There’s Someone Inside Your House

15797848There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

4_stars

“Students were urged to stay home, or if their parents would be at work, stay in the home of a trusted friend. It wasn’t safe to be alone.” 

Osborne High has a serial killer, as seemingly random students are viciously killed one right after the other. The police department is severely understaffed for the case, and everyone is speculating over who did it and who is next.

The Story-Guys this book was so perfect for me. I am a serious scardy cat so I can’t really do any real horror books. But I grew up with some of those major iconic high school slasher films from the late 90’s early 00’s: Scream, I know What You Did Last Summer, Final Destination, etc. If you expect this book to be like those movies…that is exactly what you’re going to get.

The BEST part of this book is that you get to read the killing from their perspective. I know that sounds really twisted, but hear me out. You know the moments when you’re watching one of these slasher films and you yell at the TV (pun intended) “There’s someone in your house!” or something of that variation and you think to myself, I would so not do that, or I would be out of there so fast. That is what makes this book fantastic. Each character has their own rationalization of why things are different than how they left it – thus falling them into the trap of the killer.

At about the half way point the story starts to drag just a little bit, but is livened up shortly after. Aside from the stress of the killings each kid has their own life going on, own worries, and of course their own hormones. It’s this recipe of teenage-ness meets serial killer that really gives that “classic” high school slasher movie vibe.

The Characters-I’m not going to specify anyone in particular here, because I honestly feel like it might give away a little bit of the story if I specify on any one student. But let me just say this, if I was ever attacked by a knife wielding psychopath I would hope that I had friends as awesome as the crew in this book.

Final Thoughts-There’s a reason why I don’t read scary books, and for the next few days my paranoid butt is going to increase the amount of times I check that the doors or windows are locked.

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One of Us Is Lying

 

32571395One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

4_stars

 

Seemingly set up to land some detention time, 5 vastly different students find that their punishment goes farther than an afternoon when one of them doesn’t make it out alive. Now the remaining 4 students have their lives completely turned upside down as the investigation on the death hones in on each of them and the secrets that they all thought would stay hidden.

 

The Story- Maybe it’s because I don’t read any thrillers or mystery, but I had no idea who done it until the big reveal. It was at that moment though, that I wasn’t relieved for those who didn’t do it, but was devastated for the one guilty. Somehow this book takes the Breakfast Club recipe and turned it into a murder mystery. The best part was how it took the basic high school tropes and transformed it into a less superficial look at the challenges that each teen was facing.

The Characters-

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Addy-By far my favorite character of this bunch. Addy grows tremendously as she learns to break from her shell and be her own person outside the expectation that her family and boyfriend has built for her.

 

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Bronwyn- Not everyone can be perfect, and Bronwyn seemed to have just 2 faults. First, one that lead her to the conundrum she found herself in that ultimately led to the second (which, was mostly just a disappointment to her parents).

 

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Nate-Who doesn’t love a good-bad boy? The most expected thing to happen was for Nate to show everyone that there is a boy with feelings underneath all that bad assery.

 

 

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Cooper-Surprise! The jock isn’t stuck up! The cutest thing about Cooper was that he would get all southern-drawl whenever he got worked up or nervous.

 

 

It was Professor Plum in the library with the candlestick– I kid you not I loved Clue when I was growing up. So this book really had me wondering time and time again, well maybe it was so and so. Why don’t I read more mysteries/thrillers?

The most obvious moral to the story? Don’t be a jerk because one of your classmates might try to kill you.

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Summer Unscripted

32492159Summer Unscripted by Jen Klein

 

Did not finish 50%

 

“I’m like a human skipping stone, splashing across life’s surface, going after on thing and then another.” 

Maybe it’s because it’s not summer anymore. Maybe it’s because the protagonist is this wishy washy girl. I am 50% through the book and I can some it up REALLY easily. Sorry this review is such a mess though.

-*googly eyes* at Tuck
-I like Tuck! Let’s stalk him this summer
-Uses old friend to help stalk Tuck
-Oh hi other cute boy who’s nice!
-Oh, you’re old friend’s ex?
-Let’s not make this awkward
-I like Tuck!
-Other cute boy is cute!
-Insert some theater jargon here
-I like Tuck! **been stalking him this summer, still don’t know him well
-Other cute boy is cute! But I can’t like him…because I am supposed to like Tuck.
-Also you’re old friends ex…**not that it matters cause I’m not REAL friends with her anyway…
-I like Tuck!
-But this other guy is cute…

GET. OVER. YOURSELF.

 

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The Couple Next Door

28815474The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

3 stars

 

It’s OCTOBER! My sis and I are reading some scary books as a theme this month. This was in the Mystery & Thriller section so here goes…

The Story:

You go next door with your husband to a small dinner party and leave your baby at home because the babysitter canceled. You protest but your hubby insists and says it will all be okay since the monitor is on. Well guess what? The baby is taken and it’s your worst nightmare.  And not only because you are missing your angelic child, NO, because now you are being judged. And really, that’s a parent’s worst nightmare right?

The Characters:

Anne: She’s a married rich kid still living off of mom and (step)dad. She also has postpartum depression and other baggage that’s revealed later on. DID Anne kill her child and get rid of the body?

Marco: He came from nothing and married up. His business is on the fritz. DID Marco stage a kidnapping of his own child?

Cynthia : She’s the sexy next door neighbor who hates kids. DID she do it because the baby gets in the way of her friendship with Anne?

Read it and find out!

LOL, I might be a bit delirious with exhaustion right now and I think my review is showing that. Sorry guys!

Wrap-up:

I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars. It was a quick read but I was hoping it would be more suspense and it really wasn’t. It’s basically a whodunnit story with some twists. And nobody is who you think they are. And it basically confirms my mother’s paranoia that your baby is never safe and never, ever, ever leave it alone even to go to the bathroom. And yes, mom, I will double check that the doors are locked and the kids are in their beds sleeping before I turn in.

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Unspoken Rules

35424123Unspoken Rules by Lora Inak

ARC provided by Netgalley for a fair review.

Publish date: September 17, 2017

2 Stars

“She wasn’t like the other kids at school. She didn’t have the same freedoms. She had to live the life decided for her. Tread the same terrain trodden on by her mother, her grandmother, no doubt her sister and countless other girls and women from her community. Her road was set – long straight, even, the scenery black and white.” 

Unspoken Rules is about a Syrian girl, Natalie, living in Australia desperately trying to balance life at home within the Syrian Christian Orthodox community and her secular life at school.

The Story-What I liked about this story was that it instilled quite a bit of culture around Natalie’s choices. It’s a lot more than just strict parents with lots of rules – it has to do with the background of why there are rules. So when she went around trying to hide her choices from her family it was understandable. Here she was trying to live a life as a modern teenager in Australia, when her life was shrouded by religion, tradition, and expectation. Her life at home at school was so drastically different that it was just so much easier to separate the two rather than merge them as one life – her life.

The Characters-Natalie could be the biggest hypocrite. Like here she was complaining about how traditional her family was, and then flip out and unfriend her best friend because of a modern choice she made, that frankly didn’t actually affect Natalie in any shape or form.
I did however adore how unsuperficial she was when it came to her judging people, especially when it came to including one of the unpopular girls at her church.

The Connection-I was raised in a fairly strict household, so I definitely get how she would feel when it comes to not being allowed to do a lot of things. I honestly got a little annoyed at how much she was complaining about her different lives. Like, dang girl, you’re the one who made it that way. At least she admitted she needed to grow up. I also found it a little weird how open she was to changes in her life once a boy was involved. It was a big relief to see that at some point in their relationship she realized the choices she was making was drastically different than how she was raised. Now while I do not agree with some of the way the orthodox religion is, I do not agree with someone just flip flopping without a thought – and I was incredibly happy that she didn’t just get carried away with the moment.

All in all, I thought the book was okay, but nothing to really grab my friend and rave about to.

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The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

5 Stars

Much to my friend’s amazement, I knew pretty much nothing about the Percy Jackson series before starting this book. I think I enjoyed it a lot more because I didn’t really know any of the little factoids that a lot of other people know, heck, I hardly even knew the synopsis before opening the book. I knew that my 11 year old nephew was reading the series, and that I wanted to read it with him. I really wish that I was his age reading the book for the first time. The thing about Percy Jackson that would probably make it so appealing to as young as a 5th grader is that they probably have a lot of recent education on Greek mythology in school. At least, I think I learned about that stuff around the 4th or 5th grade, to be honest it was so long ago it mostly mashes together. Regardless, it should be taking a lot of information that they would be familiar with.

TLT tells the story about Percy Jackson a modern day kid who finds out that his dad is Poseidon (HA! I didn’t even know this going into the book, but apparently it’s in the synopsis so I don’t count this as a spoiler). There is trouble with the Greek gods as someone seems to have stolen Zeus’ thunder lightning bolt. Someone, Percy to be precise, must find the lightning bolt before the wrath of the gods starts WWIII.

The Story-Obviously, kids like to have stories where ordinary people find out they are destined for greater things. When we are young we like to let our imaginations get away with us (heck, I still do). TLT delivers what is familiar and makes it into something exciting. Throughout the book, I am reminded of familiar mythology as it is reincorporated into Percy’s quest.
The writing style in the book is so easy and flows well enough that any young reader will enjoy the book because it reads like someone telling a story. A story full of twists and turns and never a dull moment.

The World Building– There isn’t a lot of new world building as this is set in a modern day setting. However, Riordan does a spectacular job of modernizing the Greek gods into Western civilization.

The Characters-Percy really is such a lucky boy. I mean, yeah, his life leading up to his quest was pretty awful, however, he should pretty much be dead. There were so many opportunities where he could have easily died, the end. It really was right place & right time plus a little dash of help form his friends (and dad).

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I’m not going to go too in depth into all the people and friends Percy meets. But I will say that I love how the gods are depicted in this story. They are supposed to be this revered being, but they’re just a bunch of selfish, snotty brats. It’s funny how entitled they are because of their power.

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The Rules of Persuasion

The Rules of PersuasionThe Rules of Persuasion by Amity Hope

1 star

ARC received from Netgalley for a fair review.

The Story-The Rules of Persuasion was 95% predictable, but 100% full of angsty cuteness. Honestly, if you have read any YA contemporary where a boy or girl get’s someone to be their fake boyfriend or girlfriend then you have read this book. The only the thing that is different is the circumstances surrounding the initiation of fake relationship. This review may contain what is considered spoilers, but honestly I think everything I write in here should be entirely expected….so I’m not going to mark it all spoiler. Let’s review this trope recipe:

-someone needs a favor/blackmails
-they actually run in different circles/don’t like each other
-they write down all the rules
-the rules doesn’t stop them for getting a dose of the feels
-shit is going to hit the fan right

Well, you get the idea….

The Characters
Meg-Somehow this girl was supposed to be a girl that wasn’t like other girls. But let’s face it, she was just your average girl, minus her family issues, not some crazy special snowflake. The downside is, that she is sort of a forgettable character. I just finished hours of reading about her and this is what I know:
-she likes to wear high heeled boots that click clack, preferably in black.
-she has two friends, but she only really hangs out with them in school…except to get ready for a date..
-she’s not really into anything in particular…….like really, what are her interests? Sure she watches black and white movies…on rainy days…she likes the beach because of her sister…she graffiti’s because of her sister…in fact she wears black because of her sister… She wants to be a counselor, why? Because she got good counseling…after what happened to her sister. Don’t get me wrong, that’s great and all. But who is this chick? I don’t know, I hardly remember her.

Luke-What can I really say? This is a contemporary YA novel. Let’s hit every cliché thing that accurately describes Luke:
-he’s rich, but wants nothing to do with his family
-he’s good looking
-he’s good at sports too
-he’s also smart – party because he has to study hard for his family
-he has an ex gf who’s a heinous bitch.
-You know what else? He’s got dimples & smirks a lot. That’s right. He was smirking within 2% of the book. I almost decided to keep count of all the times his smirkiness was mentioned….but it got old really fast. Let’s be completely real, if someone smirked at you that much you would be sort of weirded out right?

The Connection-Despite the book being cute, it wasn’t entirely relatable. I understand the need for these kids to act out in their own way but there were a few things that just plain bothered me. The biggest part was how the rich kid was somehow supposed to feel bad for being rich. Like I’m sorry that you had to move from a house where you had a walk in closet at one point. Also, not everyone has parents that allow them to commandeer their old motorcycles… there is something that really irks me when a character bashes another one about being rich, like somehow that makes them a bad person. You know what that makes them? Rich. It shouldn’t be used as a way to make the poorer character seem like a better person.

I’m sorry for all the lists in this review. It was sort of unavoidable to do while pointing out everything. Now if you’ve never read a fake bf/gf book before, it could all be fresh for you and you might like it. Unfortunately, this book didn’t have enough spin to it to make me actually like it that much.

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The Big F

thebigf

The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin

ARC from Swoon Reads and Netgalley for a fair review.

Publish Date: August 29, 2017

5 stars

“Being lost, being without the plan I’d armed myself with my entire life, got me out of my comfort zone in ways that challenged me and forced me to grow as a person.” 

Maggie Ann Martin debut? I dub thee for fans of Kasie West and Morgan Matson.

The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin was a breath of fresh air in the YA contemporary category. Instead of a story about a 16 year old falling for that one guy that sweeps her off her feet in the most unexpected ways we are given the story of post high school but not quite adult. Where YA contemporary has steadily given us that high school romance and NA/Chicklit gives us those mid-twenties/fresh out of college taking on the world through middle age stories, Martin has delivered us a refreshing story that manages to land right in the middle. While The Big F dances around the typical tropes it doesn’t exactly take the same path.

Dani is fresh out of high school and as the daughter of a college guru she is on her way to the college of her dreamsor not. She’s failed her AP English class and her acceptance into the communications program has been taken away leaving her without a college plan. That is until she meets Luke, the boy next door who held her heart till he moved away when she was 11, wearing a t-shirt advertising the local community college. She finds herself enrolled into a community college as a last ditch effort to hopefully get back on track. If only she could figure out how to handle her new budding relationship, passing her classes and getting back into the good graces of her parents.

The Story-Like I said before, I loved that this didn’t follow all the typical YA contemporary tropes, but they are there, just not obnoxiously…

Firstly, lets touch on the base that she has a healthy relationship with parents that are, wait a minute, still together. There was no tragic death of one of her parents or a divorce sparking some kind of character building. Her parents were together, her family spent time together, and her brother was normal. Now, this book didn’t pretend that the world was perfect as her friends have had their own parental issues. It just wasn’t one of the defining issues for Dani. In fact, everything Dani goes through is self-inflicted and she figures it out on her own.

The boy next door trope is probably the biggest cliché in this book. Thankfully, the story doesn’t completely drive this one home, and uses it merely as a spring board for the plot. You know what the best part of this one was? It was almost more of a reach for a familiar connection rather than the one next door that is suddenly confessed to.

Lastly, the friend that sets you right trope. Dani had two friends like this. She had a friend to set her right emotionally, and a friend to check her when she was drowning academically, what a lucky girl. Even though they were there for her though, it wasn’t like her friends had to knock her silly and talk sense into her; they were just there for that extra push.

Was this the next story to make your heart break into a million pieces and then soar to the moon? No, but it’s the type of book you can enjoy over a weekend, silently cheering her on and grinning and her foolheartedness

The Characters

Dani-Okay, I really liked her. I think my favorite part of her was that though she had her romantic tendencies she felt so tangible. She was realistic, straight forward, and had her weaknesses that didn’t put her in the damsel in distress category. Despite making some key choices that she has to fix, she is still fairly level headed. She doesn’t need people telling her what to do, just the usual pat on the back and reassuring words.

Luke-What can I say really? He is pretty much the perfect boy next door. What makes him so perfect? He is the boy we dream about when we’re 11 but realize that everyone has their flaws even if they sit on such a high pedestal.

Porter-Everyone needs that one friend that shakes things up. Porter is that friend that introduces you to new things without making you go buck wild crazy that your family is completely concerned. I feel like all the Porters of the world are underappreciated, and I thank Martin for helping the “gangly boy” stand out.

Zoe-This girl has got to be the best wing woman ever. Martin did such a good job of incorporating a supportive friend without her own issues becoming the plot of the story. Zoe isn’t some magical creature that doesn’t have any drama per se, but the book wasn’t about her and she did a stellar job as a supporting character by not stealing any drama thunder.

The Connection– Personally, I have always felt completely detached whenever I read about the following things in YA contemporaries who were obsessed with going to a university. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against this age old tradition of kids graduating high school and heading off to college. I loved that this book showed a little bit more of the alternative – the wonderful world of community college.

I consider my town a college town. Spokane has both Gonzaga and Whitworth, a remote campus for WSU downtown, EWU just a stone throw away in Cheney and two community colleges. I had the luxury of going to both community colleges over the course of five years, and while I missed the whole dorm/sorority bit, I don’t feel like I missed out on all that much as far as my education goes. I think one of my favorite parts of the book was really that Martin didn’t dog against community college, even though Dani’s mother was a consultant for college acceptance. It was refreshing to be reminded that while they don’t typically offer 4 year degrees, they are an amicable stepping stone for transferring to university for either catching up on requirements for a program or simply determining that maybe you don’t know exactly what you want to do.

Purchase The Big F on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

-Scrill

Kissing Max Holden

Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

4 Stars

 

Publish date: August 1, 2017

ARC from Netgalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for a fair review

 

THE FEELINGS GUYS!

 

Kissing Max Holden was not your average boy-next-door trope. It is much more real, dramatic and heartbreaking. Jillian kisses Max, unfortunately, he’s already got a girlfriend. Then what happens? Well, a LOT. There’s kissing, crying, lying, betrayal, OH MAN, life freaking happens, and my heart hurts so hard from this book.

 

The RomanceReally, boy next door is usually fool proof for me. I will always read (and probably adore) boy next door stories. This one really takes it to the next level. I wouldn’t say it’s the HBO version because it stays pretty PG13, however, it’s definitely not the charming story you find on the Hallmark channel either. 

 

The CharactersI love that Max sort of was like this bad boy, but wasn’t really. There were real reasons to why he was acting out and a friendship between Jillian and him that was grounds for their romance to take off. All the characters were incredibly endearing and added to the story.

 

I can’t really say much more about the book without giving away spoilers. But let me just say, that there is a lot of hurt happening in this book. A lot of the time, I felt just as bad as Jillian knowing that she helped a guy cheat on his girlfriend. No one wants to be that other girl. My heart broke with hers throughout the book. 

 

The only reason why I docked it a star was just because there was a lull I had to drag myself out of around 60-80% through the book. But it honestly wrapped up nicely. Excuse me while I go find all my family and friends and tell them I love them.

 

-Scrill

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

4 stars


“I had always assumed that when relationships went bad, that was the end. But the entire premise of K dramas was that they always ended happily. And that if you looked closely, there was a formula for making a guy fall in love with you.” 

I believe in a thing called love is about Desi, a go-get-it kind of girl who is good at everything she tries except boys. In fact, she is so bad when interacting with boys that she likes that her best friends call her flirting, flailure. In an attempt to snag the guy that she likes, she decides she needs a step by step plan that she can follow. Her inspiration, Korean dramas. The ultimate romantic drama from her very own culture.

Guys, when I first saw there was a book about a girl who uses k dramas as a plan to land the guy she has a crush on, my reaction was something like this:

I was going to give this book 3 stars, but you know what? This book nails the whole K drama thing. There is seriously a huge culture to just the clichés of K dramas and I think it did pretty well. Although, I am not sure if anyone who has never seen a k drama would quite understand the hype, much like Desi is in the beginning of the book. I LOVE k dramas. They are fantastic, and incredibly addictive (as seen in this book). As we first get to read firsthand how Desi is around boys, I was then all for the idea of doing a k drama plan.

As the story progresses I started to realize, holy shxt, this is actually pretty dang crazy, and beyond manipulative. The things that Desi puts on her list was absurd. Never really coming out quite how she planned but still landing her a check mark next to each cliché that can be found in a K drama. Luca is definitely not the ideal lead for a k drama as he doesn’t seem to pick up on all the ques that Desi keeps dropping. I mean duh he never chased after her in a moment where she walks away and grabs her wrist. But you know what? She manages to create all sorts of scenarios to help her get the result she was aiming for.

The stunts that she pulls are both dangerous and incredibly manipulative. How can she go from completely sensible to so crazy! Poor Desi is so caught up in her plan that she can’t step away from the situation and look at what she is actually doing, even if her intentions were sweet. Sometimes, I thought, I know there are some girls out there like this. Then I thought, oh gosh, I feel bad for every single person alive & thank God I don’t have to go to any extremes to get the guy to look at me. The entire time I was reading I felt more like this:

Despite thinking that she was crazy the entire time, I adored the book. Her father is endearing and I loved their dynamic. There were many a time that I read the conversations with her dad and thought, awww I wish I had a Korean dad. But then I remembered I had a Filipino mom and she does the same type of stuff in her own way too.

-Scrill