The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson

Summary:
The Truly Devious series continues as Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery.
Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.
But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.
Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders.
But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.

Book Cover

Review:
The Box in the Woods is a standalone Truly Devious mystery. I really loved the Truly Devious trilogy, so I was beyond excited to read this one. I chose to listen to the audiobook. I was going to save it for an 8-hour drive that I had coming up, but I started listening to it the day before my drive while I was packing. I ended up listening to more than 50% of the book before I even got in the car. I just couldn’t put it down. Being back with Stevie and some of her friends, it was really such a joy.
Stevie is spending her summer working at a grocery store and studying dollhouse crime scene replicas. Sounds thrilling, right? Yeah, Stevie didn’t think so either. When she gets an email from the CEO of Box Box (a company that sells…boxes) asking her to come be a summer camp counselor at the camp where the Box in the Woods murders took place, how could she say no? She has Nate and Janelle tag along with her for the summer. She’s supposed to be working with the camp’s owner to create a podcast about the Box in the Woods murders. But as she talks to the owner and to some of the locals, she starts working on her own. I liked Stevie, Janelle, and Nate just as much as I did in the trilogy. It’s a murder mystery so, there’s obviously high stakes and suspense. I think this was well done, just as it was in the trilogy. I think Stevie did a great job finding new details and putting the pieces together.
Overall, I really liked this book. I wasn’t at all surprised by that. I want a million more standalone Truly Devious mysteries, please and thank you. I loved the summer camp setting and the bits of the small-town setting that we got. I just really had a good time listening to this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

If You Liked This, Then Try That (Series Edition)

Hey, lovelies! One of my favorite types of bookish posts and/or videos is the ‘if you liked this book, then try that book.’ So, last year I tried some of my own and I really had fun picking books to compare to one another. Which is why I’m back today with another one. Let’s get right into it!

If you liked The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, you should try The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.
The Cruel Prince follows Jude. Jude is a human living in the Fairie courts. She is determined to prove herself. So, naturally, she becomes involved in the courts politics and the games that the fey play. She must prove that she belongs there by defying the prince, Cardan. While this wasn’t my favorite series with fey in it, it’s definitely a fun enemies to lovers story. The Iron King follows Meghan Chase as she’s thrust into the world of the Fey. She learns that she is the daughter of Oberon and that the courts are in danger. War is coming and Meghan might just be the person to stop it. These books both follow humans (or half-human for Meghan) that are taken into the world of the Fey. They Fey are a cruel people and that’s shown in both series. But I think it’s done better in The Iron Fey series. Meghan is a little annoying, but she has great growth. Personally, I found The Cruel Prince lacking, especially the final book. But with The Iron King, each book just got better and better.

If you liked The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, you might like Red Rising by Pierce Brown.
The Hunger Games follows Katniss as she volunteers for the Hunger Games to save her sisters life. Each year 12 people are selected to compete in the Hunger Games, a vicious battle to the death. Two people from each district, and when Prim’s name is called, Katniss takes her place. It’s a story of survival in a brutal world. Red Rising follows Darrow. Darrow is a Red, the lowest caste. After the death of his wife, he joins the rebellion and infiltrates the Golds, the highest caste. He’s learned that everything he knew about the world has been a lie and he’s ready to burn it down. Both of these stories are ones of survival. But as the series continue, they both become stories about overthrowing a government that is mistreating its people, that’s keeping them separate, lower. They’re both filled with characters that just want things to change for their people. They see a chance to make that change happen, so they take it.

If you liked Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson, you will probably like A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro.
Truly Devious follows Stevie as she starts attending the well known Ellingham Academy. Shortly after the school was opened the founder’s wife and daughter were kidnapped and never seen again. Stevie has decided that at Ellingham, she is going to solve this unsolved crime, one of the greatest in history. While she’s researching this, mysterious things start happening in the present. Now Stevie may have more than one mystery to solve. A Study in Charlotte is a Sherlock Holmes retelling following Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes who are the descendents of the original Holmes and Watson. They meet at boarding school and quickly have their own mystery to solve. Both of these series follow characters at a boarding school. Both follow characters that are trying to solve a murder. Both also have really great mental health representations. They both have characters that don’t always make the best choice, but you can’t help but root for them anyway.

If you liked The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco, you should try For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig.
The Bone Witch follows Tea who has resurrected her brother. She has the gift of necromancy, which means she is a bone witch, a title that isn’t looked upon very nicely. Tea goes to learn to hone her asha abilities, but there is a darkness coming and Tea if forced to make some hard decisions. For a Muse of Fire is the story of Jetta. She and her family are shadow players. They put on a show with puppets behind a scrim. Their show is said to be as if their puppets aren’t being controlled by strings. That is because they’re not. Jetta is a necromancer. This means that with her blood she can bind souls to things. So, she binds them to her puppets. But the rebellion is growing and Jetta doesn’t want to hide her abilities anymore. I compare these two for the obvious reason, their main characters are both necromancers. And necromancers are forbidden or looked down upon. Aside from this, both of these series are set in diverse worlds, with diverse characters, and they talk about heavy, but important, topics. I highly recommend both of these trilogies.

If you liked All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace, you might like Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen.
All the Stars and Teeth is the story of Amora Montara. She’s the princess of Visidia, but to claim the title of heir to the throne she must master soul magic and gain the title of High Animancer. When things don’t go how she’s practiced, she flees the capital. This is when we meet Bastian. This is Amora’s first time seeing the rest of her kingdom and she learns that her father has been hiding things from her. There is unrest and Amora must find a way to fix things before she can claim her place on the throne. Dark Shores tells Teriana’s story. Teriana is the heir to the Maarin Triumvirate, essentially a princess. The Maarin are the only people in the world that know the entirety of the world. The East doesn’t know about the Dark Shores and the Dark Shores doesn’t know about the East, only the Maarin know. But when Maarin ships are being captured and held by the East, Teriana agrees to share what she knows and show Legatus Marcus of the 37th legion how to get to the Dark Shores. These stories are both part pirate stories and part princess stories. Both female leads are trying to figure out what it means to lead when everything around them is falling apart. They also both spend a significant amount of time sailing on ships. They both have really interesting worlds and magic systems. I do have to say that while I did really enjoy All the Stars and Teeth, I am majorly obsessed with the Dark Shores series.

These are the recommendations that I have for you all today. As always, these recommendations go both ways. Let me know if you’re read any of these or what you think of my comparisons?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Hello, Cruel Heart by Maureen Johnson

Summary:
Swinging London, Summer 1967. Sixteen-year-old Estella, gifted with talent, ingenuity, and ambition, dreams of becoming a renowned fashion designer. But life seems intent on making sure her dreams never come true. Having arrived in London as a young girl, Estella now runs wild through the city streets with Jasper and Horace, amateur thieves who double as Estella’s makeshift family and partners-in-(petty)-crime. How can Estella dedicate herself to joining the ranks of the London design elite when she’s sewing endless costumes and disguises for the trio’s heists?
When a chance encounter with Magda and Richard Moresby-Plum, two young scions of high society, vaults Estella into the world of the rich and famous, she begins to wonder whether she might be destined for more after all. Suddenly, Estella’s days are filled with glamorous parties, exclusive eateries, flirtations with an up-and-coming rock star, and, of course, the most cutting-edge fashions money can buy. But what is the true cost of keeping up with the fast crowd-and is it a price Estella is willing to pay? 

Hello, Cruel Heart

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I requested this because it’s a book by Maureen Johnson and I usually love Johnson’s books. Plus, Cruella? Sign me up.
I didn’t end up liking this as much as I thought I was going to. Cruella is actually named Estella. Her mom dies and she ends up all alone in London. She meets two boys that become her family. They survive by stealing. They steal food and money or whatever else they need to survive. I liked the relationship between these three. But I think we could have gotten more from it. I feel like I still know nothing about these two boys that are like brothers to Estella. I don’t know their history. I did like Estella’s backstory. Definitely enough to turn me into a villain.
I also just liked Estella, even when she was kind of being a jerk. She’s sixteen in this book and definitely still a bit naive. I saw the ending coming almost as soon as she made friends with Magda and Richard. Estella is swept up by the wealthy London scene and starts making clothes for everyone. And the whole time I was left thinking: why is she not asking anyone to pay for these clothes she’s hand making?
Overall, I had a tough time with this book. The ending felt rushed. I would have liked to see what her plans for her next steps were after reconciling with her brothers. I also had a hard time because of the eARC. There were weird images that I assume are going to be chapter designs that chopped up and even moved some paragraphs. It was manageable, but annoying enough to affect my reading experience. I will say that I think Johnson did a good job with the writing and the setting. She was consistent with the language used by the characters and while telling the story. London sounds like a blast during this period of time.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Eighteen: If You Liked This, Then Read That

Hey, lovelies! I want to start by saying a big thank you to my favorite human, Alana (find her here!), for helping think of this post idea. Today I am going to be recommending some books that are all great for October. I thought it would be fun to recommend books based off of other books. So, this will be a ‘if you liked this book, try that book’ kind of post, but they’re all books that would be great to read during the spooky season.

If you liked Sadie by Courtney Summers then you should try I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan. Sadie is a girl that is trying to find out what happened to her younger sister. At the same time, we get chapters that are written in the format of a podcast (which is why the audiobook is so great). The podcast is several months after Sadie’s chapters and it’s trying to find out what happened to her. I Hope You’re Listening follows Dee. Ten years ago, she saw her best friend abducted. In the present timeline, a new family moved into her best friends old house and the young girl that lives there is kidnapped. Dee is equally horrified and fascinated. One of the thing’s Dee did to move on from seeing her best friend kidnapped was to start a podcast that focuses on current kidnapping cases. She brings awareness to current cases and directs the internet to see if they can find anything that might help solve these cases. These two books both follow young girls that have dealt with loss. They both also have taken to trying to find the truth themselves or with the help of others. Also, both have podcasts. I really enjoyed both of these books and I think you will too.

If you liked Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power you might like The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. Burn Our Bodies Down follows Margot, who has always been desperate for family outside of her mother. So, when she finds out that she has a grandmother she travels to meet her. Things get weird at her grandmothers house. Margot realizes that she is surrounded by secrets and she’s desperate to get to the truth. The Roanoke Girls is about Lane moving in with her grandparents after her mother commits suicide. The women in this family have either left and not been heard from again or they’re dead. This family is full of secrets and Lane can’t help but run when she learns the truth. But she returns when she hears here cousin, Allegra, is now missing. These two books are both full of family secrets and young girls that are determined to learn the truth, but the truths they discover might be more than they bargained for. I loved Burn Our Bodies Down and mostly liked The Roanoke Girls but they definitely have some common elements.

If you liked Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson you will probably like A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. Truly Devious follows Stevie after she’s been accepted to the famous Ellingham Academy in Vermont. Stevie is determined to solve the schools cold case. The founders wife and daughter were kidnapped shortly after the school opened. While she’s working on that, one of her fellow students is murdered. There is more going on at this school that Stevie realizes. A Study in Charlotte is a Sherlock Holmes retelling of sorts. It follows Charlotte and Jamie who are descendants of Holmes and Watson. They end up going to the same boarding school where they are being framed for murder. These two books obviously have the boarding school in common. But they also both are filled with diverse characters and murders that aren’t quite what they seem. They also both have complicated romances that I absolutely adore.

If you liked Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus you should try Little Monsters by Kara Thomas. Two Can Keep a Secret is the story of Ellery moving to her mother’s home town to live with her grandmother. Her aunt went missing years and years ago and five years ago, the homecoming queen was killed. Someone is making threats. Threats that say this will be the most dangerous homecoming season in five years. The threats aren’t taken seriously until a girl goes missing. There are all kinds of secrets in this town and they’re all going to come to light. Little Monsters follows Kacey after she moves to a new town to live with her dad and his new family. She suddenly has a stepmother, a stepbrother, and a half sister. She almost doesn’t trust the calm when she settles into her new life and makes friends with Jade and Bailey. Then Bailey disappears, and everyone is looking to Kacey for answers. She doesn’t know if there is anyone she can trust anymore. So, these two stories both follow girls that have not so great mothers that cause them to move to new towns. In those new towns, things are probably not as perfect as they seem at first look. I liked both of these, but I cannot recommend Little Monsters enough and I wish more people talked about it.

If you liked A Million Junes by Emily Henry you might like We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund. A Million Junes follows June who is dealing with the grief of losing her father. The one rule that’s been instilled in her is to stay away from the Angerts. But when Saul comes back to town, there’s just something about him that she can’t stay away from. The two join together to figure out what the truth behind their family feud is. They find magic, ghosts, and secrets. We Speak in Storms is the story of three characters, Joshua, Brenna, and Callie. It’s been 50 years since the tornado that destroyed the drive-in movie theatre, and on it’s fiftieth anniversary another tornado comes. The three main characters are all outsiders and they’ve been brought together when they don’t know that they need it. They work together to solve their problems and the problems of the past. I chose these two together because they both involve ghosts and history that needs to be righted.

These are the ten books I’ve chosen for my first attempt at ‘if you like this book then try that one’. I hope you agree with my choices because I had so much fun picking out comparisons for some of the more well known books. I tried to highlight books that I don’t often see anyone talking about. I enjoyed these books very much and I hope you will too. Do you have any books that you think would work for these comparisons?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Hand in the Wall by Maureen Johnson

GoodReads Summary:
Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph . . .
She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century.
At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers.
Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer.
In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.
The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, #3)Review:
The Hand in the Wall was one of my most anticipated releases. It’s one of the few books I’ve allowed myself to buy this year. I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed it.
We follow Stevie as she’s solving the mystery of Iris and Alice Ellingham’s kidnapping and murders. Her anxiety is at an all-time high. This was one of my favorite things about this book, her anxiety is portrayed so accurately. She takes medication to calm it and I really appreciate that inclusion.
The mystery is laid out so well. We’re left in suspense, given little bits and pieces at a time. I liked that it wasn’t just dumping the information to tell us what was going on. It gave up nibbles of the whole story. Enough to keep me interested and guess, but not so much that it was spoiled too soon.
I have to talk about David because I honestly love him. He’s kind of a jerk sometimes, but I love him anyway. As for the rest of the characters, I loved them too. Stevie’s friends were a diverse and interesting bunch and their dynamic as friends was one I could get behind.
Overall, I loved this. If you’re a lover of mystery books this series is for you. There are so many little mysteries within the bigger one of solving the cold case of Iris and Alice. I definitely will be recommending this series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare

GoodReads Summary:
The Shadow Market is a meeting point for faeries, werewolves, warlocks, and vampires. There, the Downworlders buy and sell magical objects, make dark bargains, and whisper secrets they do not want the Nephilim to know. Through two centuries, however, there has been a frequent visitor to the Shadow Market from the City of Bones, the very heart of the Shadowhunters’ world. As a Silent Brother, Brother Zachariah is a sworn keeper of the laws and lore of the Nephilim. But once he was a Shadowhunter called Jem Carstairs, and his love, then and always, is the warlock Tessa Gray. And Jem is searching through the Shadow Markets, in many different cities over long years, for a relic from his past.
Follow Jem and see, against the backdrop of the Shadow Market’s dark dealings and festival, Anna Lightwood’s doomed romance, Matthew Fairchild’s great sin, and Tessa Gray as she is plunged into a world war. Valentine Morgenstern buys a soul at the Market and a young Jace Wayland’s soul finds safe harbor. In the Market is hidden a lost heir and a beloved ghost, and no one can save you once you have traded away your heart. Not even Brother Zachariah.
Ghosts of the Shadow MarketReview:
Will there ever be a Shadowhunter book that I don’t love? Unlikely. I even love the ones I don’t like that much. That sounds like nonsense, but unless you are part of the Shadowhunter fan club, you wouldn’t quite understand.
This particular novella collection, Ghosts of the Shadow Market, was not my favorite of the novella bind ups, but I still really enjoyed it. I think I love Jem a bit more because of this book. The Infernal Devices was never been my favorite series, I liked them well enough but I don’t love the time period it was set in. So I really enjoyed getting to see Jem on his mission throughout the years. I completely adored any and all interactions with Lily Chen. She had me cracking up. I especially loved the stories with Alec and Magnus (duh!)
Overall, I really enjoyed getting some further insight into the Shadowhunter world and particularly The Dark Artifices tidbits that were given. There were some hints at what will be happening in the final (?) Shadowhunter series, The Wicked Powers, and I just ate it all up. So, if you like the Shadowhunter universe go pick this up and you won’t regret it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Back to School

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is top ten – back to school/learning freebie. So for this, I’m going to choose my top ten favorite books that take place in or at a school. In no specific order here’s my top ten for this week.
top ten tuesday picture
1. Looking for Alaska by John Green – A book that kickstarted my secret desire to go to a boarding school or live in a dorm of some sort (something I never got to do.) Even though this book 1000% broke my heart into a million pieces, I loved the unique experience these characters had living away from their parents, making friends and the adventures.
2. The Seven Realms & The Shattered Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima – Oden’s Ford, the school in these two series was a really interesting one. It trained everyone from all of the realms, warriors, wizards, and healers alike, regardless of the war going on around them. It’s a place of peace and learning in a tumultuous time.
3. The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead – Featuring a school that trains girls how to be upper-class ladies so that they may find husbands and work on developing the new world into a proper society.
4. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson – Another boarding school adventure. But this one is a murder mystery. Everything about this school intrigued me. They give their students the freedom to study what they want, for no cost at all.
5. The Secret of Spellshadow Manor by Bella Forrest – This was a fantastic series that featured several different schools. Not always good at teaching their students and some of them were pretty twisted, but it made for a really good story.
6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – Am I even a real bookworm if I don’t have this book/series on this list?
7. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – Good old St. Vlad’s.
8. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira – This heartfelt story follows Laurel through her first year of high school where she’s trying to figure out who she is without her sister and what her place in this seemingly foreign world. I love this book very much.
9. Evernight by Claudia Gray – I’m putting this in here for a throwback. An oldie, but goodie. Evernight Academy was such a creative idea, a place for vampires to figure out how to really blend in with the rest of the world. I still think, years after reading this series, which was a great twist on the vampire craze.
10. First Year by Rachel E. Carter – With a choice of working a trade or attempting to earn an apprenticeship as a soldier, mage or knight Ryiah always dreamed of becoming a mage. This series follows her through her incredible journey during her schooling.

Here’s my top ten for this week’s school-related freebie topic. What books do you think I should have included in my list? Let me know your top ten in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

I Heart Characters!

I Heart Characters! is a weekly meme hosted by Dani @ Perspective of a Writer to showcase our book blogger love for characters! Each week she’ll supply a topic and we’ll supply the character. Post on whatever day suits you, about characters from whatever media you love (books, movies, K-dramas, television, manga, anime, webtoons, whatever!) and link up on Thursday so we can all blog hop and share the character love.

i heart characters

This weeks topic is Character Who’d Run into a Fire to _____ (Fill in the blank! The sky is the limit… if they’d run into a fire for any reason then they’re who you want to showcase!)

Amanda- This prompt has me super torn between two characters. So I shall briefly mention them both. The first is Stevie Bell from Maureen Johnson’s new series, Truly Devious. Stevie would run into a fire to solve a case. She’s an aspiring Sherlock Holmes and will do anything (including damage every relationship she has) to get to the bottom of a mystery.

The second character is Lady Jane Grey from My Lady Jane by Jodi Meadows,  Brodi Ashton, and Cynthia Hand. Lady Jane Grey would run into a fire to save her books from burning up. She is a true bookworm and is who I thought of first for this prompt because if I were to ever run into a fire it would be to save my husband, baby, dog, and books. Lady Jane would run into a fire to save her horsey husband and her books and I love her for it.

Antonia- I LOVE THIS PROMPT. It has so many amazing possibilities. The first one to pop into my head though was Leo Valdez from The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. He would run into a fire to freak out people who don’t know he’s fireproof. I can absolutely see him in the flames, screaming like he’s being burned alive. I think it’d fit his goofy sense of humor perfectly.

 

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Mash Ups

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Every week there’s a new topic where we get to choose our top ten and write about it. This week’s topic is top ten books I would mash together. I think this is a wicked interesting topic. I’m not sure how I’m going to go about it, so in no particular order, here goes!

topten
1. Rose Gardner Investigations by Denise Grover Swank & Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich – These are books about an aspiring private investigator and books about a bond enforcement officer. I think Rose and Stephanie would make one hell of a hilarious pair.
2. Renegades by Marissa Meyer & Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti – Two different types of superhero books. Both with similar abilities, sort of. But the worlds they take place in are pretty different. I think it would be interesting to see these two worlds collide.
3. Meant to be Broken by Brandy Woods Snow & One Small Thing by Erin Watt – Both are novels involving girls who are struggling with their feelings about a guy. Both thinking that their feelings are wrong and should be stifled and ignored. I think the two female main characters would be great friends and would be able to help one another immensely by sharing their experiences.
4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson & The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – These are both murder mystery sort of books but with a ton of different subplots along the way. I think they would be interesting to see together. Seeing the characters with their hugely different personalities would be funny.
5. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson & Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson – This is a choice for similar reasons to above except these are young adult murder mysteries. Again, the personalities in these stories would make for an interesting read.
6. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas & Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – If the Sara(h)’s wrote a book together I would be able to die happy as soon as I finished it. These specific books would be so cool to see together. In ACOTAR, there’s Fae with seasonal courts and magical abilities and in Snow Like Ashes there are different kingdoms for the seasons with different sorts of magical abilities. I think they would mesh well together with the similarities in the stories.
7. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare & A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest – Both of these series have a great variety of supernatural characters like vampires and werewolves and others unique to their books. Their also both full of headstrong characters that strive to do the ‘right’ thing at all costs. I would love to see these characters and worlds collide.
8. The Young Elites by Marie Lu & Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – These two came together in my head because of their magic systems. Both books have people with abilities that are not accepted in their worlds. Both have fantastic villains. Now that I’m typing this, I would LOVE to see the Darkling and Adelina join forces and run the world.
9. Impulse by Ellen Hopkins & Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow – I really think that Charlie could have been another character in Impulse. She for sure could have been a fourth perspective in that story. These characters could all relate for sure.
10. The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead & A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands – I obviously had to throw my two favorite vampire worlds together. I think these worlds would be awesome to see together because of the different ways that vampires are created and the similarities that are already there.

This week’s topic was a hard one for me! I had a ton of fun looking at my shelves and thinking about all the different worlds I love colliding. I tried to pick bookish worlds that already had a little bit in common. I wanted my mashups to mostly make sense. Which bookish worlds would you want to see collide?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

GoodReads Summary:
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.

Review:
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book and all the others that Maureen Johnson has written. So when I saw that it was immediately available to borrow as an audiobook from my library I thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did.
If you like murder mysteries this will absolutely be a book for you. The story follows two mysteries. One that happened years ago that, while someone was convicted of the crime, many still think of as unsolved, and another following our main character, Stevie, and the adventure she embarks on in an attempt to solve the decades-old murder. I was sucked into this mystery right from the start. I love stories about kids going away to boarding school and Ellingham Academy is one that sounds awesome. The school itself is shrouded in mystery with tunnels and mysterious students and what not. I think this book ultimately left me with more questions than it answered.
The characters were fantastic. Stevie is a Sherlock Holmes nerd and aspires to be a detective when she’s old enough. She’s constantly questioning everything she sees and everything she knows. She’s just an inquisitive person. This seems to rub some individuals the wrong way. Her two closest friends, Nate and Janelle, are great. They both have distinct and unique personalities that made me laugh and kept me interested. I liked this combination of three together. They balanced one another out well enough. Then there were the other three students living in the same dorm as the three friends. Because they all lived together they became a makeshift group of friends who sat together at lunch and dinner times and did other miscellaneous things as a group. Ellie was totally out there. I liked her for most of the book. She was the wild child, the free spirit that did what felt good and said what came to her mind. Hayes was the airhead. An aspiring actor, he came off as kind of flaky to me. He seemed to have a bigger sense of self like he thought he was better or more important than everyone else but didn’t make it super obvious like the typical snob. Then there’s David. I liked him right from the start, even though Stevie didn’t. I don’t know what it was that made me like him, but I liked him the whole book. He was probably my second favorite after Stevie. He was just so intriguing I guess. I think maybe it’s because learning more about him was like pulling teeth. Stevie mostly tried to stay away from him, until she stopped trying to stay away and started to try to get to know him. Much to her frustration, he wasn’t interested in letting her learn a whole lot about him. I think that mystery is part of what made me like him so much. And then, of course, the way this book ended (HELLO CLIFFHANGER) just makes me want the next book so that I can know what is actually going on in the world because the lack of information is literally going to kill me.
Anyway, overall, aside from the cliffhanger that left me asking more questions than I got answered through the whole book, I loved it. I thought the audiobook was read very well. The story was interesting and kept my attention the whole time. I ate up every word of both present day and past mysteries. I can’t wait for the next book to come out so that maybe I can have my sanity returned because I don’t even know what just happened with that ending.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

WWW Wednesday

Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that was formerly hosted by Should be Reading and was recently taken over by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next and have read recently. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or link your post!

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What are you currently reading?

Amanda-

ebook – Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa. I don’t know why I haven’t been able to fly through this book. It feels like I’ve been reading it forever. I think it’s because it’s full of Japanese mythology which is a topic unfamiliar to me so I’m reading slowly so I don’t miss anything important.
audiobookAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman. This book has been super hard to get through. It’s such a long audiobook and I actually had to return it and then put another hold on it from my library. I’ve made it about halfway through and I’m making more progress on it later today. It’s interesting but a lot of detail so it requires more of my focus than other audiobooks.
physical book – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. When the final book in this series came out I knew I was going to have to reread the whole series (I like to reread but I also only remembered a few basic details from this series). I’ve finally made the attempt to start the series reread but I plan to read other things and not binge read these books.

Antonia-

I’m currently reading If I Should Die by Amy Plum. This series has exceeded my expectations and I’m really excited to see how it ends.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda-

audiobook – Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. It was fantastic and my review will be posting sometime in the next few weeks.
physical book – Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow. I just finished reading this last night. I have already written the review and it will also be posted in the next few weeks.

Antonia-

I just finished Until I Die by Amy Plum. I’m really enjoying this series so far. You’ll see a review for this one tomorrow.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda-

ebook – Meant to be Broken by Brandy Woods Snow. I received this in return for an honest review. I’ve heard good things about it and the description sounds super interesting.
audiobookThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. This has been on my TBR list forever so when I saw it was available to borrow from my library’s audiobook collection I made sure to grab it.
physical book – Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. This has been on my TBR list for at least a year and I’m trying to make a conscious effort to knock off some of the books that have been on there for a while.

Antonia-

Next I think I’ll read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Amanda’s been yelling at me to read this series for forever and I’m excited to finally get around to it.

These are this week’s W’s! What’s your reading update for this week? Let us know your W’s in the comments and thanks for reading!

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Beach/Pool Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish. This week is top ten books to read by the pool/ at the beach OR it can also serve as your summer TBR. I’m going to be doing a combination of both because I’ve recently gone a little book crazy and ordered some new books so my TBR list grew by about thirty books (whoops). It’s also the perfect time of year for some of my favorite beach/pool reads so I’m going to list the books that are on my TBR that I would consider to be beach reads for me. Here is my list, in the order of my excitement to read them.

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1. The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser – This is one of the books that is on its way to me after my recent buying spree. The description of this book sounds super interesting. One of those books you have to read in one sitting.
2. The Summer Children by Dot Hutchison – This thriller is one I’ve been waiting for it to come out for what feels like forever. I’m super excited to read this. I love a good thriller on the beach, getting lost in the sound of the waves and the excitement of the story.
3. Triangles by Ellen Hopkins – I read this book years ago. But I don’t know where it went. So I bought it again and it should be arriving sometime this week. I love anything written by Ellen Hopkins so when I saw this during the book sale (where I went buying crazy) I had to get it. I got a few other books by her as well.
4. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for almost six months. I don’t know why I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. Every time I read the back I think, “wow this sounds good, why haven’t I read this yet?” So hopefully I’ll read it while I’m lounging around my aunt’s pool this summer.
5. A Voyage of Founders by Bella Forrest – This is season eight of the Shade of Vampire series. I don’t know what it is about these books, but I just can’t put them down. I’m waiting to read this one by the pool or at the beach, but in reality, I could read it anywhere at any time.
6. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld – Afterworlds will be a reread for me. You can check out my review for this book here. I loved this book, but when I first read it I had gotten it from the library. So I recently bought it at the book sale I keep mentioning. So I’m excited to reread it because I remember how much I liked it.
7. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira – This is another reread as well as another library find. I bought this on my Kindle before my husband and I moved (drove) across the country. I didn’t end up reading it while we were in the car, but I do want to read it soon.
8. Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy by Nora Roberts – Another buy from the book sale. I know I’ve read this trilogy, but I don’t remember what it was about. I could have made this list of beach/pool reads out of JUST Nora Robert’s books so I thought I’d include one that I already own that I know I’m going to read soon(ish).
9. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson – I bought this book (and the second) on my Kindle, again before moving across the country. I didn’t end up reading it, but it’s still high on my list.
10. Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich – I wouldn’t be Amanda if I didn’t include this on my beach/pool reads list. I can read any of Evanovich’s books by the water. They’re the perfect beach reads, lighthearted and funny. It doesn’t matter which book in the series you pick, they will all have you smiling and laughing to yourself.

This is my top ten for this week! What’s yours?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday- Beach Reads

I’m not really big on “beach reads” For me a beach read is usually just whatever I’m currently reading (as long as it’s not super depressing because I don’t need to cry in public). So I’m just going to try to direct my list more towards lighthearted reads that go well with beautiful summer days.

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  1. Anything by Julia Quinn- Forget her story lines. Forget her strong, witty characters. What I love most about Quinn is how funny her books are. Like laugh-out-loud-and-make-strangers-stare-at-you funny. It’s fantastic.
  2. Beastly by Alex Flinn- This one isn’t the most lighthearted book but it’s a pretty fast read that you could probably finish in one sitting. And it’s my favorite so I always recommend it.
  3. The Bride Quartet series by Nora Roberts- This is one of her series’ that revolves a great deal around the friendships between her main characters. I just love how Nora can take romance novels and make them more about badass women being badasses together than about love.
  4. The Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts- This is the second book in her Guardians Trilogy which comes out June 14. This series has a little bit of everything; magic, a treasure hunt, even a mermaid. To me it’s a perfect beach read.
  5. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson- I read this one years ago and would love to read it again. It’s a great coming of age, summer adventure story.
  6. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson- I didn’t even know this book existed until about an hour ago and I would absolutely love to see where the story goes next.
  7. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer- These aren’t lighthearted or beachy in any way. They’re just amazing books and I highly recommend them.
  8. The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh- This is another book I learned about very recently but immediately decided I want to read. It’s not often you find books based on A Thousand and One Nights.
  9. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss– I’m not really sure this fits into what people normally consider a beach read but I’ve recently had several people recommend it to me and I’d like to finally get around to reading it.

Sorry there’s only nine this week. I managed to delete my entire post after I’d already written most of it out so I lost a lot of my motivation the second time around. Anyway, these are some of the books I plan to read this summer or just think you should read. Thanks for reading and let me know what your top ten are in the comments.

-Antonia

 

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we have a different topic that we write our top ten about. This weeks topic is top ten books on my winter to be read list. I haven’t quite thought about what I need to read that I haven’t yet. So, this list might be all over the place. Here’s what I came up with.

1)Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich– I’m totally obsessed with this series. They don’t have to be read in any specific order, and they’re all freaking hilarious.

2)Delirium by Lauren Oliver– I’ve heard a lot of really good things about this series. Its been on my TBR list for a while, but I’ve been slacking on my library visits.

3)The Book Thief by Markus Zusak– This is another that’s been on my list for a while because there’s a movie of it coming out. Every time I go to the book store I always pick it up, read the back, then put it back down. So I’m thinking it’ll be another I get from the library.

4)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins– I haven’t read this trilogy in too long. I’d really enjoy reading them again. So, maybe if I actually put it on a list I’ll get to it eventually.

5)The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey– This book looks really interesting. I read another by Rick Yancey and loved it. So I figure this could also be a great book.

6)Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley– I found this book while looking through the list of Printz awards. It sounds like it has potential to be seriously good. Along with the fact that it won two awards, so there’s probably a reason for that.

7)Unstrung by Neal Shusterman– I need to have this. The first three were amazing. I know the fourth will be just as wonderful.

8)The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn– This just came out, and I adore Julia Quinn’s books. So it’s a must.

9)The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle– I just adore Lauren Myracle. This also sounds really cute.

10)Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, &Lauren Myracle– I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book. Also, John Green.

These are the books that I’ll hopefully get to spend my winter reading. What’s on your list for this winter?