review

Review: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (Spoiler Free)

the lying game

Title: The Lying Game

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Adult Mystery/Thriller

Publication Date: July 25, 2017

My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

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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Review: Starswept by Mary Fan (Spoiler Free)

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Title: Starswept

Author: Mary Fan

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Publication Date: August 29, 2017

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Some melodies reach across the stars.

In 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.

A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.

When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.

But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.

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Review: The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember (Spoiler Free)

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Title: The Tiger’s Watch

Author: Julia Ember

Genre: YA Fantasy (LGBTQIA+)

Publication Date: August 22, 2017

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

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Review: Trust by Kylie Scott (Spoiler Free)

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Title: Trust

Author: Kylie Scott

Genre: Mature YA Contemporary

Publication Date: July 18, 2017

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

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Review: Station Fosaan by Dee Garretson (Spoiler Free)

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Title: Station Fosaan

Author: Dee Garretson

Genre: YA Sci Fi

Publication Date: February 14, 2017

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Earth scientists and their families stationed on the remote planet of Fosaan were promised a tropical vacation-like experience. But Fosaan, devastated from an apocalyptic event nearly three-hundred years ago, is full of lethal predators and dangerous terrain.

Earthers are forbidden to go beyond the safety zone of their settlement and must not engage the small population of reclusive Fosaanians, descendants of the survivors. Sixteen-year-old Quinn Neen plans to do both of those things.

When Quinn discovers a beautiful Fosaanian girl named Mira stealing food from his family’s living unit, he soon learns Earth’s government may not be telling the whole truth about Fosaan and the cause of the past disaster.

There are some who to restore the planet to its former glory by any means necessary. Quinn finds himself caught between his loyalty to his own people and what is right for Mira and her people.

Before he can decide what to do, the scientists are taken captive, stranding the young Earthers on Fosaan.

Quinn must go from renegade to leader and convince Mira to become an ally in a fight against an enemy whose very existence threatens their lives and the future of those both on Fosaan and at home.

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Review: The Castaways by Jessika Fleck (Spoiler Free)

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Title: The Castaways

Author: Jessika Fleck

Publication Date: April 3, 2017

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Castaway Carnival: fun, mysterious, dangerous.

Renowned for its infamous corn maze… and the kids who go missing in it.

When Olive runs into the maze, she wakes up on an isolated and undetectable island where a decades-long war between two factions of rival teens is in full swing.

Trapped, Olive must slowly attempt to win each of her new comrades’ hearts as Will—their mysterious, stoically quiet, and handsome leader—steals hers.

Olive is only sure about one thing: her troop consists of the good guys, and she’ll do whatever it takes to help them win the war and get back home.

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Review: Nobody’s Goddess by Amy McNulty (Spoiler Free)

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Title: Nobody’s Goddess

Author: Amy McNulty

Genre: YA Fantasy

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

In a village of masked men, each man is compelled to love only one woman and to follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. A man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.

Seventeen-year-old Noll’s childhood friends have paired off and her closest companion, Jurij, found his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever chosen her. She is in fact the goddess of the mysterious lord of the village, a man who refuses to let Noll have her right as a woman to spurn him.

Thus begins a dangerous game between the choice of woman and the magic of man. The stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither Noll nor the veiled lord is willing to lose.

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Review: What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard (Spoiler Free)

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Title: What I Lost

Author: Alexandra Ballard

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.

*Trigger warning for anorexia/eating disorders*

What sixteen-year-old Elizabeth has lost so far: forty pounds, four jean sizes, a boyfriend, and her peace of mind. As a result, she’s finally a size zero. She’s also the newest resident at Wallingfield, a treatment center for girls like her—girls with eating disorders. Elizabeth is determined to endure the program so she can go back home, where she plans to start restricting her food intake again. She’s pretty sure her mom, who has her own size-zero obsession, needs treatment as much as she does. Maybe even more. Then Elizabeth begins receiving mysterious packages. Are they from her ex-boyfriend, a secret admirer, or someone playing a cruel trick?

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Review: Lake of Destiny by Martina Boone (Spoiler Free)

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Title: Lake of Destiny (Celtic Legends #1)

Author: Martina Boone

Genre: Romance

Publication Date: April 25, 2017

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Helping her aunt organize a Beltane Festival in a picturesque Highland village seems like the perfect escape from Anna’s second broken engagement and the meltdown that wrecked her legal career. But to succeed, she’ll need to wrangle kilt-wearing villagers, dangerous sheep, a disaster of a dog, and the reclusive laird who refuses to open his property to the public for the ancient tradition of “Sighting.”

For centuries, Loch Fàil in Balwhither has been known to locals as a “thin” place, one where the veil between worlds peels back on Beltane morning to show the face of a person’s one true love. The tradition could draw tourists by the busload, but that’s exactly what Connal MacGregor fears will reveal the two secrets he’s been desperately keeping hidden.

While Anna struggles to mediate between the needs of the village and Connal’s need to protect his identity and his child, Anna finds herself falling in love with all of them: Connal and his daughter, the magical glen, the villagers. But day by day, opening herself to love exposes deep scars from Anna’s childhood, and confronting those wounds could finally set her free–or endanger her every chance of happiness.

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Review: Grrrls on the Side by Carrie Pack (Spoiler Free)

grrrls on the side

Title: Grrrls on the Side

Author: Carrie Pack

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publication Date: June 8, 2017

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The year is 1994 and alternative is in. But not for alternative girl Tabitha Denton; she hates her life. She is uninterested in boys, lonely, and sidelined by former friends at her suburban high school. When she picks up a zine at a punk concert, she finds an escape—an advertisement for a Riot Grrrl meet-up.

At the meeting, Tabitha finds girls who are more like her and a place to belong. But just as Tabitha is settling in with her new friends and beginning to think she understands herself, eighteen-year-old Jackie Hardwick walks into a meeting and changes her world forever. The out-and-proud Jackie is unlike anyone Tabitha has ever known. As her feelings for Jackie grow, Tabitha begins to learn more about herself and the racial injustices of the punk scene, but to be with Jackie, she must also come to grips with her own privilege and stand up for what’s right.

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