Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley

GoodReads Summary:
Nate never imagined that he would be attacked by his best friend, Cam.
Now, Nate is being called to deliver a sworn statement that will get Cam convicted. The problem is, the real story isn’t that easy or convenient—just like Nate and Cam’s friendship. Cam challenged Nate on every level from the day the boys met. He pushed him to break the rules, to dream, and to accept himself. But Nate—armed with a fierce moral code and conflicted by his own beliefs—started to push back. With each push, Nate and Cam moved closer to each other—but also spiraled closer to their breaking points.
Deposing NathanReview:
I picked this book up because the author will be at the NoVaTeen Book Festival in March, which will likely have already happened by the time this review is posted.
I read this book so quickly. I honestly just couldn’t put it down. I was sucked into the story of the friendship between Nate and Cam. The wondering of how these two best friends ended up fighting to the point of a stabbing and ensuing court drama almost killed me. I had to know what happened. The suspense was so well done. The story flashes back and forth between the present, where Nate is giving a deposition, and the past, which is the story that he is telling for the deposition. We also get bits in between where Cam and Nate talk a few times in the present.
I was completely blown away by the plot twist at the end with what really happened that night. I will absolutely be reading more books by this author when he publishes them. The conversation of sexuality and religion was captivating and horrifying at the same time. I thought it discussed these ideas in a well thought out way. It wasn’t condemning religion or any sexuality.
I loved Cam and Nate as friends. I totally held out hope for them even though their relationship turned pretty toxic. I really loved the way things ended in the final pages.
Overall, I don’t know why people aren’t talking about this book because it’s absolutely one that should be shouted about. It’s full of conflict and mystery. It pulls at the heartstrings while also managing to infuriate. I loved every page.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

GoodReads Summary:
When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.
What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.
Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.
It was everything.
She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.
The Turn of the KeyReview:
The Turn of the Key was the book that my Bookclub chose for our current read. There’s just a few of us that meet once a month or so, and each month one of us picks the next book that we read together. It’s always a good time.
This book was a wild ride. I always forget how much I like mystery/thrillers until I’m actually reading them. I really liked the format this story was told in, up until the end. We follow Rowan as she takes a new nannying job. We get this story in the form of letters that Rowan has written to a lawyer asking for them to take on her case. She writes them from prison. She’s accused of being responsible for the death of one of the children she was in charge of.
I honestly don’t have all that much to say about this. The twists and turns were wild. Some I saw coming and others I totally did not. There were some paranormal aspects introduced that were definitely a little creepy. The story was gripping and I was eager to know what was going to happen next. It felt fast-paced, but that might have just been the short chapters.
I liked this except for the ending. There really was no resolution. We do get details about what actually happened in the form of a letter written by someone else. But I really didn’t like the ending. Had we gotten more of a resolution or any sort of answers I would have liked this way better.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

GoodReads Summary:
For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.
Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.
After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.
Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.
Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…
And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.
Darling Rose GoldReview:
As with all my ARC reviews, I will be starting by saying thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Sadly, by the time I finished this book I did not like it. I really enjoyed the first half. The suspense of whether or not Patty really poisoned Rose Gold and made her sick all those years. The mystery of Rose Gold’s life after her mother was sent to prison. But the more I got to know Rose Gold, the less I liked her. She was a liar, for no good reason. I understand she had a really shitty childhood, but after finding her dad, there was so much potential for good things in her life and she threw it all away. Instead of moving on, trying to make a better life for herself now that her mother was in jail, she plotted revenge.
As for Patty, I didn’t like her from the start. I have a one-year-old, and I understand the stress and worry about whether my child is healthy or not, but to purposefully make my child sick? I could never, even when she’s getting four molars at the same time and cries at me to hold her all day long.
I’m going to keep this short and to the point because I’d like to wipe this story from my memory as soon as possible. While the writing was really good, and the story was fast-paced and interesting, I hated both main characters so much that it ruined the story for me. There are likely lots of people out there that will enjoy this, but I’m not one of them.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

GoodReads Review:
On a damp October night, 24-year-old Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror film director Stanislaus Cordova–a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.
For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.
Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world. The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.
Night FilmReview:
I’ve honestly been putting on writing this review for entirely too long. I just am still not sure what to say about Night Film. I completely understand now why so many people rave about this book. I am now firmly on the team that will shout about this also.
So, this book follows Scott McGrath as he falls into the hole that is figuring out the secrets of the Cordova family. Things get so bizarre and I honestly didn’t see any of it coming. There were so many twists and turns, I was gripped. I really felt bad for McGrath, but also a lot of the bad things that happen to him are of his own doing. So I felt bad, but sometimes it was hard to feel that way. I’m really glad things wrapped up the way they did.
There were so many little connections between characters. I’m in awe of the author and the clear ability to create a complex and intricate story. As the story progresses, things get weirder and weirder. I loved this aspect. I thought it was really interesting to read the story from the perspective of a non-believer. Having some of the characters believe in the supernatural and some argue against it really made the story just that much better.
I’m going to wrap this up because I really don’t know what to say to explain how much I enjoyed this book. Just please if you like a good, but weird, mystery read this book. I swear you’ll like it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich

GoodReads Summary:
Grandma Mazur is a widow…again. This time her marriage lasted a whole 45 minutes. The unlucky groom was one Jimmy Rosolli, local gangster, lothario (senior division) and heart attack waiting to happen…well, the waiting’s over.
It’s a sad day, but if she can’t have Jimmy at least Grandma can have all the attention she wants as the dutiful widow. But some kinds of attention are not welcomed, particularly when Jimmy’s former “business partners” are convinced that his widow is keeping the keys to their financial success for herself.
As someone who has spent an entire career finding bad guys, a set of missing keys should be no challenge for Stephanie Plum. Problem is, the facts are as twisted as a boardwalk pretzel with mustard.
Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum, #26)Review:
I’m always excited for the newest Stephanie Plum release. This one was a little disappointing. I still enjoyed it in the usual way, but there seemed to be some unresolved issues. The story just ends after finding the one thing they’ve been looking for the whole book.
Stephanie is unhappy with her job and life at the moment. And that never seems to be resolved either. I’m not sure if it was left like this because of something that may happen in the next book, but I didn’t care for it.
As usual, I loved the family and other relationships. I’ll always be team Ranger, but I still like Morelli. I like that Stephanie and Morelli have reached a comfortable place in their relationship, but this doesn’t really allow for much Ranger love.
The mystery was an interesting one. I loved that it involved Grandma Mazur. She just cracks me up, along with the rest of Stephanie’s family. They’re so funny and wholesome, all around a great part of the story.
Overall, this story was as I expected. Full of antics and hilarity. Cars getting blown up and mystery. I will always love this series, for sure.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

GoodReads Summary:
Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.
They picked the wrong girl.
Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.
Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.
Foul Is FairReview:
Huge thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I buddy read this ARC with my favorite twinny, Alana @ The Bookish Chick.
I absolutely adored this story. It was dark and gritty, murderous and magical, fast-paced and captivating. I loved Elle (or Jade). She was vengeful and I freaking loved it. I don’t even know how to explain it. She’s clever and devious in all the best ways. But I liked even more that we still got to see her when she was vulnerable. She was drugged and raped, but won’t take anyone’s bullshit. She and her coven have a plan to get their revenge.
The coven. I adored them. They were magical and loyal. I loved the dynamic between these girls. They were some serious friend goals. I loved all the scenes with the coven doing their part to scare the boys of St. Andrews.
The writing in Foul is Fair was incredible. Even during the slow points of the story, it felt like I was flying through it because of the writing. The author sucked me into the story, chewed me up, and spit me out. The writing was beautiful and dark. Never quite clear about whether the coven was actually casting spells and flying with their wings. I adored it.
Overall, this book was incredible. I loved every single murderous page. I think this one will be a hit once it’s published and I know I will be shouting about it all year.

Quotes:

“Killing hurts worse if somebody you love is holding the knife.”

“It’s beautiful. We’re beautiful. This night, dark and deadly and stained with blood, is a masterpiece too perfect for any museum in the whole world.”

“As soon as I speak they’ll never see that same girl anymore, and knowing that makes my fingernails bite into my skin because I want it so hard, to rip those boys’ faces open. Tear their hearts out and hold them, still beating, in my hands.”

“We’re magic. I can feel it right now in the dark. We’re invisible when we need to be and then so firework-bright no one can look away. We’re patience and brilliance. We never forget. We never forgive.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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GoodReads Summary:
Told in alternating points of view from Chess, Emma, and Finn Greystone, Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers is the beginning of a new page-turning adventure that examines assumptions about identity, family, and home, from the master of middle grade suspense.
What makes you you?
The Greystone kids thought they knew. Chess has always been the protector over his younger siblings, Emma loves math, and Finn does what Finn does best—acting silly and being adored. They’ve been a happy family, just the three of them and their mom.
But everything changes when reports of three kidnapped children—who share the same first and middle names, ages, and exact birth dates as the Greystone kids—reach the Greystone family. This bizarre coincidence makes them wonder: Who exactly are these strangers? Before Chess, Emma, and Finn can question their mom about it, she takes off on a mysterious work trip. But puzzling clues left behind lead to complex codes, hidden rooms, and a dangerous secret that will turn their world upside down.
The Strangers (Greystone Secrets, #1)Review:
The Strangers was such a fun and suspenseful story. I loved Haddix’s books when I was growing up so now that I’ve been starting to read middle-grade books again I had to get this when I saw it. I’m so glad that I did.
The Strangers was wholesome and bizarre in the best ways. I thought this was just going to be a fun mystery, which it was, but it took a turn toward science fiction that I was not expecting, but definitely loved.
I adored all three kids that we follow. Emma was smart and clever, but still very clearly loved her siblings and mom. Chess was the oldest and felt responsible for all the others, even though he really shouldn’t have all that weight on him. I liked Finn most of all. He was the youngest and always being underestimated. He played a role just as important as the others.
I loved how obvious their love for one another was. And their love for their mother fueled their mission. I also really enjoyed how they got Natalie in on helping them.
Overall, this book was an absolute delight. I really had fun reading it. The characters were easy to love. I definitely suggest this one to anyone that liked middle-grade books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.