The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
**This review is based on ARC from Netgalley, it releases on 4/28/15.
Ella is always taking care of her twin, Maddy, picking up the pieces after her and giving her rides home from parties. Maddy is Miss Popular and Ella is more of an academic, artistic person with a few close friends, as opposed to trying to impress the whole school constantly. After waking up from a tragic accident where Maddy was killed and not remembering much of anything, Ella decides people would be happier if she pretended like Maddy was the one who survived. So, she says goodbye to her life and decides to live the life of her completely different twin. She finds out just how tough it is to fake a whole persona and that there are a million things about her sister’s life that she never knew. Her closest friend, Josh, figures it out pretty quickly and tries to convince Ella to come clean, but she just can’t figure out a way to do so without destroying everything even more. Ella/Maddy has to come to terms with things that have happened and decide if she can continue faking a life or come clean and live out her own life with the guilt of killing her sister.
I enjoyed this book and read it quickly. Most of the “action” was at the beginning of the story, but it still kept my interest completely throughout. I kept rooting and waiting for Ella to do what I thought was the right thing. The interesting thing is that I think readers will have different ideas of what the “right thing” actually is, so it will affect each reader in a totally different way. The characters were relatable, though not always likable…but how good could a book be if not for some mean characters? I will definitely be recommending this to my high schoolers and have already purchased a copy for our library.
My rating: 4/5
So, I have decided to cater to the “Princess” side of my blog some too by posting about girly stuff! Not only am I a book nerd, but I also love beauty products, hairstyles, and clothes (oh, how I love clothes). From now on, you will be seeing both book-related (Library) posts and Beauty & Style posts and you can navigate to just one or the other on the top menu.
To start my Beauty & Style section, I want to review a product that I am grateful to have found. I have always loved the look of painted nails, but had a horrible time getting polish to stay on my natural nails. While I like the look of acrylics, I don’t like the feel and always wanted to chew at them (gross, I know!). I would paint my natural nails in the evening and they would chip overnight…while I was sleeping! What?! So, I saw this product in my local Walmart and decided to give it a go. Each color was $7.97 and you must have the Miracle Gel top coat for this product to work. You do not need a UV light to get this to work. There is quite a selection of shades to choose from and these are the two above that I have purchased so far (Shock Wave-pink and Sugar fix-blue). I purchased the pink and top coat first and tried it out. It lasted 5 days (5!!) before I got bored and took it off, so it probably would have lasted longer. That is a record for me, though, so I was happy. I have also tried just the top coat with other quality brands (non-gel) and it did help them last much longer than normal as well. Using both the Miracle Gel color and the Miracle Gel top coat does work better, of course. I bought Sugar Fix over the weekend and am now obsessed with it…until I get bored again. I don’t usually match my fingers and toes, but I did this time and was disappointed that it was a bit too chilly out to show off my toes today!
Sum it up: If you have always avoided polish because you get frustrated with almost immediate chipping, try this product! I love it! I do get occasional air bubbles so be careful with that, but great overall.
Bonus factor: My nails have been growing like crazy because I have kept them nice and polished, so I am not picking and chewing at them constantly!
Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin
**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, it releases 4/14/15.
I don’t usually start this way….but I really enjoyed this book! I remember thinking it sounded interesting when I saw it on Netgalley months ago, but waited until closer to release date to read it and I wasn’t disappointed. Denton lives in a time where everyone knows the date they are going to die from birth. Other than that, the people and society are no different than we are currently. That is just how it is, and Denton is an “Early”…meaning he won’t live past high school. He befriended Paolo as a young child because he was in the same predicament. In fact, their deathdates are less than a month apart. This whole book essentially takes place in 2 days, the day of Denton’s funeral (people attend their own funerals) and the day of his Sitting, which is the day he dies. No one knows how they are going to die or when during that day it will happen, so they have a tradition of staying “safe” in their homes with loved ones; though this never keeps them from the actual death part. At his funeral, Denton meets a stranger that tells him to trust no one, especially government types. He has no idea what this means, but tries to find out more before his time comes. The day of his death is quite full of events and situations, not to mention a mysterious rash/splotch that is spreading by the minute it seems. That is about all I can say without giving away the conclusion…and what an interesting conclusion it was. I’m pretty sure we are wide open for a sequel! I read this book quickly and didn’t want to put it down. I found it entertaining and rather humorous, a good one to recommend to those who ask for funny books. There are serious moments of course (we are dealing with death here!), but I am always looking for books I can recommend to boys and this is one of them. I will be purchasing it for my library, already have in fact!
Take My Breath Away by Wendy L. Wilson
**This review is based on my experience as a beta reader for this title, it releases on 4/20/15.
This was a title that has some definite appeal for young adult, women’s fiction, and contemporary romance readers as well.
So, here’s what happens, briefly:
Alyssa is, seemingly, someone who has a lot going for her at the beginning of this story. She has just graduated from high school and has been in a serious relationship for a while with someone that she thinks is great. When she discovers a horrible deception after attending a party, it seems her world is crashing down. At the same time, she gets some bad news relating to her family, which makes it all seem even worse. Her sister, Abby, convinces her to spend some time with “the girls” at the lake to wind down and distract herself. Immediately, she meets Judd and they fall in love with each other. In the beginning, everything is happy and perfect, but they have to go their separate ways as their time at the lake comes to an end. Knowing that things will continue as they have been, Alyssa is shocked when things don’t go as planned.
From this point, Alyssa’s goal is to distract herself by settling into college and getting an apartment with her best friend, Bethany (not a favorite character for sure). She is living life as happily as possible when Judd makes a comeback….but in a not-so-great way. Alyssa and Judd try to rekindle their romance, while facing some harsh challenges. Will they be able to make it through the troubles and still end up together? Just how many times can Alyssa take being deceived?
Though I felt that the immediate, new relationship with Judd was a bit unrealistic (that may be my own jaded views on relationships coming into play here), I did really like these characters. I felt that they were well-developed and very real. Alyssa is probably stronger than I would ever be when it comes to being able to ignore a man when he is sending you text after text and call after call! I also enjoyed some of the supporting characters, especially Evan (Judd’s best friend) and Abby (Alyssa’s sister). Overall, I feel that this was a good plot and a great debut from a new author!
Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, the hardcover releases in May.
I’m kind of tormented by the fact that I enjoyed this book so much because it is very twisted and disturbing. The story is set in a futuristic society where girls are “created” solely for the purpose of being sexual objects for men. People only birth sons and then 3 females are created for each son born, to give them options of course. The girls begin schooling at the age of 4 to learn how to be Barbies essentially, they are called eves in this book. At the end of their 16th year, they will be split into one of three categories–companion, concubine, or chastity. In other words, a sexual object for procreation, an unpaid sex slave, or a teacher of future eves. This book is based on freida’s character (they are not even worthy of capital letters in their names, took me awhile to figure that one out), but has many other essential characters as well. freida is on the verge of not even being considered to be a companion, as you must rank in the top 10 of your class of eves, but also cannot fathom the idea of becoming a concubine. The girls are taught from Day 1 that being fat is unacceptable and pretty much the most horrible thing you can be, so freida is shocked when her best friend, isabel, starts putting on loads of weight. isabel was previously a #1 ranking in the group and no one can figure out why she has let herself go. This remains a mystery through pretty much the whole book, smarties may be able to figure out what’s going on though! Basically, the girls are all in direct competition with each other to try to win the hearts of one of the Inheritants, the top 10 males in the Euro-Zone. I do not want to go much more into plot detail, but let’s just say I was mesmerized and horrified at the same time. The cattiness of the girls is nothing compared to the sheer horror of women being treated in such a manner to begin with. I stayed up hours past my bedtime for the past 2 nights because I really couldn’t put this down and had to know what happened. Time was lost to me. When I finished the book just hours ago, I am pretty sure I had a horrible expression on my face because it was definitely not the conclusion I expected. I can’t figure out if I love the ending or hate it! I. Want. To. Know. More. (You hear me, Louise O’Neill?!)….although, I’m not sure there is more to know. Okay, I’m done! I would say this is a must-read!
My rating: 5/5
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, it releases 4/7/15.
Well, being that I am a bit in love with The Royals on E! and I love the story of Kate Middleton and William, I knew this book was going to be a good one! Who can resist that cover?! And, hello, I am the Library PRINCESS so this is my kind of thing! Though the main character is American, I can still picture this being somewhat similar to Kate and Will’s story of love. Rebecca (Bex) decides to go to school at Oxford to pursue her Art studies, which separates her from her twin sister, Lacey, for the first time in their lives. On her first day there, she unknowingly meets the Prince of Wales (Nick) and becomes fast friends with all of his friend group. She finds herself in a casual relationship with one of them, but then soon realizes (after some bonding over a silly TV show) that she has feelings for the prince. Thus, begins the story of their (secret) courtship, with all the drama necessary to make it an enthralling read. Throughout the story, you are forced into a feeling of frustration on the part of both Bex and Nick because WHY can’t they just be together without worrying about everything and everyone else?! Maybe being a royal is not all it’s cut out to be (as if!). Bex is transformed into Rebecca and finds out who her true friends are along the way, including some scandal involving her best friend and twin, Lacey. Though this was a loooong read (I kept thinking I would never finish), it was a good one and I didn’t lose interest. Even though the characters were upscale British people, I still found them relatable and they were very fun. I don’t know if many of my high school students would be as interested as I was, but I can think of some friends and colleagues that probably would be! I can’t wait to share this with them!
My rating: 5/5
Here are the books I read in the month of March, listed below:
1. Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker – 5 stars (read my review here)
2. Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked by Jen Calonita – 5 stars (read my review here)
3. The Cake House by Latifah Salom – 3 stars
4. Seed by Lisa Heathfield – 4 stars (read my review here)
5. Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee- 4 stars (read my review here)
6. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – 5 stars
7. The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie- 4 stars (read my review here)
8. The Wizard Returns by Danielle Paige- 5 stars
9. Pretty Ugly by Kirker Butler – 4 stars (read my review here)
10. At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen – 4 stars (read my review here)
11. Sisters of Blood and Spirit by Kady Cross – 4 stars (Read my review here)
There were lots of good ones this month! April is looking to be a big month for releases, so it should be fun too!