Tag Archives: delacorte

ARC Review – Hexed by Michelle Krys

21417354Title:  Hexed

Author: Michelle Krys

Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: A stolen book. A deadly plan. A destiny discovered. 

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Huge thank you to Delacorte Press and Netgalley for this ARC!

River’s Review:

Sooooo this book was good, but nothing special. With all of the five star rave reviews I was expecting so much more. 

What I liked about this book was the characters and the writing. The writing is snappy and flows well, pulling the reader along with the faced paced story. Bishop is swoony and fun and Paige is sweet and endearing. Indigo is strong and confident. The dialogue is very genuinely teen and it has a lot of really funny lines.

BUT that’s where it ends. There is A LOT of stereotyping going on and A LOT of judging. I’m not sure there was a positive portrayal of a woman at all in this book… well other than the mother maybe. All the females are bimbos, brain-dead, slutty, party animals, butch, or nerds. I know this takes place in LA but even in the casual observations of the women in the story had them painted in a negative light. I HATED the way cheerleading was handled in this too. I was a cheerleader in high school and I did both competitive AND game cheering. We weren’t allowed to do sexy, suggestive moves and we mainly focused on our stunts and acrobatics. We also NEVER flashed our asses at the crowd! The cheerleader stereotyping was so annoying and it made me really angry. Not all cheerleaders are like the ones in the movies, or the ones on Glee. They’re real girls who are athletes. And later on when they got a new coach and THAT coach was basically a she-man who thought cheerleading was nothing but a joke, wtf. Why was that in there? Why couldn’t they have been normal girls doing cheerleading because they liked it AS A SPORT. UGH! 

And I guess that was my whole issue with this book. Indie IS strong, she IS smart, she’s super confident and pretty and she’s boxed into this stereotype and she keeps doing all this judging. And then when she does break out it’s SO refreshing, but then poor Paige is just this loser nerd and like, why did that have to be there too? Why couldn’t Paige just have been someone outside of Indie’s social circle, why did being friends with Paige have to be ‘social suicide’? 

I’m also not the biggest fan of witch books, so i didn’t find there to be anything amazing about that plot. I liked it, but that’s about it.

Anyways, I might give the next book a shot, but I’m not sure.

ARC Review – The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

nowTitle:  The Here and Now

Author: Ann Brashares

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Meet seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. 
Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when she falls for Ethan Jarves. 

Huge thank you to the publisher for letting me read an advanced copy of this. I’m writing this honest review to say thank you

River’s Review: 

Ugh, I am SO torn on my rating for this! I LOVED it, but the ending and the general plausibility of the time-travel stuff makes me feel that I can’t quite give it five stars. But this was SO GOOD. It was beautiful and lyrical and I could FEEL so much emotion coming out of it.

Generally I am not a time-travel fan. I spend most of my time stuck in paradoxes and loops and can’t actually focus on the story. This thankfully did not focus THAT MUCH on the mechanics of the time travel. There were a few times, towards the end, that I did get a bit lost in that and I was a little bummed because I had been enjoying NOT getting lost in the impossibleness of it all for so much of the story.

I love the way this story flowed. It’s very simple despite the levity of the actual events. It’s beautiful and romantic and some parts were SO TENSE that I couldn’t put it down.

I loved Prenna and Ethan’s relationship. It was subtle and lovely and so tragic. I loved the build up between them and how utterly perfect they were together.

I would have liked a little more resolution at the end, it just seemed to trail off. I mean, there are a lot of solutions and problems being solved but I just didn’t want it to end and would have liked a little bit more.

Having never read Brashare’s Traveling Pants series, I have no idea how this compares. I’m not sure if I’d be interested in picking those up now that I’m sold on her writing, but maybe in the future.

ARC Review – Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

20448958Title:  Don’t Even Think About It

Author: Sarah Mlynowski


Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: We weren’t always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn’t expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we’ve kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what’s coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same. So stop obsessing about your ex. We’re always listening.

River’s Review:

Huge thank you to the publisher for letting me read an advanced copy of this. I’m writing this honest review to say thank you

So I probably wouldn’t have picked this up if I hadn’t been pre-approved for it, but I’m glad that I read it. It was really fun! And such a fast read. I blew through half of this while I was stuck on the train for 2.5 hours the other morning.

Before reading this I had it in my head that only a few of the kids from the class that got the tainted vaccines ended up with telepathy, but I was wrong and it’s the ENTIRE CLASS (minus two students who aren’t there on flu vaccine day). Let me just say that I never get flu shots, so I miiiiight be missing out! Haha. But basically the entire class gets a flu shot at school and they end up with telepathic abilities.

I’m torn about the size of the cast. Part of me thinks that if only a few of the students had ended up with powers that the story would have a lot more depth. Instead we get some surface level issues for a handful of the students and we see how one girl goes from shy to confident, another popular girl falls hard when her secrets come out, our golden boy’s life falls apart, the smart girl uses her new abilities to advance herself, and the two side-kicks fall for each other. There are A BUNCH of other students and they just get side mentions (twins who finally gain their twin powers, a boy named Edward who wishes he was turning into a vampire, one kid who eats too much candy) these were funny, but just not really that important to the overall story.

Also, there really wasn’t a plot. They get the powers, they deal with them, and at the very end there’s some conflict and it’s resolved in a few seconds. The main story is just how they initially deal with the powers and how their lives change. It’s fun, but I found myself wondering what was actually going to HAPPEN around 70%.

I had A LOT of fun ‘listening’ to the thoughts of the non-telepaths. I loved how honest they were. I remember watching a movie once about a boy who suddenly gained telepathic powers and the thoughts he heard around him were SO DULL. These thoughts were funny! Parents thinking about their sex lives, narcissistic thoughts, evil thoughts… they were all there. A lot of them made me laugh.

So check this out if you like funny, quick reads that aren’t too deep or serious. This will make you think a bit and make you laugh!

ARC Review – We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

16143347Title:  We Were Liars

Author: E. Lockhart

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 / ★★★★★

Synopsis: A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love.  The truth. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.  Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

River’s Review (4.5 Stars)

I received an advanced copy of this from the publisher and I’m writing this honest review to say thank you.

4.5 stars. Only because I didn’t cry and I was almost kinda sorta promised crying from the other reviews of this. But holy fuck. The ending. I saw it coming a page before it happened. Then I was just like ‘oh…’ and ALL. THE. FEELS. Only I didn’t cry. Maybe because when the dog trauma happened I was so numb from that that… I couldn’t? IDEK. But guys, yes. This book is beautiful and traumatic and I READ IT IN A DAY.

And the more I think about it and reflect on it, the more sad I get. Maybe I will cry after all…

Just read this.

Sam’s Review (5 Stars)

I read this in one sitting. Unless I am completely in love with what I am reading, I don’t do that very often. This review of We Were Liars isn’t going to be long because there’s so much packed into this very short book that I feel like if I gave anything away, it’d be a spoiler.

I will mention a few things about this book: the prose is stunning. It’s lyrical, clever, and it has this wonderful flow that whisks you through the narrative of this book. There are no likable people in this story, there are no deeds that do not go unpunished, and for every ounce of freedom, sometimes people have to pay a price. That’s what these characters represent and the issues each of them faces are beyond words.

This is a beautiful, messed up book. That is probably the best way to describe it. There are feelings thrown all over the place (dog feels no less!), and it’s a portrait of a very disturbing family and its situation that you can’t help but turn the pages, the book demanding more and more of your attention. The forward to this book is 100% right in a lot of what it sets the reader up for, but how heavy a lot of it is still feels so unexpected and hellish that you feel emotionally drained.

I loved this book, I cannot wait for it to release so that I can get a physical copy for my shelf, and seriously: just read it. There’s so much to this book that putting anymore of it into words means I’m ruining the experience for it. Read this book, and live a little through it.

ARC Review – And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

18951963Title:  And We Stay

Author: Jenny Hubbard

Rating: ★★ / ★

Synopsis: Sent to an Amherst, Massachusetts, boarding school after her ex-boyfriend shoots himself, seventeen-year-old Emily expresses herself through poetry as she relives their relationship, copes with her guilt, and begins to heal.

Huge thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for this advanced reader copy. Saying thank you with an honest review

River’s Review (2 Stars)

Well… this book was not what I was expecting it to be. I can’t really say much without going into spoilers, but there was a topic that I LOVE to read about and a topic that I HATE reading about. So there was that. I was REALLY into the story until the reason for Paul’s suicide was reveled then I was just… ugh. Why did it have to go there? And the way of it all… not cool and I’m not even totally sure I understand the mechanics of it all… like, just… how?

I did enjoy the writing a lot. I loved the imagery and some of the lines were brilliant. The poems were really well done, but I got a bit sick of them towards the end and started skipping them. I felt a little bad about that, but I really just wanted to get on with the story.

For a book dealing with the aftermath of a school-gun-assault-suicide-something else I was really surprised that there wasn’t a bit more… emotion in Emily’s voice. She just seemed to detached and emotionless. Maybe it was the way she dealt with everything, but I really would have liked a lot more emotion.

Wow, this review is really hard to write. I just… wanted more and less at the same time.

Sam’s Review (1 Star)

The topic of suicide is never an easy one to approach. It’s definitely a topic that has to have a lot of care and thought put into it — to give people a reason to react. While I feel like And We Stay does the former correctly in terms of creating a thoughtful story, it’s one that couldn’t be more devoid emotional impact.

Considering the topic, I expected an emotional read out of And We Stay. What I ended up with was a dull read with awkward transitioning between instances of Emily’s brother being alive and dead. A lot of the writing just failed to get me to care about a lot of what happened to the characters in this story because they were written without personality. I found myself often forgetting names, though oddly never forgetting what each character was a victim of. Every character, particularly Emily, comes across so detached and yet I found myself unable to care about her detachments, which made me pretty damn sad considering the way the story is built, you feel like you SHOULD care and DON’T.

I’m also all for poetry, but this book got too excessive with it and to the point where I found myself skipping them. I thought they were great until they started to get gimmicky. These were the only instances of Emily’s real emotions (or emotion even in the story as a whole), but to me that’s not a way to pull at my heart-strings, but in fact, do the opposite — make me feel like I wasted my time.

There’s just nothing that makes And We Stay a book to invest in. There’s no emotion, the writing is bland and uninspired, the poetry is all right but gets to be too much as the story goes on… I just can’t recommend this book. If you want to read a better book that deals with the topic of suicide, check out Me Since You by Laura Weiss. That’s a book that does so much right on the topic and makes you feel like what you’re reading actually matters.

ARC Review – Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Untitled-1Title:  Being Sloane Jacobs

Author: Lauren Morrill

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

Huge thank you to Delacorte and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book.

River’s Review:

Okay, to be honest I requested this, forgot about it, and then when I got it it sat on my to-read shelf forever because I wasn’t in the mood for contemporary and then I wasn’t in the mood for a ‘summer’ book. My co-author was like BUT WINTER SPORTS and I was like meh~ but my poor Netgalley account hasn’t seen an update in ages, so I decided to go for it and OMG THIS WAS SO CUTE AND MADE ME SO HAPPY.

I’ve never been great at sports, but I had MY sport. I horseback rode for 6 years, and sadly quit to be more active in high school things (I lamely quit for cheerleading and band). But I was GOOD at riding. And I probably could have made something of myself if I had gotten into competing more seriously (rly, I went to only 1 show and got a blue ribbon in my very first dressage class and I didn’t even have the routine fully memorized). So I totally love things about people who are passionate about sports. And I really like hockey AND figure skating (yes I had my little-girl dreams of being a famous figure skater as I taught myself how to do simple spins on my frozen pond in the winter), so I really enjoyed this.

If you know me, you know I HATE multiple or alternating POV books. But if they’re done right I don’t mind. And this was done really well. I could tell the two girls voices apart and had no trouble distinguishing their stories.

I really liked BOTH Sloane’s, but I liked Sloane Devon slightly more. And I loved how their lives were weird juxtaposed images of each other.

Some of this was predictable, but there were ALL THE FEELS so it didn’t even really matter because I was so busy tearing up or swooning that I didn’t care. And the ending made me laugh so hard.

I’m definitely going to check out Lauren Morrill’s other work!

Sam’s Review: 

Huge thank you to Delacorte and Netgalley for the advance copy of this book!

Being Sloane Jacobs was an absolute surprise for me. The premise gives you a sense that this could be a very light-hearted,Parent Trap-esque romp, and it’s actually a lot deeper than that.

I absolutely love stories that take place in Canada. I LOVE being able to point out in a story “Hey! I’ve been there!” and giggle to myself — with this story set in Montreal it was so easy to visualize where Sloane Emily and Devon were roaming around, and I think Morrill did a great job of making the setting feel vibrant, so good on her!

I ADORED both Sloanes. I loved that Sloane Emily is a bit of a princess who comes from a broken home and an affair that hangs over her head, and I love that Sloane Devon is such a tough gal (I mean, you have to be to play hockey), yet she is surprisingly perspective and kind. Each has a problem they are ultimately running away from, yet are forced to confront, but Morrill does a great job of making it all come together. Sure there were parts that were predictable, but I didn’t care considering how easy it was to fall in love with both girl’s voices.

I think what surprised me about Being Sloane Jacobs is that it really is a book where you expect one thing and actually get another. There’s a wonderful amount of cunning that takes place, you have two girls switching sports and actually LOVING the change, you have summer romances that actually are fun and work well. Actually, the romances were so EASY to root for, and I was happy overall.

Being Sloane Jacobs, for me, might me one of the more fun and surprisingly engaging reads I’ve encountered this year. It’s not only a great contemporary story full of charm, but it has just enough darkness to make these girls feel so real. It’s definitely worth the read when it releases, and one I urge those who love contemporary to check out.