tell that she has been through a lot. Throughout the book, we follow Cleo as she embarks on this scavenger hunt of sorts – and if she doesn’t finish the hunt, a secret will be revealed.

The scavenger hunt element was cool, but I was longing for a prologue. It was obvious that something happened on a rafting trip a year ago. Something that involved Cleo, and her scum of an ex. But the author made us wait awhile before finding out what occurred. However, there were a few chapters that took place in the past, giving insight into Cleo and her ex-relationship. And it was a very toxic relationship, at that. But, since her ex-boyfriend was such a horrible boyfriend, I really didn’t care about what caused his death.

There weren’t a whole lot of side characters that we got to know, since Cleo’s friend group was pretty small. But, the characters that we did meet didn’t have much screen time, so to speak making it hard to get to know them. The two characters, in-addition to Cleo, that played a prominent role in the story was her brother, Connor, and best friend, Hope. I loved Hope, because she was really Cleo’s ride-or-die.

“Love doesn’t make us do stupid shit, Cleo. Fear does that.”

I had a lot of theories about who was the one behind the scavenger hunt, but kept second guessing myself. As someone that loves thrillers and horror movies, it irks me that I couldn’t figure out who was messing with Cleo earlier. I seriously realized who it was right before the big reveal. Still, I wouldn’t necessarily file this under a mystery, but it isn’t really a thriller either. The idea was good, but the execution wasn’t what I was hoping for. However, the book ended without any lingering questions, which was nice.

Overall, the moral of the story is that tragedy can tear even the closest people apart. And, no matter what your reasons are for lying, the truth will always come out. As someone with siblings, I liked how they posed the question of what you would do for your sibling. Would you cover up a crime for them? Or perhaps kill for them?

I want to note that this book hits on some hard topics, such as drugs and domestic violence. A few of the scenes could possibly be hard to read for some people. I always try to mention any trigger warnings a book might have, but please still do your own research into the book. In the comments, let me know if you would say this is a thriller. And to get notifications for my posts, follow the blog!

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

I Guess I Live Here Now // Book Review


Synopsis
“A journey to the place where trends are born–Seoul, Korea–where Melody Lee unwillingly moves with her family and must start a new life, a new school…and maybe a new romance.”


This was a book that had been on my radar since I first heard about it. However, I am not generally interested in found family type of stories, but I decided it was worth a try. The main character is Melody Lee, and she is in for a culture shock when she must pack up and move from New York City to Seoul, Korea.

For the most part I liked Melody’s character. She was strong, funny, and opinionated, which to me are pretty good traits. However, like all characters, she had some bad qualities as well. She put her foot in her mouth a lot of the time, and thought she was so different from everyone else. Honestly, she wasn’t that special.

There was some self discovery on Melody’s part, and, by the end of the book, she had learned to embrace her Korean heritage. The story was very character driven, so it was nice that we learned a lot about who Melody was as a person, as well as all the side characters.

However, the characters names all sounded similar, so I had a hard time keeping up with who was who. But I did appreciate that there was some LGBT representation in the book,which I wasn’t expecting.

It was interesting to see how the parents in the book treated their kids. I am not sure if this is how Koren parents are, but they expected a lot from their kids. They acted like school should be your number one priority, your dreams should be realistic and marriage, in a sense, should be arranged.

From the moment Melody arrived in Seoul, her father was introducing her to boys that came from good families. Her dad was strict and uptight, and her mother was very passive throughout most of the book. I could never sit back and conform to these type of rules – especially since most of the parents set such high expectations for their children.

“Oh boy, kiddo. You’ll be changing until the day you die, and not just from moving across the globe, but from smaller things—like a new home or growing older—and from bigger things—like having a family of your own one day or losing loved ones.”

There was a romance within the story that I found to be cute. Yet, I didn’t like how Melody was so hot and cold with her crush. Give the poor boy a break! Still, I did see the chemistry between the two characters.

Also, I loved how the author described Seoul. It made me want to visit it for myself one day! The author’s writing as a whole was great, so I am looking forward to reading more from them.

For me, the moral of the story was that it is okay to dream, and that change is good. Sometimes, we discover a new side to ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we are an entirely new person. A lot of the time in books, characters are so afraid of change, but this book showed that we should welcome change, at least if it’s a change for the better, of course.

Overall, if you are looking for a YA contemporary that is essentially ‘The Princess Diaries’ with a twist, then you’ve found it. In the comments, leave me your thoughts on this book. Please feel free to follow my blog, and share this post too!

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny