Book Review

Book Review: You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Thriller
Length: 336 pages
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: November 30th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Now all they have in common is Carlton High and the beginning of a very bad day.

Type A Ivy lost a student council election to the class clown, and now she has to face the school, humiliated. Heartthrob Mateo is burned out–he’s been working two jobs since his family’s business failed. And outsider Cal just got stood up…. again.

So when Cal pulls into campus late for class and runs into Ivy and Mateo, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn a bad day around. They’ll ditch and go into the city. Just the three of them, like old times. Except they’ve barely left the parking lot before they run out of things to say…

Until they spot another Carlton High student skipping school–and follow him to the scene of his own murder. In one chance move, their day turns from dull to deadly. And it’s about to get worse.

It turns out Ivy, Mateo, and Cal still have some things in common. They all have a connection to the dead kid. And they’re all hiding something.

Now they’re all wondering–could it be that their chance reconnection wasn’t by chance after all?

From the author of One of Us Is Lying comes a brand-new pulse-pounding thriller. It’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with murder when three old friends relive an epic ditch day, and it goes horribly–and fatally–wrong. 

GOOD, NOT GREAT.

I feel like I don’t have a lot to say about this one, which is why it’s more in my “meh” rating section. This was a good mystery. I really appreciated the fast paced nature and how quickly I flew through it at least.

What I struggled with were the characters. I don’t think I enjoyed any of them? Everyone was…fine. And that’s how I felt throughout. I do love a good multi-POV book and the changing nature and narrative of the story. Things got twisted and while I saw a lot of it coming I was surprised by a few aspects.

It kind of ruined it for me at the end with how many people said, why didn’t you just tell us/the police? Because yeah, that would have ended this entire book (which takes place over one day) before it really began. A mixed bag of thoughts, I still enjoy the author’s writing style and look forward to her next book.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Thriller
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: drug overdose, selling of drugs, murder and attempted murder, an inappropriate teacher/student relationship

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Book Review

Book Review: Violet Made of Thorns (Violet Made of Thorns #1) by Gina Chen

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: NA Fantasy Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Gina Chen
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: July 26th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A darkly enchanting fantasy debut about a morally gray witch, a cursed prince, and a prophecy that ignites their fate-twisted destinies—perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince and Serpent & Dove.

Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer—unless Violet does something about it.

But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom—all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus.

Violet’s wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t change her fate. And as the boundary between hatred and love grows ever thinner with the prince, Violet must untangle a wicked web of deceit in order to save herself and the kingdom—or doom them all.

WHAT EVEN.

Uh, I had two friends personally let me know I needed to read this book and THEY WERE NOT WRONG. I don’t even know if I can put together a fully thought out review but I can say: READ IT.

The enemies to lovers leaping off the pages was absolutely stellar. This is what that animosity is supposed to feel like in this trope. And walking that fine line of love/hate was on full display.

Violet cracked me up. I found myself chuckling multiple times at some of one off lines and sarcasm. It was timed perfectly and I loved listening to the audiobook that gave me even more of a nuanced layer of these characters. I really enjoyed the dynamics between Violet and Cyrus. The push and pull between them was undeniably filled with chemistry.

I really liked the surrounding story too. I always enjoy a good curse theme and corrupted kings with a wild witch on the loose? Here for it. I had a hard time putting this book down and now need the second book ASAP.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: vague open door
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: animal attacks, physical, magical and weaponry altercations

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Book Review

ARC Review: Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus

Rating: ★★★
Audience: YA Thriller
Length: 368 pages
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: August 30th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Be sure to keep your friends close . . . and your secrets closer.

Four years ago, Brynn left Saint Ambrose School following the shocking murder of her favorite teacher—a story that made headlines after the teacher’s body was found by three Saint Ambrose students in the woods behind their school. The case was never solved. Now that Brynn is moving home and starting her dream internship at a true-crime show, she’s determined to find out what really happened.

The kids who found Mr. Larkin are her way in, and her ex–best friend, Tripp Talbot, was one of them. Without his account of events, the other two kids might have gone down for Mr. Larkin’s murder. They’ve never forgotten what Tripp did for them that day. Just like he hasn’t forgotten that everything he told the police was a lie.

Digging into the past is bound to shake up the present, and as Brynn begins to investigate what happened in the woods that day, she begins to uncover secrets that might change everything—about Saint Ambrose, about Mr. Larkin, and about her ex-best friend, Tripp Talbot.

Four years ago someone got away with murder. The most terrifying part is that they never left.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

IT WAS FINE.

I think I’m kind of out growing YA thrillers, or maybe thrillers in general? I picked this up on NetGalley at a weak moment so knew i had to get through it. I was never upset reading it though, I just think it’s no longer my vibe (unless I’m super in the mood).

ANYWHO. I liked these main characters!! Tripp and Brynn were a bit flawed of course, but I really enjoyed the progression of both of them. There was a sweet romance between them too that I liked. It was a cute, softer side to the murder mystery.

I do feel a bit unsatisfied by the ending? It made it seem like there might be a book two so I think that’s my issue. I struggle when any ending is too open and I don’t get the closure needed to round out the plot. And there were some characters that I didn’t love.

The murderer kept me in the dark for a long time. I thought I had pinned the right person from the get-go and was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong! It was good read in the end.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Thriller
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, kidnapping, gun violence, manipulation, extortion, underage drinking, media slander

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Love from Scratch by Kaitlyn Hill

Rating: ★★★☆ (3.5)
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Kaitlyn Hill
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: April 5th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

This summer, Reese Camden is trading sweet tea and Southern hospitality for cold brew and crisp coastal air. She’s landed her dream marketing internship at Friends of Flavor, a wildly popular cooking channel in Seattle. The only problem? Benny Beneventi, the relentlessly charming, backwards-baseball-cap-wearing culinary intern–and her main competition for the fall job.

Reese’s plan to keep work a No Feelings Zone crumbles like a day-old muffin when she and Benny are thrown together for a video shoot that goes viral, making them the internet’s newest ship. Audiences are hungry for more, and their bosses at Friends of Flavor are happy to deliver. Soon Reese and Benny are in an all-out food war, churning homemade ice cream, twisting soft pretzels, breaking eggs in an omelet showdown–while hundreds of thousands of viewers watch.

Reese can’t deny the chemistry between her and Benny. But the more their rivalry heats up, the harder it is to keep love on the back burner.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

WELL, I ADORED BENNY.

I really wanted to love this more than my review shows and while I did like a lot of it, there were some aspects that held me back. Something I did love was the setting!! I loved the concept of a company with online cooking videos and the like.

Benny. He was top notch one of the better YA love interests I’ve read in awhile. He was incredibly supportive, realistic, and charming. I love that he was the sunshine between the two and had a positive attitude. Benny was all things sweet and the grand gesture at the end was completely over the top and I loved it.

Reese. I was much slower to warm up to her. I didn’t mind that she was the grump in the relationship and I liked that they got together halfway through! She showed some growth and, but towards the end it got a bit stagnant. I didn’t love the way the conflict was handled and I felt my care for her decisions wane as she became increasingly whiny. It was okay.

I realize this is a contemporary romance and I love that. That’s why I picked it up. That’s what drew me in. Unfortunately the larger agenda of the book felt forced and pushy. Even for things I am all for and in support of, I felt suffocated by that storyline over what I thought was the main aspect of the plot (the romance).

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: light
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: skeevy older men, misogyny, slut-shaming

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