Source: eARC via Edelweiss

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Review: Say No to the Bro by Kat Helgeson

April 17, 2017 Diversity 2, Reviews 0 ★★

Review: Say No to the Bro by Kat HelgesonSay No to the Bro by Kat Helgeson
Published by Simon and Schuster BFYR on May 2, 2017
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 272
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Goodreads
two-stars
Ava’s plan for surviving senior year at her new school is simple: fly under the radar until graduation. No boys. No attachments. No drama. But all that goes out the window when she gets drafted into the Prom Bowl—a long-standing tradition where senior girls compete in challenges and are auctioned off as prom dates to the highest bidder.

Ava joins forces with star quarterback Mark Palmer to try and get herself out of the competition, but their best laid schemes lead to self-sabotage more than anything else. And to make matters worse, they both begin to realize that the Prom Bowl isn’t all fun and games. When one event spirals dangerously out of control, Ava and Mark must decide whether shutting down the Prom Bowl once and for all is worth the price of sacrificing their futures.

Diversity Rating: 2 – It’s a Start!

Racial-Ethnic: 2 (minor character Kylie is black)
QUILTBAG: 1 (another minor character named Denise is dating a girl)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 2 (Ava is a fat girl and losing weight is never part of the equation)

CHRIST ON A CRACKER, THIS BOOK MADE ME

SO

SO

ANGRY

BIGGEST TRIGGER WARNING IN HISTORY HERE: if you’re highly sensitive to sexism and sexual assault, this book is not for you and I will open the window for you to escape Scott Pilgrim-style before I dig into this quagmire of a book.

Okay, everyone out that wants to be out? Let’s get started. You’re gonna be here for a while.

I hope that bright book cover didn’t make you think this book was going to be a light read because it’s a fury-inducer the likes of which almost led to me giving the book no rating at all. There’s a lot of messed up stuff in here. It’s meant to be messed up, but then there are unintentionally messed up things going on too. Also, most of the book only happens because the two narrators refuse to communicate with one another.

Read more »

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Review: Bad Boy by Elliot Wake

November 21, 2016 Diversity 5 0 ★★★★

Review: Bad Boy by Elliot WakeBad Boy by Elliot Wake
Published by Atria Books on December 6, 2016
Genres: NA Thriller
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Goodreads
four-stars
Vlog star Renard Grant has nothing to prove: he’s got a pretty face, chiseled body, and two million adoring video subscribers. Plus the scars on his chest and a prescription for testosterone. Because Ren is transgender: assigned female at birth, living now as male. He films his transition and shares it bravely with the world; his fans love his honesty and positivity.

But Ren has been living a double life.

Off-camera, he’s Cane, the muscle-bound enforcer for social justice vigilante group Black Iris. As Cane, he lets his dark side loose. Hurts those who prey on the disempowered. Indulges in the ugly side of masculinity. And his new partner, Tamsin Baylor, is a girl as rough and relentless as him. Together, they terrorize the trolls into silence.

But when a routine Black Iris job goes south, Ren is put in the crosshairs. Someone is out to ruin his life. He’s a bad boy, they say, guilty of what he punishes others for.

Just like every other guy: at heart, he’s a monster, too.

Now Ren’s got everything to prove. He has to clear his name, and show the world he’s a good man. But that requires facing demons he’s locked away for years. And it might mean discovering he’s not such a good guy after all.

Diversity Rating: 5 – Diverse as Fuck

Racial-Ethnic: 3 (Tamsin is dark-skinned, though I can’t recall much else)
QUILTBAG: 5 (you’re honestly hard-pressed to find a het person in the novel)
Disability: 4 (Ren is depressed, Blythe is bipolar, and there’s a lot more than that)
Intersectionality: 5 (Wake’s characters are brimming with intersections of identity)

God help you if you try to read Bad Boy before Wake’s previous novels Black Iris and Cam Girl because it’s gonna spoil you hardcore on events and twists from those novels. I’m putting that first because I decided not to heed Wake’s warning and I regret it somewhat. The excellency found within Bad Boy‘s pages ensures I’ll go back to read the previous novels anyway! Read more »

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Review: We Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash

September 19, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0

Review: We Know It Was You by Maggie ThrashWe Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash
Series: Strange Truth #1
Published by Simon Pulse on October 4, 2016
Genres: Mystery, YA, YA Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Goodreads
zero-stars
Twin Peaks meets Pretty Little Liars in acclaimed author Maggie Thrash’s new Strange Truth series.

It’s better to know the truth. At least sometimes.

Halfway through Friday night’s football game, beautiful cheerleader Brittany Montague—dressed as the giant Winship Wildcat mascot—hurls herself off a bridge into Atlanta’s surging Chattahoochee River.

Just like that, she’s gone.

Eight days later, Benny Flax and Virginia Leeds will be the only ones who know why.

SPOILER WARNING TIME. I’m spoiling some major stuff here.

Diversity Rating: -5 – What the Fuck is This?

Racial-Ethnic: 0 (one Nigerian girl and three Korean men, but they’re ALL villains; Benny is Jewish)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

WOW, have I been waiting to rant about this. I read We Know It Was You alllllllllllll the way back in April 206 because my TBR Jar told me I had to. Seeing as I was legitimately excited, I wasn’t keen to defy the almighty jar either. Twin Peaks meets Pretty Little Liars sounds fascinating and twisty! Well, it’s a lie. Instead of the magnetic surrealism of Twin Peaks, we get cockamamie bull that’s also kinda racist. Read more »

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Review: Secrets, Lies, and Scandals by Amanda K. Morgan

July 14, 2016 Diversity 1, Reviews 0 ★★★

Review: Secrets, Lies, and Scandals by Amanda K. MorganSecrets, Lies, and Scandals by Amanda K. Morgan
Published by Simon Pulse on July 5, 2016
Genres: Suspense, YA, YA Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Goodreads
three-stars
Nothing ruins summer vacation like a secret…especially when it involves a dead teacher.

Ivy used to be on top of the social ladder, until her ex made that all go away. She has a chance to be Queen Bee again, but only if the rest of the group can keep quiet.

Tyler has always been a bad boy, but lately he’s been running low on second chances. There’s no way he’s going to lose everything because someone couldn’t keep their mouth shut.

Kinley wouldn’t describe herself as perfect, though everyone else would. But perfection comes at a price, and there is nothing she wouldn’t do to keep her perfect record—one that doesn’t include murder charges.

Mattie is only in town for the summer. He wasn’t looking to make friends, and he definitely wasn’t looking to be involved in a murder. He’s also not looking to be riddled with guilt for the rest of his life…but to prevent that he’ll have to turn them all in.

Cade couldn’t care less about the body, or about the pact to keep the secret. The only way to be innocent is for someone else to be found guilty. Now he just has to decide who that someone will be.

With the police hot on the case, they don’t have much time to figure out how to trust each other. But in order to take the lead, you have to be first in line…and that’s the quickest way to get stabbed in the back.

Diversity Rating: 1 – Tokenism

Racial-Ethnic: 2 (Cade is Japanese; Kinley is black)
QUILTBAG: 1 (Mattie is bi but plays out a bi stereotype)
Disability: 0 (off-screen character with an unspecified mental illness fulfills the “mentally ill people are dangerous” stereotype)
Intersectionality: 1 (See above; though bare-bones diverse, the novel doesn’t handle it particularly well)

There’s nothing like a good YA suspense novel that keeps you up at night and results in you dropping your Nook on your face! (Yeah, that happened. It also hit my cat Shadow, who’d crawled up onto my chest to take a nap, but I digress.) I didn’t know how much I wanted this book until I started reading and took down somewhere between 250 and 300 pages of it in one night. Read more »

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Review: Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman

May 6, 2016 Reviews 0

Review: Traitor Angels by Anne BlankmanTraitor Angels by Anne Blankman
Genres: Mystery, YA, YA Historical
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Goodreads
DNF
Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects.

Except for Elizabeth Milton. The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.

Until one night the reason becomes clear: the king’s man arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Vivani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?

When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father…and tear apart the very fabric of society.

Diversity Rating: 1 – Tokenism

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 1 (Elizabeth’s father is blind and her sister Anne has a variety of developmental disorders)
Intersectionality: 0

Anne Blankman’s debut YA Prisoner of Night and Fog is one of my favorite YA novels of all time. Its sequel less than wowed me, but Traitor Angels sounded SO GOOD and I hoped for Blankman to repeat what she’d done to me the first time around. Alas, things turned out even word on the third try. As sad as I am to say it, it’s a DNF. After reading 33% of the book, I can’t pull together the strength to finish the poor thing. Read more »

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Review: Remembrance by Meg Cabot

April 14, 2016 Diversity 2, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Review: Remembrance by Meg CabotRemembrance by Meg Cabot
Series: Mediator #7
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on February 2, 2016
Genres: Adult Paranormal, Comedy
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Goodreads
four-half-stars
THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED RETURN OF MEG CABOT'S BESTSELLING MEDIATOR SERIES FEATURING FAN-FAVORITE GHOST WHISPERER SUSANNAH SIMON

You can take the boy out of the darkness.
But you can’t take the darkness out of the boy.

All Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and since becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva). But when she’s hired as a guidance counselor at her alma mater, she stumbles across a decade-old murder, and soon ancient history isn’t all that’s coming back to haunt her. Old ghosts as well as new ones are coming out of the woodwork, some to test her, some to vex her, and it isn’t only because she’s a mediator, gifted with second sight.

What happens when old ghosts come back to haunt you?
If you’re a mediator, you might have to kick a little ass.

From a sophomore haunted by the murderous specter of a child to ghosts of a very different kind—including Paul Slater, Suze’s ex, who shows up to make a bargain Suze is certain must have come from the Devil himself—Suze isn’t sure she’ll make it through the semester, let alone to her wedding night. Suze is used to striking first and asking questions later. But what happens when ghosts from her past—including one she found nearly impossible to resist—strike first?

Diversity Rating: 2 – It’s a Start!

Racial-Ethnic: 2 (Gina is brown-skinned; CeeCee and her Aunt Pru are both albino)
QUILTBAG: 1 (David comes out as gay and brings home his Egyptian (?) boyfriend)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 1

It’s taken me three and a half months to cobble together thoughts on Remembrance that weren’t a bunch of fangirlish screams of joy. To be frank, I’d still rather record myself performing said fangirlish screams of joy and publish those as a review, but I’ve heard that’s not how you review books. Pffft. For both support and to have someone I could fangirl with, I read Remembrance all in one day (January 1st of this year, of course) with my good friend Lili. What an excellent start to 2016  in books! Remembrance is a crash course in how to write YA/adult crossover lit as well as how to take a series through a jump from YA to adult. Read more »

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Review: The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker

April 12, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0

Review: The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. ParkerThe Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker
Published by Simon Pulse on March 1, 2016
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Goodreads
one-star
His obsession. Her fall.

Zephyr Doyle is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and attending her dream school, Boston College.

But love has a way of changing things.

Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.

Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…

Terrifying?

But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.

So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.

If she waits any longer, it may be too late.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

About halfway into The Girl Who Fell, I said in a Goodreads status update that I was unimpressed and likely going to DNF the book. For reasons even I can’t remember now, I continued on with the book anyway. TERRIBLE DECISION. This is going to be one of my shortest reviews because a book this unimpressive just doesn’t inspire me to go on a rant about how X is bad and Y is wrong. It’s just a weak book. Read more »

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