The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

GoodReads Summary:
At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem. Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn HardcastleReview:
This book was an absolutely wild ride. We follow Aiden Bishop as he’s placed in the mind of eight different guests. He has eight days to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. Each of the eight days, Aiden is in the mind and body of a different guest. I don’t know how to explain the experience that was this book. We didn’t know who the next guest would be, but at the same time, Aiden was still in the mind of his previous hosts. Anything he did in the present host could potentially affect the things he had already accomplished. This book was beyond complicated and confusing. Each new day we learn a little bit more, and the mystery unfolds a little bit at a time. This author did an incredible job of keeping the reader in suspense and giving enough answers to keep the story going at a good pace.
When we find out what’s really going on, I was blown away. I’m not going to spoil anything, so I’m going to keep this review short. The intricacy that was this book is honestly amazing. I am blown away by Stuart Turton’s brain and his capability to make this story what it is. There were so many details and connections.
My only complaint is that I still had a few questions when I finished the story. I felt like there were one or two things that weren’t answered or weren’t clarified enough for me.
Overall, I will absolutely be reading this author’s next book. I was captivated by this story. It sucked me in and wouldn’t let go until the mystery was solved.

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.

One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus

GoodReads Summary:
Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.
A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.
Until now.
This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game.
Truth or Dare.
Phoebe’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark.
Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.
But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.
Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules.
One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying, #2)Review:
I always forget how much I enjoy mystery/thrillers until I’m reading them. This one was no different. I really enjoyed the mystery of who is in control of the truth or dare game. The one problem I had with this book is similar to the ones I had with her previous books; the characters were sort of hard to distinguish between. I found myself wondering whose chapter I was in. I would say that I wished I listened to the audiobook, but that’s the route I went for the other books and I had the same problem.
Aside from that, I really enjoyed this. The characters were interesting and I was invested in their stories. I liked that they had problems other than the truth or dare game. Their relationships and friendships were fun and I enjoyed them.
Overall, this was a fun read and I got through it quickly. I wonder if there’s going to be another book because of the way this ended. I think the ending was the part I disliked the most.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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.

A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro

GoodReads Summary:
Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson think they’re finally in the clear. They’ve left Sherringford School—and the Moriartys—behind for a pre-college summer program at Oxford University. A chance to start from scratch and explore dating for the first time, while exploring a new city with all the freedom their program provides. But when they arrive, Charlotte is immediately drawn into a new case: a series of accidents have been befalling the members of the community theater troupe in Oxford, and now, on the eve of their production of Hamlet, they’re starting all over again. What once seemed like a comedy of errors is now a race to prevent the next tragedy—before Charlotte or Jamie is the next victim.
A Question of Holmes (Charlotte Holmes #4)Review:
A Question of Holmes is the final book in the Charlotte Holmes series. Part of me is really sad that this series has ended, and another part of me thought it was the perfect ending. This final book is told entirely from Charlotte’s perspective, which is something I wanted in the first two books. But in this one, I mostly just wanted to hear from Jamie again.
Charlotte had grown exponentially in this series. This final book is evidence of that. We see her trying to use the things she’s learned in therapy. She’s trying to not fall back into old habits, even though it would be so easy to do so. I really liked this new version of Charlotte. She’s always been really self-aware, but now was trying to get out of her self-destructive habits.
Jamie has also changed. We only see him from Charlotte’s point of view. But it’s still clear that he sees Charlotte for who she is. He no longer adores her without abandon. He still obviously loves her, but he also isn’t afraid to leave if she starts becoming self-destructive again. He knows she has flaws and encourages her to overcome them.
The mystery in this one was exactly what I was expecting the first book to be. It was a light-hearted, curious but mostly harmless mystery. It was not the life or death matter that the other books turned out to be. I really enjoyed that. The stakes were much lower for everyone involved. I liked that because while the high stakes made the story fast-paced and exciting in the previous books, I don’t think that would have been right for this final book.
Overall, I enjoyed this one so much. I’m still undecided on whether or not I love the ending. I liked it, but did I love it? I honestly don’t know. It wasn’t the happily ever after that I wanted, but I think maybe it’s what was best for Jamie and Charlotte. Not a solid ending, but hope for a better future for both of them. If you haven’t read this series, please stop what you’re doing and go read it now.

Quotes:

“Whatever Watson and I were to each other was our business, no matter how the world leaned in and breathed against the glass.”

“I would be lying if I said I didn’t love these moments—him looking at me like I had in my hands a curtain pull, that I could reveal the underbelly of the world.”

“A secret is something embarrassing. Something compromising, something with power. Secrets are what we make art from.”

“My past made me who I am. There is no way to wipe that clean.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro

GoodReads Review:
It’s been a year since the shocking death of August Moriarty, and Jamie and Charlotte haven’t spoken.
Jamie is going through the motions at Sherringford, trying to finish his senior year without incident, with a nice girlfriend he can’t seem to fall for.
Charlotte is on the run, from Lucien Moriarty and from her own mistakes. No one has seen her since that fateful night on the lawn in Sussex—and Charlotte wants it that way. She knows she isn’t safe to be around. She knows her Watson can’t forgive her.
Holmes and Watson may not be looking to reconcile, but when strange things start happening, it’s clear that someone wants the team back together. Someone who has been quietly observing them both. Making plans. Biding their time.
Someone who wants to see one of them suffer and the other one dead.
The Case for Jamie (Charlotte Holmes, #3)Review:
The Case for Jamie is the third book in the Charlotte Holmes series. It’s also the first book where we get dual perspectives through the whole book. In this latest mystery, things are…worse than they were in the other books. Things kind of went out of control in the final pages of the last book, and we are seeing the aftermath of that in this book. Charlotte and Jamie are no longer partners in anything and have gone their separate ways.
Jamie is just trying to get back to school. Trying to get his grades up and play rugby and try to get into a good college. But his dad and Leander keep dragging him back into the mysteries. Jamie was a little annoying in parts of this book. He clearly needs some sort of help, but just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t communicate, with anyone. And his relationships suffer because of this.
The same sort of goes for Charlotte. I wanted more from her perspective in the previous two books, but once I got it, it kind of makes me dislike her. She, like Jamie, clearly has issues. But we also learn her backstory, which ended up making me not dislike her. I really liked getting to see her back story.
Leander was my favorite of all the characters. He’s funny and wise, and mostly always does the right thing. I wish Jamie and Charlotte had gone to him for help sooner.
The ending of this book, like the last one, was pretty wild. I seem to have the same issue as the last one though. We don’t get anything from Jamie’s point of view after all the drama goes down and I don’t like that. So much of what happens involves him and people he cares about, but we don’t get to see any of what he’s thinking about it all in the aftermath, which bugs me.
Overall, this was another mystery that I really enjoyed. I like that Charlotte and Jamie are so flawed. They’re realistic characters with hard, real-life issues. I liked all of their friends and family. This series is complex and dark. One that I definitely recommend.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund

GoodReads Summary:
It’s been more than 50 years since a tornado tore through a drive-in movie theater in tiny Mercer, Illinois, leaving dozens of teens — a whole generation of Mercerites — dead in its wake. So when another tornado touches down in the exact same spot on the anniversary of this small-town tragedy, the town is shaken. For Brenna Ortiz, Joshua Calloway, and Callie Keller, the apprehension is more than just a feeling. Though they seem to share nothing more than a struggle to belong, the teens’ paths continue to intersect, bringing them together when they least expect it, and perhaps, when they need it most. Both the living and the dead have secrets and unresolved problems, but they may be able to find peace and move forward–if only they work together.
We Speak in StormsReview:
We Speak in Storms was a book I picked up at the recommendation of Alana @ The Bookish Chick. I’m forever grateful for all of the book recommendations she sends my way. I loved this book. The cover pulls you in first, the colors of the storm contrasting with the colors in the field. I’m obsessed with this cover.
Then you open it up and the story sucks you right in. We follow three characters, the outsiders. Brenna is Latina in a small town that finds her too different. But her family considers her not Latina enough. She considers herself an in-between girl and hides herself among the other kids in her school that purposefully make themselves seem different. I really liked Brenna and her journey to accepting herself. Dot really helped Brenna see that she needed to embrace what makes her different and to get back to doing the things she loves.
Joshua was my favorite though. He’s a fat, queer kid that used to be bullied, but since coming out is more invisible than anything else. He has a mostly good relationship with his mom and sister and a not so good relationship with his stepdad. It was really heartwarming to see the changes in his confidence and the rest of his life with the help of Luke. I found Joshua and Luke’s interactions the ones I wanted more of. I didn’t think there was enough. Luke mostly just told him to not let anyone get him down.
Then, Callie. Her mom is dying and Callie might as well be dying too with the way she is acting. She doesn’t eat, doesn’t interact with her friends. She’s going through the motions in an attempt to not feel the huge emotions that revolve around knowing her mother will die soon. Enter Ellie. She’s a wise older woman that knows just how to help Callie deal with the loss she’s about to go through.
The way these visitors came back to mentor the three main characters was honestly so heartwarming. I loved the mystery at the beginning of the tornado and who these new people were. I loved Callie, Joshua, and Brenna coming together and forming an unlikely friendship. I loved the atmosphere of the small town they lived in. Their problems were huge and real. This was a book about the ‘different’ kids learning how to be happy with what made them different and I loved every page of it. There was a mystery and a little bit of spookiness and it was perfect.

Quotes:

“Did death scare him? Had he been afraid of how much he wanted to live?”

“Mistakes help us figure out who we are becoming.”

“It was comforting to think the universe was so big that Brenna could find a place where she didn’t have to wear her shell, where she didn’t have to perform, or shut off parts of herself.”

“There’s such sweetness is ordinary, in the calm before a storm.”

“But our stories, our coming out, they belong to us.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

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GoodReads Summary:
Watson and Holmes: A match made in disaster.
Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter-break reprieve after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But Charlotte isn’t the only Holmes with secrets, and the mood at her family’s Sussex estate is palpably tense. On top of everything else, Holmes and Watson could be becoming more than friends—but still, the darkness in Charlotte’s past is a wall between them.
A distraction arises soon enough because Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring. The game is afoot once again, and Charlotte is single-minded in her pursuit.
Their first stop? Berlin. Their first contact? August Moriarty (formerly Charlotte’s obsession, currently believed by most to be dead), whose powerful family has been ripping off famous paintings for the last hundred years. But as they follow the gritty underground scene in Berlin to glittering art houses in Prague, Holmes and Watson begin to realize that this is a much more complicated case than a disappearance. Much more dangerous, too.
What they learn might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.
The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes, #2)Review:
I am officially obsessed with this series. I don’t know why I waited so long to pick it up. I think part of me was worried it wasn’t going to live up to the hype, but it absolutely does. The Last August was just as good as the first book in the series.
I love Charlotte Holmes. She’s flawed and so utterly human. But she’s also highly trained and is always thinking about a hundred steps ahead. I love the way her mind works and I wish we got more chapters from her point of view. She is really just a fascinating character.
Then there’s Jamie, sweet, dear Jamie. I just adore him. He’s always got something to prove. That he doesn’t need Charlotte’s training or affection. That he’s better than August. I enjoyed seeing his relationship with his dad get better over the course of the book. He finds himself in need of advice regarding the quirks of the Holmes family member, which I thought was an interesting way for them to bond.
The mystery in this book. Phew, it was a doozy. The ending was confusing and I’m honestly still not totally sure what happened. Every time I thought one thing was going on, Charlotte proved me wrong, over and over.
Overall, this was a fast-paced thrill ride with characters who have depth and real problems. I love this series and I cannot wait to continue on to the third book. If you haven’t picked up this series, what are you waiting for?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Three: Thriller TBR

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Hi, lovelies! Last week we talked mystery/thriller recommendations and today (even though the month is almost over) we will be talking about the books that fit these genres that have been living on my TBR shelves. These are all books I already own and just haven’t picked up yet, so let’s talk books!

The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix

S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett

A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

All The Rage by Courtney Summers

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

These are some of the books I’m hoping to get through and knock off my TBR list! I might have even read some of them already because I am prewriting this post, but we shall see what I get through when I post my October wrap up! Have you read any of these? Do you want to read any of these? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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