Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

27834600In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Published April 19th 2016

What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

Sometimes the only thing to fear…is yourself.

When reclusive writer Leonora is invited to the English countryside for a weekend away, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. But as the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new, an unnerving memory shatters Leonora’s reserve, and a haunting realization creeps in: the party is not alone in the woods. 

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In a Dark, Dark Wood was pretty good. Not my favorite from Ruth Ware but I did like it much more than The Woman in Cabin 10.
I thought this was the most creepy of Ruth’s books and it definitely did keep me entertained. I didn’t think the concept was the most original but it’s a classic creepy set up and you can’t really go wrong with it.
Something I’ve struggled with when it comes to Ruth’s books is connecting to the characters and really loving them. I just couldn’t seem to get into any of the characters in this book. I felt very neutral towards them and I wasn’t very emotionally invested.
I really liked the writing in In a Dark, Dark Wood and I thought the writing actually kept this book alive for me.
I did find the first 3/4 of this book to be better than the last 1/4. I can’t really put my finger on what changed for me in the last 1/4 but it wasn’t quite there for me.
Overall, I enjoyed In a Dark, Dark Wood and would recommend it if you’re looking for a quick, entertaining thriller. It’s not the best book I’ve read but I think it’s worth checking out.

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Review: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

32895291The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

 Publication: July 25th 2017 

From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel.

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

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ARC of this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is my favorite book from Ruth Ware so far. I loved The Lying Game so much more than The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood.
I loved the plot, the writing, and the pace of The Lying Game so much.
I thought the plot was the most original of Ruth’s books and it really stood out to me. The writing in The Lying Game is fantastic. The pace is a slow burn (if you’re into fast paced thrillers, this one probably isn’t for you) but I was very entertained and it kept me reading on to find out what was going to happen.
Even though I didn’t love the characters, I liked them so much more than the characters in Ruth’s other books. I thought they were more relatable and complex.
I was expecting a bigger end to this book. I was hoping it would really pick up the pace and have a big boom for an ending but it didn’t.
The Lying Game was kind of predictable but for me, it was more about reading how everything would unfold.
Overall, this is my favorite book from Ruth Ware and if you’re wanting a fun mystery/thriller, The Lying Game is a book you’ll want to check out.

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Review: Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales by Kiersten White

28822458Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales by Kiersten White

Expected publication: July 25th 2017 by Scholastic

Once upon a time, a girl skipped into the forest and became a zombie.

Wait, no, that’s not how this story is supposed to go. Let’s try again.

Once upon a time, a boy did a horrible job as a sheep-sitter and burned his tongue on stolen pie.

No, children in these stories are always good and virtuous. From the top.

Once upon a time, a king and queen tried to find a princess for their son to marry, and he wound up fleeing from a group of very hairy vampires.

Hmmm…

What about, once upon a time, a bunch of fairy tales got twisted around to be completely hilarious, a tiny bit icky, and delightfully spooky scarytales… in other words, exactly what fairy tales were meant to be. Grab some flaming torches, maybe don’t accept that bowl of pease porridge, and get ready for a wickedly fun ride with acclaimed author Kiersten White and fairy tales like you’ve never heard them before.

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I was sent an ARC copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

This was such a fun read. I really loved the creativity and writing style. The concept was a lot of fun and I think young readers will really enjoy it. The Princess and the…Pea? was probably my favorite of all the stories and I even laughed out loud while reading it.
I don’t know if this really appeals to an older audience but I think middle school and elementary readers would really enjoy this book.

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Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

28187230The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Published June 30th 2016

In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another intense read.

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This is my third book from Ruth Ware and to be totally honest, it’s my least favorite. I was actually expecting this to be the best Ruth’s books because I’ve such hype around it, especially in bookstores.
The synopsis (like all of Ruth’s books) sounds amazing and I expected The Woman in Cabin 10 to be an insane psychological thriller that I would read in one sitting. And even though I did read it fairly quickly, it wasn’t as captivating as I hoped it would be.
I loved the concept but I really didn’t like the characters. With the characters always being drunk or constantly drinking, it was annoying and that alone made me want to quit reading the book.
Some of the things through out this book didn’t really make sense to me and I think it could have been edited better.
The pace was a slow burn, which I’m okay with, but when the plot kicked into gear, I really started to enjoy the book so much more.
Overall, The Woman in Cabin 10 was hit and miss with me. For everything I liked, there was two things I didn’t like. I think this book had a lot of potential but it missed the mark with me.

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Review: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

15797848There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Expected publication: September 26th 2017

Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

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ARC was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Review is from advance partial reading copy

I was very curious to read There’s Someone Inside Your House. I’ve read a couple of Stephanie Perkins’ other books and this sounded nothing like her normal fluffy, cute romances and I’m 100% down for authors trying new, unexpected genres.

There’s Someone Inside Your House starts off with bang. The first chapter has the first murder and it’s fairly fast paced. My advance partial reading copy was 151 pages and if I remember correctly, it took place in a week’s time or close to a week.
The murders are very gory and horrific but of the ones I read about, they weren’t overly detailed. They are described bluntly but not with a ton of graphic details. It would also be easy to skip over the gore if you really didn’t want to read that.
I liked the main character, Makani. I thought it was very cool that she was a PoC and there was diversity in this book. She talks about being African American/ Native Hawaiian several times through out the book and addresses a few of her experiences as a PoC.

I’m not easily scared when it comes to reading horror books but a couple of the murders had me a little paranoid at night. I was surprised how scary this book actually was.
I loved the setting of this book. It’s set in a small town in Nebraska and as someone from a nowhere town that’s 20 minutes from Nebraska, I could relate to a lot of the things going on in this book.

This has nothing to do with the book or the author but I’m really annoyed that the publisher sent out advance partial reading copies. I was sent There’s Someone Inside Your House in an elaborate PR box along with four other ARCs of their biggest fall releases and I was very disappointed to see that only 151 pages of the book was included. None of the other reviews I’ve read mention that their review is from a partial ARC so either they decided not to mention it or they all had complete copies. It doesn’t make sense to me to have both complete ARCs and partial ARCs and it’s unfair that some reviewers would have an advantage with complete copies. As it is, I can’t give a real review because I only have 151 pages. Granted, I did really enjoy those 151 pages but I can’t fully review a book I can’t finish.

I do have a theory of who the killer is. There was a pretty big hint with one of the murders. Honestly, it was such a big hint towards a character that it took away a lot of the mystery. I can also see that its a fake hint. It points to a character so directly that it could be there just to try to throw off the reader.

I’ll update my review and give a rating when I buy a finished copy on release day. From the 151 pages, I’d give There’s Someone Inside Your House four stars.

 

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Review: A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

29359948A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

Expected publication: August 15th 2017

We sat at the edge of the ocean—my sister Henri and I—inches apart but not touching at all. We’d been so sure someone would find us by now.

Emma had always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two had always been best friends. Until something happened that wrecked them.

I’d trusted Henri more than I’d trusted myself. Wherever she told me to go, I’d follow.

Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in this gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart.

For the first time, I was afraid we’d die on this shore.

To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this—or anything. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present?

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I was sent an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

I wanted to love this book, I really did, but there was a few things that I just couldn’t overlook.
The first thing I didn’t like was how dependent Emma was on her sister, Henri. It was so unhealthy and concerning. It was also extremely annoying. Emma was obsessed with her sister and couldn’t think for herself. All she ever thought about was her sister.
The second thing I didn’t like was Alex. I personally don’t think he should have been included in the story. He was so unnecessary and was only there for the sake of romance. I think having the story being about just Emma and Henri would have been much better.
The third and final thing that I didn’t like was how Alex was not written diverse. The opportunity was there and he was written as a white character. He was from Puerto Rico and wasn’t Latino and I think that was very poor on the author. Alex could have been a diverse character so easily and he would have given representation to people who don’t have much representation in media as it is.

I did like the concept of the plot and the writing style a lot though.

Overall, I think this book could have been a lot more enjoyable if better choices had been made about the white washing of Alex and the unhealthy relationship between the sisters. As much as I liked the concept, I couldn’t overlook the things that just weren’t okay.

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Review: Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson

31450976Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson

Published June 6th 2017

Per her 537 rules, Harper Campbell keeps her life tidy—academically and socially. But the moment Sterling Lane transfers into her tiny boarding school, her twin brother gets swept up in Sterling’s pranks and schemes and nearly gets expelled. Harper knows it’s Sterling’s fault, and to protect her brother, she vows to take him down. As she exposes his endless school violations, he keeps striking back, framing her for his own infractions. Worst of all, he’s charmed the administration into thinking he’s harmless, and only Harper sees him for the troublemaker he absolutely is.

As she breaks rule after precious rule in her battle of wits against Sterling and tension between them hits a boiling point, she’s horrified to discover that perhaps the two of them aren’t so different. And maybe she doesn’t entirely hate him after all. Teaming up with Sterling to save her brother might be the only way to keep from breaking the most important rule—protecting Cole.

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I received an unsolicited copy of this book from the publisher

There was so much of this book that I liked but I disliked the main character, Harper, so much and that really hindered me from falling in love with Why I Loathe Sterling Lane.
This was a fun, light, quick read and I read it within a few days. I liked the plot, the writing style, and I actually loved Sterling. He’s a stereotypical pretty boy that makes it his mission in life to annoy the one girl in school who doesn’t like him but he was so funny. I loved him from the moment he was introduced. To be honest, there wasn’t really anything different or original about him but I’m a sucker for witty dialogue and sarcasm so I thought he was a pretty great character.
Harper on the other hand, was not a great character, in my opinion. She’s the stereotypical (yeah, this book is like 90% stereotypes) straight laced girl that only has time for school and no fun but Harper was that times 10. She was so stuck up and had a stick so far up her butt, she was not fun to read about. I couldn’t relate to her at all and I can’t count how many times I rolled my eyes at her.
Granted, she did get better as the book went on but she was really terrible at the beginning of the book.
I did love the plot a lot. The prank war was a great touch and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.
The writing style was also really good. I didn’t think it was overly detailed and had a great paced to it.
Overall, despite this book having a ton of tropes and Harper being one of my least favorite characters ever, I enjoyed this book. It was a fun, fluffy read and I’m definitely going to keep my eyes open for any other contemporary books from this author.

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Review: Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman

33413926Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman

Expected publication: November 7th 2017

REDEMPTION IS NEVER FREE
When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece’s path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.

In this thrilling companion to Vengeance Road, dangerous alliances are formed, old friends meet new enemies, and the West is wilder than ever.

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An ARC of this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Very rarely does my most anticipated books live up to my own hype but Retribution Rails lived up to my hype and more. It was everything I hoped it would be.
This book follows two very different characters. Reece is a well know outlaw and Charlotte is ambitious and trying to provide for her newly widowed mother. The two of them are unwillingly have their paths crossed and adventures follow.
Charlotte and Reece are such well written, complex, and amazing characters. I loved them so much.
Each of them had great qualities and wonderful character development.
The writing style was just as fantastic as it was in Vengeance Road. Erin is such a talented writer and I’ll always read whatever books she puts out.

Retribution Rails’ plot is completely different from Vengeance Road so it wasn’t repetitive at all. Even though RR and VR are companion novels, you can definitely read each on their own (But I totally recommend reading both because they’re so good).

Overall, Retribution Rails was everything I hoped it would be and more. I loved everything about it and I’m undoubtedly going to be rereading it soon. If you’re looking for something fresh, creative, and extremely entertaining, I highly recommend Retribution Rails.

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Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

29385546Warcross by Marie Lu

Expected publication: September 12th 2017

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

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The publisher sent me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

Marie Lu never ceases to amaze me and her books keep getting better and better.

Warcross is such a wild ride. I loved it from page one and I couldn’t put it down. It’s been a very long time since I read an entire book in one sitting but Warcross is so amazing, I needed to know how it ended.
The plot of this book is thrilling, unique, and fast paced. The characters are complex, very well written, and diverse. There was some great plot twists and even though I tried to predict where things were going, I couldn’t.

Warcross was absolutely stunning and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s definitely a top favorite for 2017 and my new favorite from Marie Lu.

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Blog Tour: Once and for All by Sarah Dessen + Giveaway

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Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

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Published June 6th 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

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Review

I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

This was my forth Sarah Dessen book and they’re so addicting and fun. Dessen books have become my new favorite way to get out of reading slumps.

I, for some unknown reason, had absurdly high expectations for Once and for All. I don’t know if it was the cute colors of the cover or the synopsis was calling to me but I went into this book expecting a lot. And it actually delivered for the most part. I’m very impressed that a book that I had high hopes for wasn’t a complete fail.
I thought the plot of this book was extremely fun and I can definitely see myself rereading Once and for All. I loved all the weddings so much. It was really different from other books I’ve read and I appreciated that a lot.
I also really liked the characters. I loved the dynamics between Louna and Ambrose. The dialogue between them was awesome and I really fell in love with both characters.
I loved how realistic Louna and Ambrose’s relationship was. There wasn’t any insta-love, which I’m not a fan of, so that was a big plus for me.
The only thing I’m not really into is how even though Louna and her mom are described as having olive skin tones early on in the book, that doesn’t seem to be reflected on the cover of the book. I wish there had been a more accurate and representative model on the cover.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it’s definitely one of my favorite books from Sarah (tied with Just Listen for my favorite). I loved Louna and Ambrose so much and I’m still laughing over some of the things Ambrose said. If you want a fun YA contemporary, I definitely recommend Once and for All.

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Purchase Once and For All:

PRH Website: http://bit.ly/2rVGWW4

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rAG1h

B&N: http://bit.ly/2qXPyfG

 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of Once and for All by Sarah Dessen (ARV: $19.99 each).
 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 29, 2017 and 12:00 AM on June 26, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 30, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law

 

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Once and For All Tour

 

 

About the author

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Sarah Dessen is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels for teens, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews, and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association. Sarah lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine. Visit her online at sarahdessen.com.

 

 

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