Book Review- Little Monsters

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Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
Published by Delacorte Press on July 25th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
Pages: 336
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Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

OH GOSH. Where to even start?

This book was NOTHING like I was expecting… in the best way possible.

I honestly had no idea what to think of this book. I had never read anything by Kara Thomas before, and I’m really not the biggest fan of Pretty Little Liars (which this book is “for the fans of”). I don’t know what prompted me to pick it up, but I am so glad I did.

Okay so this review is probably going to be a little ramble-y (like all of my reviews…) but I’m still in so much shock after reading this that it is a little hard to form coherent thoughts.

EVERYTHING about this book was amazing. From the scheming to the mystery to the reveal at the end. I was thrown in a loop so many times that it baffles me. There was just enough realness in the story to make it seem 100% real, like I was reading a true recounting of something that happened far away in Broken Falls.

The characters in the book were SO COMPLEX. I was surprised by them at every turn. The secrets and the jealousy. The backstabbing and the ulterior motives. What was even more scary than the eventual truth that came at the end was how hard it was to hate any of the characters. Even the characters who did awful, terrible things.

The plot of this book was incredible. That’s the only way to describe it. I’ve never read anything like it, and all I want is more. More, more, more.

I would recommend this book to everyone. Seriously. Everyone can take something away from this.

I am going to give Little Monsters five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Hunting Prince Dracula

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Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Expected publication by Little, Brown on September 19th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Romance
Pages: 448
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Amazon

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Stalking Jack the Ripper was one of my favorite books, so when I was able to get my hands on a copy of Hunting Prince Dracula (through a trade) I was over the moon!

Hunting Prince Dracula was every bit as dark, spooky, haunting, and swoon worthy as promised. Audrey Rose and Thomas travel to Romaina, only to find there is a murderer on the loose, and the dead bodies are drained of blood.

I loved this book, but not quite as much as I liked the first one. There were some things throughout the book that put me a little off (nothing major or worth mentioning, but still, every once in a while I would pause and go like “what? why would you put that in there? That does absolutely nothing for the plot/characters/novel at all”). But I was able to get past that pretty easily, and it didn’t really bother me that much.

As in Stalking Jack the Ripper, I picked out the killer the first time they were introduced. Literally the second that character met Audrey Rose I said to myself “and there’s the killer.” I only doubted that thought once in the book (which was some pretty good plotting on Maniscalco’s part), but in the end I turned out to be right.

I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who likes spooky, thrilling, mysterious, or gothic/dark books. These are amazing!! I honestly can not wait for the next book to come out (and this one to come out so more people can read it!), and I’m going to spend every second from now until the title is announced trying to guess just what legend Wadsworth and Cresswell are going to be chasing next.

ALSO THE SWOONS GUYS. SO MANY SWOONS I DIED.

I am going to give Hunting Prince Dracula four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- How To Hang A Witch

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How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on July 26 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Pages: 358
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Amazon

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

After a bit of a rocky start, I actually really enjoyed this book. It had the perfect mix of magic and mystery, complete with a ghost side kick and some witchy bit… sorry, “friends”.

Sam has no idea why the so-called “descendants” hate her, even if she is a descendant of Cotton Mather. Honestly, when I first started the book and got to this part, I was ready to give up and call it a day. I mean, come on. The Descendants?

But I decided to stick with it and I am really glad I did. Despite their cringe-worthy group name, and Sam’s cringe-worthy ability to make a fool out of herself at every turn (which by the way is a very annoying trope), How To Hang a Witch was actually a kind of amazing book.

I loved the witch lore and history of the Salem Witch Trials. I loved Elijah the ghost, and I even ended up loving the descendants. Sam, too, became a much more interesting character as the book went on… mostly due to some amazing character development and less of the lets-make-Sam-super-clumsy-in-order-to-move-the-plot-along.

The ending of this book was actually a total surprise, and I loved it. Honestly, after I got past the first quarter or so of the book, I could barely put the book down. Even the weird love-v-thing between Sam, Elijah, and Jaxon (who has no idea that Elijah even exists) doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Yes, I didn’t LOVE Jaxon (totally team Elijah on this one), but he still had some endearing qualities, and by the end I found myself quite liking him, thank you very much.

Sam’s narration had a very young voice, but considering she is 15 in the book, it makes sense. It got on my nerves a little at the beginning of the book, but the more I read, the more I appreciated it… kind of like everything else in the book.

So I know this review focuses more on what I didn’t like about the book, but let me just say that How To Hang A Witch was actually kind of amazing. I am definitely going to be getting the sequel, Haunting the Deep. I would recommend this book to people who love supernatural things (especially witches!!), young adult mysteries, or are just looking for an quick, intriguing read.

I am going to give How To Hang A Witch four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- The Disappearances

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The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy
Expected publication by HMH Books for Young Readers on July 4 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Mystery
Pages: 400
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Amazon

What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home–and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together–scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream–vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible–and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone’s secrets for long before it starts giving them up

The Disappearances was an interesting book. I don’t really know how else to put it.
This book takes place in the 1940’s, but honestly there was nothing that really made me think that the events were happening in the past (besides the lack of phones). I actually kept having to remind myself that it was in the past; it just really didn’t feel like a historical book at all.

Besides the weird time thing, the book was pretty entertaining. I had a hard time getting on board with the disappearances and variants (the herbs and various other things that counteracted the disappearances), but I went along with it. There was a mysterious aspect to the story, and Aila spent a lot of time trying to figure out both her mothers life and how she is connected to the disappearances.

The characters were alright, although some of them were a bit one dimensional. Nothing about any of them was really surprising, and I didn’t really care much for anyone. It took more than half of the book for me to really feel anything for the book, and I really only started to enjoy the story during the last quarter.

I don’t know if it was the concept of the disappearances themselves that threw me, or if it was the weird time placement (that is really just bugging me for some reason) that made me not love this book as much as I could have. I do think that some people will fall in love with this book, but it really just wasn’t for me.

I am going to give The Disappearances three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

*I was given an ARC of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review- Stalking Jack the Ripper

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Published by Jimmy Patterson on September 20 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Mystery, Horror
Pages: 326
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Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

HOLY ALKKJDNVQERGNALJAL MY LIFE IS OVER. THIS BOOK HAS KILLED ME.
Phew, okay I think I got that out of my system…. (but seriously a girl named Emma was killed so like…. I was killed?)

As you can probably tell, I loved this book. Just everything about it was so beautiful and dark and mysterious and sexy and beautiful (yes, it needs to be said twice).

Audrey Rose is amazing. Just everything about her. She is such a strong and independent person, yet she is still very feminine. She is witty and strong minded and sassy and just all together a really fun person to read about.

Now Thomas *sigh*. He is adorable. I literally want to just burst with adoration for him and his relationship with Audrey Rose. By himself, Thomas is amazing, but the whole courtship between the two of them just added this romantic side to the story that was just TOO CUTE. I AM LITERALLY DYING OVER IT.

All of the characters are just so dimensional and interesting and amazing. Even the characters that don’t play a major role are well developed. They each had a unique voice and story that were somehow conveyed even if they were only present for a scene or two. I loved how the victims of Jack were given a story and a voice as well. And I loved how Audrey Rose reacted to the murders. It was just perfect.

The historical aspect to the book was also breathtaking. I felt as if I was thrown back in time to London circa 1888. Everything was so exquisitely described and portrayed. And I loved how historically accurate everything was regarding Jack the Ripper (all of the liberties taken by Maniscalco were disclaimed at the end) and how seamlessly Audrey Rose and all the other characters were put into the story to solve the mystery of Jack the Ripper.

There was a lot of rather graphic descriptions of the murdered girls, but honestly I can’t imagine the book without them. They added this darker element to the story that balanced out the light flirtations between Audrey Rose and Thomas. They also added an urgency and realness to the story that it would have been incomplete without.

So, I kind of guessed who Jack was in the beginning, but that really didn’t take anything away from the story. Everything about this book was just amazing. I don’t know how many times I’m going to say that, but seriously that is the only thing going through my mind right now. It really was just so amazing.

I waited wayyyy too long to read this book, and unless you really don’t like graphic descriptions of mutilated bodies (okay, that sounds really bad but I promise its not that bad) you need to go get this now and understand the beautifulness of this wonderful book. Seriously, just get it. Read it. Love it.

Stalking Jack the Ripper is easily one of my favorite books. So, it should be no surprise that I am giving it five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Grit

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Grit by Gillian French
Published by HarperTeen on May 16 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 304
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It’s summer in rural Maine; when seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss isn’t raking berries with her sister, Mags, and cousin, Nell, during the day, she’s drinking and swimming with the boys in the quarry by night. She knows how to have a good time, just like anyone else, but when you’ve been designated the town slut, every move you make seems to further solidify your “trashy girl” reputation.

But the fun is what’s been keeping Darcy’s mind off the things she can’t forget: a disturbing secret she shares with Nell, the mysterious disappearance of her ex-best friend, and that hazy Fourth of July party that ended with Darcy drunk, on her back, wondering how she let it get this far.

Then someone in town anonymously nominates Darcy to be in the running for Bay Festival Princess—a cruel, almost laughable gesture that can only be the work of someone with a score to settle. Everything Darcy has been trying to keep down comes bubbling to the surface in ways she wasn’t prepared to handle…and isn’t sure if she can.

Grit was a lot different than I thought it would be. Honestly I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, I just know that it was not what Grit turned out to be.

Darcy was surprisingly easy to relate to, and had so many dimensions that I’m not sure one book was able to explore them all completely. What I loved even more than that, though, was how dimensional ALL of the characters were. Each character felt like a real person. I wish that some of the characters were more explored *ahem Mason* but for the most part all of the characters had a chance to give some of themselves to the story.

I loved the emotions in the book, and I found myself at the edge of my seat on more than one occasion. Emotions are a large driving force in the story, not just for Darcy, but for the other characters too. Everything that happens feels so real, because of what causes each event to happen.

The ending of the book was amazing, but I wish there was a little more explanation of what happened to all of the characters. I feel like there are a few loose ends to be tied up. But, for the most part, I really liked it.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good, short summer read, or anyone who likes contemporary mystery. I am going to give Grit four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

* An ARC of this book was provided to me by the author, however this in no way influences my review.

Book Review- Follow Me Back

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Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger
Expected Publication by Sourcebooks Fire on June 6, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 354
Amazon
Goodreads

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

I might have just found one of my new favorite books. Follow Me Back was AMAZING!!! I received an ARC in exchange for a review in the mail yesterday, and considering I’m in the middle of two other books, my plan was to read the first few sentences and put it on the shelf to read next. AND THEN I COULD NOT STOP READING. Literally I could not put the book down. I didn’t do anything until I finished it. I just sat there and read and read and OMG look who’s fangirling now.

The story is told in two narratives; a police interview, and back story. There was so much mystery and secrecy. I just had to know what was going to happen next the whole time. The whole book was fast paced and exciting.

The characters themselves were surprisingly relatable and likeable. It was easy to sympathize with Eric and to like Tessa. Their conversations were so cute, and despite everything else going on around them and in their lives, they had each other. What I liked most about that was how they got to that point. Their initial conversation was actually super believable, as was its progression. It just seemed organic and natural.

I just really loved everything about this book. I loved the characters and the plot. I loved the writing and the presentation. I loved the mystery and action and suspense and the danger. I would recommend this book to literally anyone who likes amazing books because that is what this is.

If I could give Follow Me Back more than five hearts, I would, but five seems to be the limit, so five hearts it is.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Seriously though. Go preorder this book!! You do not want to miss this!!