Book Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie by Courtney Summers

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Title: Sadie
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publish Date: September 4, 2018

from Amazon:
Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

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Sadie’s younger sister Mattie is found dead. Sadie loves her sister more than anyone else in her life, and she’s determined to find and kill the man responsible for Mattie’s death. Sadie goes in search of the man, but she doesn’t tell anyone what she is doing. When Sadie is not heard from, she is reported missing. West is a man with a podcast, and when he hears about Sadie and Mattie, he starts looking into Sadie’s disappearance. As he looks for Sadie, he interviews the different people that Sadie has encountered after leaving home.

This book uses Sadie’s point of view and West’s podcasts to tell the story. Sadie’s POV tells about her experience with the people she encounters on her journey. The podcast includes West’s interviews with people from Sadie’s hometown and the people she meets after leaving home. Using the information he gathers about Sadie, West tries to find her. His podcast follows Sadie’s story several months after she is reported missing. I’ve read a few books that use a podcast to tell the story, and have found it an intriguing way to tell a story.

Sadie and Mattie have a difficult childhood. Their mother is a drug addict and leaves when they are still young, but Sadie takes it upon herself to provide for her and her sister. The only adult in their lives is their neighbor, who has known the girls their entire lives and does what she can to help them out.

Sadie is stubborn, independent, and loving. I was rooting for Sadie the entire time. Sadie’s life is an unhappy one, and that makes for a very emotional read.

Sadie is considered a young adult novel, but it read almost as an adult novel. Some difficult topics are covered, including pedophilia, sexual abuse, child abuse, and poverty. Heartbreaking, dark, and tragic.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Review: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

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Title: The Cheerleaders
Author: Kara Thomas
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publish Date: July 31, 2018

from Amazon:
There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident–two girls dead after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know his reasons. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they’d lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget.

Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow, Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

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Monica’s sister Jennifer died five years ago. Jennifer committed suicide shortly after four of her friends died… they were all cheerleaders. The town was upset by the loss of the five teens, and the school ended the cheerleader program. The deaths were all somewhat suspicious – car accident, murder, and suicide. Monica believes there to be more to her sister’s death, and that of her friends. In an effort to discover the truth, Monica enlists the help of her friend Ginny and they start digging into the past.

Most of the story is told from Monica’s point of view. She is a teen troubled by the loss of her older sister five years earlier. Monica is sixteen years old and facing typical teen issues, but also some not so typical issues. This novel takes on some difficult topics, such as abortion, depression, suicide, and drugs.

This is a dark, and sometimes depressing, mystery. The deaths were all suspicious. The first two cheerleaders to die were killed in a car accident, but there were some questions concerning the cause of the accident. The next two girls to die were killed by a neighbor. Unfortunately, the police killed the neighbor before a motive was ever determined. The last death was Monica’s sister, Jennifer. She killed herself, but Monica thinks there was more to that story than she was ever told.

I’m a fan of young adult novels, and since I’ve always been drawn to mysteries and thrillers, this one seemed like a perfect fit. I did enjoy some parts of the novel, but some parts didn’t pull me in. The overall story is complex and intriguing. I kept guessing as to who was behind the deaths, so the story did deliver in that area. Due to the darker storyline, this book is more geared toward older teens, but also an interesting read for adults. Complex, dark, and twisty.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Review: Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Dreamfall by Amy Plum

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Title: Dreamfall
Author: Amy Plum
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: May 2, 2017

from Amazon:
Seven teenagers who suffer from debilitating insomnia agree to take part in an experimental new procedure to cure it because they think it can’t get any worse. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

When the lab equipment malfunctions, the patients are plunged into a terrifying dreamworld where their worst nightmares have come to life—and they have no memory of how they got there. Hunted by monsters from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, these seven strangers will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

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A group of teens with insomnia undergo a new procedure for treatment. During the treatment, something goes wrong, and the teens are trapped in a dream world.

Told from multiple points of view – Cata, Fergus, and Jaime. Cata and Fergus suffer from insomnia and are undergoing treatment. Jaime is a pre-med student observing the treatment. The different POVs were interesting, especially since it covers viewpoints from both sides – those undergoing the treatment and an observer of the test subjects.

The dream worlds the teens go through are nightmares. Each teen suffers from severe insomnia, and they all have nightmares. While trapped in the dream world, the teens go from one nightmare to another, never knowing what they will encounter and if they will be able to escape.

A fast-paced and entertaining sci-fi thriller. Exciting, creepy, and mysterious. It does end on a cliffhanger, and I look forward to reading the next one in the series, Neverwake.

I won a Kindle version of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Book Review: The Thousandth Floor Trilogy by Katharine McGee

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGeeThe Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGeeThe Towering Sky by Katharine McGee

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Title: The Thousandth FloorThe Dazzling HeightsThe Towering Sky
Author: Katharine McGee
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: August 30, 2016 • August 29, 2017 • August 28, 2018

from Amazon:

The Thousandth Floor
A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something… and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction–to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world–and a romance–she never imagined… but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

The Dazzling Heights
New York, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amidst high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets…

Leda is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’ll do anything to make sure the truth stays hidden–even if it means trusting her enemy.

Watt just wants to put everything behind him… until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Will he do what it takes to be free of her for good?

When Rylin wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being there means seeing the boy whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

Avery is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. She’s desperate to be with him… no matter the cost.

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.

But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. And in a world of such dazzling heights, just one wrong step can mean a devastating fall.

The Towering Sky
Welcome back to New York, 2119. A skyscraper city, fueled by impossible dreams.

Leda just wants to move on from what happened in Dubai. Until a new investigation forces her to seek help–from the person she’s spent all year trying to forget.

Rylin is back in her old life, reunited with an old flame. But when she starts seeing Cord again, she finds herself torn: between two worlds, and two very different boys.

Calliope feels trapped, playing a long con that costs more than she bargained for. What happens when all her lies catch up with her?

Watt is still desperately in love with Leda. He’ll do anything to win her back–even dig up secrets that are better left buried.

And now that Avery is home from England–with a new boyfriend, Max–her life seems more picture-perfect than ever. So why does she feel like she would rather be anything but perfect?

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In the future, there’s a huge 1000-floor tower in New York City. It’s a city within a city, where the rich live in the upper floors and the poor live in the lower floors. A creative, dystopian-type world.

Each book picks up shortly after the previous one ends. The first book introduces all of the characters, with only one new main character coming into play in the second book. The final book wraps up everyone’s stories, so (mostly) everything is all nice and final with the last book.

These are more of a guilty pleasure type read. The characters are all teens in high school and most of them are wealthy and live in the upper levels of the tower. Basically, this is a futuristic Pretty Little Liars / Gossip Girl type book. There are several main characters… and lots of gossip and drama.

Each book has about five or six main characters, so there are that many points of view. That can get a little confusing, especially keeping up with the minor characters.

My main issue with this book was the relationship between Avery and Atlas. They are step-siblings, so not actually related, but still, their whole relationship was, for lack of a better word, icky.

Overall, this is a fun and entertaining series. There are mysteries, secrets, and plenty of lies to go around. Also, the covers for these books are fantastic.

I borrowed these books from my local library.

Book Review: The Legends of Eve by Anonymous

The Legends of Eve by Anonymous

Title: The Legends of Eve
Author: Anonymous
Publisher: DreamWords Publishing
Publish Date: January 27, 2019

Everyone is a part of the Circle of Time, eternally reliving the same life. But Destrou is the anomaly. And this is his first chance at life—maybe his last, if everything works out.

S’rae is a lonely girl born light-years after Destrou. Before she could achieve her dream to graduate top of her class at the School of Wind, the professor tells her she is one of the twelve destined students from the three elemential schools chosen to visit the Valley of Gaia. Fun, right? Except this destiny was written by the blood of Gods and no one has seen the Valley in over three thousand years.

How are they linked?

Destrou has a book written about his life, which has been bound away since the beginning of time.

And S’rae is destined to read it.

At first, reading a book to uncover a secret seems foolish until S’rae finds herself with the ability to affect its world, watching the words of his life change before her eyes. But that’s nothing compared to the shadows plotting to kill them to make sure Destrou’s secret is not told.

As S’rae is drawn deeper into the book, it teaches her that no one ever truly knows when they’re the villain in someone else’s story. Not only must she find the courage to face impossible choices and figure out how she’s connected to Destrou, but she must battle the dark secrets in her own heart that tell her she may be the villain in her story.

The Legends of Eve by Anonymous
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A creative fantasy world full of magic and prophecies. In this world, people are separated by their elements (Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire). Twelve students are chosen, or destined, to go to the Valley of Gaia to learn magic. Once there, the students are also taught from The Book of Eve.

Two stories are being told. One story is about Destrou. The other story centers around S’rae. S’rae is a student reading a book about Destrou’s life. The two stories are intriguing, but the flow of the story was sometimes disrupted due to sudden transitions between timelines.

A complex story of secrets and adventures. This is a fairly long book that took a while for me to read. The worldbuilding was fantastic, but so much happens that I kept losing focus. This is the first book in a series, so I completely understand the need for a solid foundation for the magical world. That said, there were so many characters and things happening, the story sometimes became confusing.

Overall, an interesting magical world to get lost in. Imaginative, adventurous, and entertaining.

I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

Smoke and Iron
by Rachel Caine

The fourth book in The Great Library series by Rachel Caine. Jess and his friends are back, and trying to save the Great Library from evil and corruption.

This story is told using multiple points of view. That is different than in the earlier books, but it works for this one. The characters aren’t all in the same location the entire time, and a lot is happening. It was nice to see all of the pieces coming together.

A creative and engaging fantasy world. A great series for fans of young adult fantasy stories set in a dystopian world. I’ve read the previous three books in the series (Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, and Ash and Quill), and definitely recommend reading them before this one. There is one more book to follow after this one, and I can’t wait to see how the series ends.

I received a digital ARC from Berkley and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Grace and Fury
by Tracy Banghart

Serina and Nomi are sisters living in a world where women have no rights. Serina is being groomed to be a Grace, basically a concubine to the king. In this case, the heir to the throne is selecting his first Grace. Nomi is serving as Serina’s handmaid. With a twist of fate, Nomi catches the heir’s eye. A dangerous secret is revealed, and Serina takes the fall.

Serina is charming and beautiful. Nomi is bold and headstrong. They couldn’t be more different. They desire completely different things in life. Due to unforeseen circumstances, both end up in very different positions than they ever imagined.

The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of Serina and Nomi. They face challenges that take them completely out of their elements. However, they are both strong females in a world where women are oppressed.

This looks to be an exciting new YA fantasy series. Twists and turns make for a fast-paced and fun read. Interesting characters in a challenging world.

I received an eARC from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Flight Season by Marie Marquardt

Flight Season by Marie Marquardt

Flight Season
by Marie Marquardt

Vivi, TJ, and Ángel. Each has a story to tell.

A sweet and emotional coming-of-age story. Told through alternating points of view, the three characters tell their story. Vivi has returned home for the summer after her first year away at college. It was a tough year for Vivi because her father died, plus she struggled academically. She hopes to get back on track by working as a hospital intern for the summer. TJ works hard at a hospital during the day and a restaurant at night. He dreams of becoming a nurse, but feels obligated to work in his family’s restaurant business. Ángel is sick. Very sick.

Vivi the hospital intern, TJ the nursing student, and Ángel the patient. A story about finding friendship, love, and following dreams.

I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Book Review: Going Places by Kathryn Berla

Going Places by Kathryn Berla

Going Places
by Kathryn Berla

Hudson is going places. That’s what one of his grade school teachers said about him, but now he’s a senior in high school and unsure about what that means. He wants to home school in his final year of school, so he can relax, focus on his two businesses, and create a graphic novel. However, his senior year ends up being one of growth and friendship in ways he never imagined.

Hudson was a typical, awkward teen. He wanted what many seventeen/eighteen year old young men want… a girl and plenty of time to relax. I enjoyed that Hudson was so normal, and that he came from a loving family. His father died when he was young and that was hard on Hudson, but he was close to his mother. They had a great mother and son relationship.

This story focused on relationships. Hudson was friendzoned by the girl he loved, he met a sarcastic, sporty girl that taught him to be a man, and he worried and cared about his clients. Hudson ran two businesses, a dog walking service and one that helped elderly people who were on their own.

This story dealt with being young, but it also dealt with aging and the elderly. Since one of Hudson’s businesses was geared toward the elderly, that introduced aspects of growing old, like loneliness and regrets.

This was an easy reading novel. A sweet, sometimes humorous, and relatable story about growing up.

I received an ARC ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book’s expected release is in March 2018.

Book Review: Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Ace of Shades
by Amanda Foody

Enne Salta heads to New Reynes, the City of Sin, in search of her mother. Her mother, Lourdes, has been missing for four months, and Enne wants her mother back. Unfortunately, Enne has never been to New Reynes, and is unfamiliar with the city. She only has one contact name that her mother mentioned, Levi Glaisyer. Enne is a very proper young woman, and she expects others to behave accordingly… but Levi is not a gentleman. Levi is basically a con man who is in over his head. He offers to help Enne find her mother because he thinks Enne will be able to help solve his problems.

The story seemed simple, but this novel had so much to offer. The complex city was my favorite. The fantasy aspect was different and entertaining. The characters were interesting, though I had to read a while before I felt that way.

Amanda Foody’s description of the city was one of the best things about this novel. The different areas of the city had personalities of their own. The fantasy part of this novel only added mystique and intrigue. Everyone says the city corrupts, and it appeared to be true.

The story is told from Enne and Levi’s points of view. The chapters rotated between characters, and it was a nice balance of what was going on with each of them.

Enne was my favorite. She was from a very conservative society and raised to be a proper lady. She was smart and feminine yet tough. Though New Reynes was in contrast to everything she was accustomed, she handled herself well. She was raised with a set of rules to follow, and she was faithful in her adherence to those rules. Her journey through the book was transformative.

Levi was less likable for me, though I did begin to care for him more as the story progressed. He was presented as a street lord and con man, so not exactly a likable guy. Sometimes he appeared a bit weak, and that seemed to go against how someone in his position would behave. Anyway, he had both good and bad qualities, and his character did a little growing too.

I look forward to reading more of this series. This book is good for those who enjoy fantasy YA with a strong female protagonist.

I won an uncorrected proof of this book in a Goodreads Giveway. This book is set to be released in April 2018.