ARC Review: Busted by Gina Ciocci {3.5}



Title: Busted
Author: Gina Ciocca
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date:  January 1st, 2018
Pages: 288
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Marisa wasn’t planning to be a snoop for hire—until she accidentally caught her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. Now her reputation for sniffing out cheaters has spread all over school, and Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

But when ex-frenemy Kendall asks her to spy on her boyfriend, TJ, Marisa quickly discovers the girl TJ might be falling for is Marisa herself. And worse yet? The feelings are quickly becoming mutual. Now, she’s stuck spying on a “mystery girl” and the spoken-for guy who just might be the love of her life…

It has been a long, loooooong time since I last finished reading a book in one day, and Busted was the one that finally cracked me after a while, even with responsibilities the whole afternoon. Busted was written in such a way that it was addicting and hard to put down, and I couldn’t stop even when my brain nagged at me to do homework. I’m not a fan of mysteries, but the hint of a little mystery in this book was just perfect to make the book addicting.

Busted is a short and quick read, and I loved how invested I was in the story. My absolute favorite things about this book are the friendship and family dynamics. For the friendship, I loved how Marisa and Charlie could talk to each other honestly, to the point that Marisa called out Charlie for being judgemental, and Charlie apologizing instead of getting mad like most people would be. I just loved how they could talk everything out with respect, and not with the tone of blame. For the family, I loved how Charlie could freely talk to her mother about things, and how her brother is actually an accomplice instead of the enemy.

On the other hand, I felt like sometimes the story seemed to lack direction and objective because it was just snaking its way through everything without a clear path. Sometimes it felt like reading in circles. It also dragged on a little bit for some of the parts. I don’t know why I felt this way towards the book, and I really can’t explain it in words, but that was what was on my mind while reading it.

The major issue I have with this book is the lack of connection with any of the characters. This is the reason why, although I enjoyed the book, I couldn’t give it a rating higher than 3.5 stars. I just didn’t feel anything for the characters, and I absolutely dislike the love interest. For me, TJ is sketchy af, and I just didn’t really feel that he liked Charlie honestly. Maybe in the start but then towards the end it seemed like he didn’t care about Charlie, and even supported her flirting with another guy. Shouldn’t he be at least a teeny tiny bit jealous or protective? I don’t know, I just didn’t like him overall.

To wrap things up, I really enjoyed this quick and addicting read, although I couldn’t give it a higher rating because I didn’t really connect with any of the characters.

3.5 couldn’t-connect stars

ARC Review: The Dead House

Title: The Dead House
Author: Dawn Kurtagich
Series: N/A, Stand-alone
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Publication Date: August 6th 2015
Pages: 440
My Rating: 5 stars

Thanks to Orion Children’s Books for providing me with a digital copy of this book via Netgalley, in exchange for a honest review. 

Carly gets the day. 

Kaitlyn gets the night.

Elmridge High burnt down 25 years ago. Three people died, and one went missing. Carly Johnson hasn’t been since, is she still alive following what became known as the Johnson Incident. Now, when a diary of her identical twin sister, Kaitlyn, is found, it opens up an investigation of what happened all those years ago, the only issue is; Carly didn’t have an identical twin sister. Video footage, the diary, police files and first hand witnesses shows a story that is more complex than anyone originally expected. A story of two girls in one body, cult-like rituals, friendship that goes beyond the normal and an extreme case of dependency. 

 This is a story of mental illness in a unique, gripping way and it has a slight paranormal twist on it. The Johnson Incident just became a hell of a lot darker.

This book had me on edge the whole time I was reading it!

At first, part of me genuinely believed that Kaitlyn and Carly were two separate people, their personalities are so clear and well written that it took me as a shock when I learned they were the one person. The author approached this topic in such a unique way, with mental health awareness rising in YA, dissociative personality disorder is rarely something you read about, and when you do, it’s written in quite a confusing manner. But this was so coherent and elegant it took me a bit by shock to be honest!

The formatting of this book was another highlight for me, it was easy to tell what parts were the diary, what parts were video footage and so on.

This book is also pretty emotion evoking. There were parts where I just wanted to cry and I really wanted things to work out for this character, I wanted her to beat her demons. But it’s clear from the beginning that she wasn’t going too.

I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a mysterious thriller that will break your heart and keep you on edge the whole time you’re reading.

5 gripping stars





ARC Review: Thicker Than Water

Title: Thicker Than Water
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: No
Genre: Young-Adult, Romance, Mystery, Paranormal
Publication Date: December 29, 2015
Publisher: Kensington Books
Pages: 432
My Rating: 4 Stars

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years. 

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

When I started reading this book, I had absolutely no idea what it was about. I remember reading the synopis when I requested it, but I read the synopsis of other books as well and they kinda got jumbled enough that I didn’t even remember the genre. I think that worked in my favour.
This book has a very emotional beginning. So emotional, in fact, that I started to wonder if maybe the whole book would be just me trying not to cry and failing. I thought it was a contemporary with a pinch of mystery.
Then came the romance element and it was really good so I thought it was perhaps a romance. Then the mystery came back stronger and something happened and I was like “Whaaa…?” Then came the supernatural element which I was very happy with. So this book was a Paranormal Murder Mystery Romance and somehow, everything fit.
I enjoyed this book very much. I loved the chemistry between the protagonists and the nerve-racking tention that was quite consistent. I liked the sudden revelations and the emotion. The writing was good and had me really invested in the story and the characters.
By the time I reached the 75% point, I was prepared to give it five stars. But the grand finale… it wasn’t grand enough.
There was a lot of build-up and the ending kinda fell flat compared to it. There were also some things that needed more explanation or an explanation but were just mentioned vaguely. The end was… hurried. And the paranormal aspect wasn’t explored enough. Or much at all, really.
I’m aware that this is a standalone with many aspects and only so many of those could be gone into depth with in just one book, but I still feel like we need more. More information, more answers. And preferably another book. I would love that.
So yeah, this is a really good book that could have been better. I still recommend it, though. The flaws won’t stop you from loving it.
I do have one question though and that is, What’s up with the name? I mean, why this name. I couldn’t really connect it to the story. The name could have been something like Empathy, which would give a pun-like quality. But if anyone does find out why this name was chosen, be sure to tell me.
Last but not least, thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this copy in exchange for my honest review.

4 Really-Want-A-Sequel Stars

ARC Review: The November Criminals

Title: The November Criminals
Series: N/A, Stand alone
Author: Sam Munson
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Little Brown Book Group
Publication Date: November 4th 2015
Pages: 272
My Rating:  3 stars

Addison Schacht has a lot on his mind. Getting into college, keeping up his relationship with his not girlfriend, Digger, and finally, selling drugs to his classmates. But when a guy in his class called Kevin is murdered, it is suddenly dominant in Addison’s mind. They weren’t friends, but his death has struck a chord with Addison. This book basically is Addison’s response to a college essay, What are your worst qualities? This story follows along those lines. This isn’t your typical feel good contemporary. This is the story of Addison, a boy obsessed with drugs, murder and he knows that deep down he isn’t a good person. Don’t expect happy endings from this book, don’t expect things to be softened down. 

I wanted more. 

 I wanted to be shocked, and I wanted a feel good contemporary that would give me a whole whirlwind of emotions. I didn’t expect this book. 
I didn’t expect it’s dark and nitty nature, usually that wouldn’t bother me, I’m a fan of that kind of book…It’s just that this book didn’t feel complete enough. It was the kind of book that screamed potential into the never-ending void of YA books out there in this universe. 
It yelled PROMISE. 

But what did it deliver? 
A mediocre story with tedious details and a lot of swearing that would so not be acceptable in a college essay. Also, overuse of the word “Like.”
Like come on. 
The writing was good, and I can understand why a lot of people loved this book. But I also get the reason why a lot of people didn’t. We were promised Catcher in the Rye, a book I’ve never read but it’s a classic so it must be good, and instead we got a basic story with a standard main character and little to no development. 
The main source of development came from a side character named Alex! That’s not what I wanted! 
I wanted more. 


ARC Review: The Light That Gets Lost

Title: The Light That Gets Lost
Author: Natasha Carthew
Series: N/A, Stand Alone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: November 5th 2015
Pages: 320
My Rating: 3 stars

No child should ever have to see what Trey saw. You can hide, You can try to block it out. But there is no blocking it out, and when you see it, your dead parents. Murdered. There is no denying it. And there’s something that snaps when you see that, no matter what age you are. And Trey’s demons want revenge on the people who murdered his parents. 

At a camp for broken, crazy and just generally messed up people, Trey’s demons might just be appeased when he finds out that maybe…just maybe…revenge is never too far away. But love and friendship also mightn’t be too far out of reach either.

Thank you to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for allowing me to read this ARC, free of charge, in exchange of an honest review. This has, in no way, altered my review. 

I didn’t love this one as much as I hoped too. I feel like it promised more than we got from it. By the synopsis, I wanted suspense, I wanted gripping, thrilling moments that would make my heart stop, That would make me sit at the edge of my seat.

And did I get any of it? Not really.

What I got was something more reminiscent of, Of Mice and Men. With the country slang and the farm type situation, I felt more like I was watching George without Lennie. Actually scrap that, George before he met Lennie and he was angry at the world. That’s what Trey seemed like to me. And the ending of this book basically presented him meeting his Lennie. Only Lennie had boobs and more of an attitude.

The writing was good and the cover was beautiful but this book just so wasn’t for me. This usually is right up my street but maybe the language of the book put me off completely.

Thee “Let me feed the rabbits, George” stars

ARC Review: All The Rage

Title: All the Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Series: N/A, Stand alone
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance, mystery
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books ( Originally: St. Martin’s Griffin)
Publication Date:  January 18th 2016
Pages: 257
My Rating: 4 stars


Kellan Turner, son of the local Sheriff, isn’t the golden boy that everybody seems to think that he is, but only Romy Grey can see this for sure. Romy, the daughter of the notorious Paul Grey, the girl from the wrong side of the track and the girl who cried Rape, is the only person who can see this. Being branded a liar by the town, she loses her friends, her status and herself. But when a girl who used to be her friend comes to her diner, then is never seen again after that night, and Romy can’t remember what happened, will her reputation come back to bite her? 
Or will she be able to bring to light what happened to her, and also save her former friend?

This copy was received from Netgalley, thanks to both Netgalley and Pan Macmillan. 
I have never been truly frustrated while reading a book before. Never. And this book made me so frustrated that I’m struggling to even put it into words. Romy was a brilliant character and Summer’s writing made you really route for her. I felt All the Rage if you will. 
The writing style of this book was borderline poetic, I enjoy a contemporary book with a poetic narrative, sometimes they lack power though, but this didn’t. I liked the variety, how you could tell that she was having a PTSD moment and how it didn’t interrupt the flow of the story.
I also like that when her friend, Penny, disappeared, there was no “Did I do it?” kind of moment. I really did like that, because I hate those moments, it makes me doubt my love for the character to be frank.
Now on to what I didn’t like and why this book isn’t getting five stars.
Leon. I feel like the romance with Leon was kind of unnecessary, although  it kind of helped, it didn’t overly help and it felt a little strained in some areas. As much as I liked him as a character, he would have been able to have the same affect as a best friend, or even just a friend. I bet Romy would have found that more helpful than having a boyfriend.
I do recommend this book though as it is an enjoyable YA book!

4 I have all the feels stars

Review: The Summer I Found You

Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: January 7, 2014
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

  Jolene Perry’s THE SUMMER I FOUND YOU, about a teenage girl trying to cope with her new diagnosis of type one diabetes and a teenage male veteran who is learning how to embrace his new life after losing an arm, who come together by using each other as an escape, only to discover through love and struggle that your life is what you make of it.

  Thanks to Netgalley for providing me an eARC copy of this novel!

  Before reading this book, I didn’t think that I would like it as much as I did. To me, this was just an ordinary romance novel that I would go through, but boy was I wrong! This novel made me feel the feels, and that’s what great romance novels are made of.

  This novel revolves around Kate and Aiden’s story – how they both used each other for escapes at first, and how their relationship slowly blossomed more than that to friendship, then eventually to love. The romance in this novel is really great and I love how Jolene Perry wrote it and the whole novel. The pacing was okay, and so is the flow of the story. This book, along with Stir Me Up, just made me addicted and drawn to marine romance novels out there, so if you know any good ones, feel free to recommend them to me! *winks*

  There was one thing though. Or actually there are two. The first is that, I don’t get the title of this book. It says “The Summer I Found You”, but they didn’t meet each other in the summer, I think? (Correct me if I’m wrong on this one, please.) The second one is that, I don’t get why Kate’s diabetes was that big of a deal. I know two people who have diabetes, and it’s not really that dramatic.

  These are the points that prevent me from giving this book a full five stars, but aside from that , I really liked the story, so I’m giving it four stars! I hope you guys will give this book a chance despite all the negative reviews, because I truly enjoyed reading this one! 🙂

“Sometimes it’s easier to pretend like it’s no big deal if there’s no way to hide it.”

Review: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

Title: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

Author: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Series: N/A, Standalone

Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Humor, Chic Lit

Publisher: Knopf Book for Young Readers

Publication Date: October 26, 2010

Pages: 260 Pages

My Rating: 3 Stars

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

  So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

  Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

  The first thing that drawed me into this book was when I learned about the two authors not planning anything out, just passing their chapters between each other, much like how Dash and Lily passed the red notebook on to each other. 

  I liked this book in a sense that it was very realistic, not in sense that it really captivated me. It didn’t draw me in, didn’t make me feel like I am part of the novel itself, but it sure was cute and entertaining. 

  I may not have enjoyed this book as much as others did, but I still think that it’s a great book. There were so many great quotes that I picked up from here. I’m sure if I were another person, I would have enjoyed this more. 

“You think fairy tales are only for girls? Here’s a hint – ask yourself who wrote them. I assure you, it wasn’t just the women. It’s the great male fantasy – all it takes is one dance to know that she’s the one. All it takes is the sound of her song from the tower, or a look at her sleeping face. And right away you know – this is the girl in your head, sleeping or dancing or singing in front of you. Yes, girls want their princes, but boys want their princesses just as much. And they don’t want a very long courtships. They want to know immediately.”

“The important people in our lives leave imprints. They may stay or go in the physical realm, but they are always there in your heart, because they helped form your heart. There’s no getting over that.”

“I mean, what if love isn’t a yes-or-no question? It’s not either you’re in love or you’re not. I mean, aren’t there different levels? And maybe these things, like words and expectations and whatever, don’t go on top of the love. Maybe it’s like a map, and they all have their own place, and then when you see it from the sky – whoa.

“You want meaning? Well, the meanings are out there. We’re just so damn good at reading them wrong.”

“The reward is in the risk.”

“So even though it doesnt seem like anything’s changed, things change all the time, mostly in little ways. That’s how it goes, I guess.”

“But the universe doesn’t decide what’s right or not right. You do.”

“It’s up to you, not fate.”