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

32333303Book Title: Secrets, Lies, and Scandals
Author: Amanda K. Morgan
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: July 5th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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In the tradition of I Know What You Did Last Summer and How to Get Away with Murder, five teens must overcome their paranoia in order to keep their teacher’s death a secret in this fast-paced suspense thriller.

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.


MY THOUGHTS

I’ve been wanting to pick up this book for a while now. Ever since I saw it on Book Outlet, blurbed as perfect for fans of the TV show How to Get Away with Murder, I knew I had to read it. Fast forward a several months and a Kindle deal later, I finally got to read it.

Secrets, Lies, and Scandals is a fast-paced thriller that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. At least, it had that impact on me. I was reading this non-stop because I just HAD to know what happens next.

The book is told in alternating perspectives of the five main characters: Ivy, Mattie, Kinley, Tyler and Cade. In my opinion, the most well-written character is Tyler. I found that among the five, he was the one I truly felt for. I sympathized with him especially with everything that’s been going on.

Other than that, I loved how each one of them has their own tricks up their sleeves which made their actions quite unpredictable. They were clever and independent on their own, but they couldn’t act brashly because they could all come crashing down. They were all good at manipulating other people and each other.

Also, I can’t resist not sharing the first sentence of the book:

“There should be more blood.”

The moment I read that, I got the feeling that this would be a gripping read. Besides, the promise of having a similar vibe to the hit TV show How to Get Away with Murder delivered, in retrospect. (Well, at least the part where a bunch of students killed someone.) Although I have to say, the means of killing the teacher in the book was a bit underwhelming for me. They could have done with something a bit more gruesome for the drama or maybe that’s just my evil side talking. And lastly, I would just like to say that however forced and instant the romance in this book was, I truly believe that it wasn’t completely unnecessary. 

Honestly, I had a hard time rating this book. I changed my star rating on Goodreads, like, three times, debating whether it was a 3- or 4-star read. But in the end, I really think this one deserves its 4 stars. This book is jam-packed with secrets, lies and scandals (see what I did there?) that indeed made it such an enthralling story. I recommend this one if you’re looking for a quick thrilling read.

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Book Review: My Whole Truth by Mischa Thrace

36330412Book Title: My Whole Truth
Author: Mischa Thrace
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publication Date: October 2nd 2018
Genres: LGBT, Mystery, Young Adult
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Seventeen-year-old Seelie Stanton never wanted to kill someone. She never wanted to be invisible in her own family, never wanted to crush on her best friend Alyssa, and she definitely never wanted to know how effectively a mallet could destroy someone’s head.

But the universe doesn’t care what she wants. Shane Mayfield doesn’t care what Seelie wants either. When the former high school basketball star attacks her, she has no choice but to defend herself. She saved her own life, but she can’t bring herself to talk about what happened that night. Not all of it. Not even when she’s arrested for murder.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

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Book Title: Pivot Point
Author: Kasie West
Series: Pivot Point #1
Publication Date: February 12th 2013
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, YA
Age Range: 13+ years old
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier…

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through… and who she can’t live without.


MY THOUGHTS

THIS BOOK YOU GUYS!!! Definitely a new favorite of mine. Forgive me, I did not put any negative points about the book in this review because I literally can not think of a single one. Now let’s get on to what I loved about this book and hope that I don’t run out of adjectives other than “sooooo good”.

I’m usually a character-driven reader. I bet you’re sick of hearing that if you read my other reviews (or if I comment that a lot on yours). Addie, the main character, is very likable. She loves books, rarely lies to her parents, and her retorts are always hilarious. As if that isn’t enough, her friendship with Laila is so amazing to read about. I absolutely love their personalities and I just can’t get enough of their banter! They can talk about taxes and I would still read it.

But aside from the awesome characters, the book itself is so unique and just mind-blowingly stunning because a) It’s so funny to read about the times when the “Paranormals” can’t work out how to turn a radio on or how to unlock a door or how to close the blinds, b) The romance is just perfect. The skin around my nails are red and raw from me gnawing on it (disgusting habit, I know but don’t worry, I’m working on it) because the story is getting soooo good and thrilling.

I seriously still cannot believe I finished this in one sitting. I rarely do that considering how slow of a reader I am. But this is just so gripping, I could not put it down. It kept me guessing and it kept me wanting more. When I finished reading, I literally said “wow” out loud—probably too loud as I almost woke up my little sister sleeping next to me. Yes, I did read until 1:00 in the morning. No, don’t judge me because I know you do it too.

I 101% recommend you read this one. After having read this, I fell in a reading slump but it was definitely worth it. Pivot Point is just the second book I’ve read from this author but I can assure you that this won’t be my last. Kasie West is now included in my list of favorite and go-to authors.

All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads.

Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

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Book Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #1
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: April 8th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance, YA
Age Range: 12-17 years old
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him–and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.


MY THOUGHTS

I was a bit hesitant to pick this up when I did because I wasn’t really in the mood for being bombarded with new terms and whatever as I’m entering a new world reading a new series. But the cover made me think: Surely it would be a pleasant and light because look at that cover! And I was right, it is a humorous and fun read. I wasn’t aware that I was laughing so much until my sister told me to stop being an idiot.

I was surprised when I found myself liking the main character, Harper Price. I never thought I would admire a character who loves prom and frets about lip gloss. I mean, our personalities just seem a bit different from each other. But then again, she is really hilarious and bad-ass in her own way. I guess her wit and charisma won me over.

Let me just say this: How David Stark calls Harper “Pres” just brings back memories for me. Okay, story time! When I was in 7th grade, I had a crush on our class president. I call him “Pres” and it kinda became our thing. *sigh* Good times. But you don’t care about that, do you? Moving on…

The love element in this is totally what I’m looking for in the romance genre, not too rushed but not too slow. It’s not insta-love, but it’s not where-is-the-fucking-romance either. Also, it’s more on the subtle side, like it didn’t majorly affect the whole plot. Their relationship gave me butterflies in my stomach; they’re just so cute!

The ending was really unpredictable, I feel like. I laughed so much for some reason, one being I was certainly caught off guard. I don’t know, something about it just seems so damn amusing to me.

I would’ve liked a bit more action, if you ask me, but it was still a great story. This book is like an introduction to this new world that Harper’s been thrown into, so I’ll let the lack of action slide.

Although I tried not to (because I kept hearing people say that they didn’t really like the sequel), I have quite high expectations for the next books. I just really hope that my expectations won’t come biting me in the ass in the future.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, yes, yes, yes. Personally, I would buy it for the cover alone but the story and the characters are truly amazing. I suggest you try this out if you haven’t yet and if you have, go read it again!

All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads.

Book Review: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

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Book Title: Prom
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: March 3rd 2005
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Humor, Realistic Fiction, Romance, YA
Age Range: 12-17 years old
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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High school senior Ashley Hannigan doesn’t care about prom, but she’s the exception. It’s pretty much the only good thing at her urban Philadelphia high school, and everyone plans to make the most of it-especially Ash’s best friend, Natalia, who’s the head of the committee. Then the faculty advisor is busted for taking the prom money, and Ash suddenly finds herself roped into putting together a gala dance out of absolutely nada. But she has help-from her large and loving (if exasperating!) family, from Nat’s eccentric grandmother, from her fellow classmates. And in putting the prom together, Ash learns that she has choices about her life after high school. Prom has everything that award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for-humor, poignancy, teen readers’ tough issues dealt with head-on, and a voice teen readers will recognize as their own.


MY THOUGHTS

I should have finished this sooner considering that the book is only 215 pages long and I might have done a bit—okay, a lot of skimming. But I read this in more or less 5 days because I just kept putting it off. And most of the time, I felt like giving up and I wanted to stop reading the book altogether. However, I don’t think books deserve to be unfinished and forgotten so, like the masochist I am, I kept reading and it was so painful (and such a waste of time.)

Let me tell you something that I don’t normally feel when reading: I actually think everyone is decent EXCEPT for the main character. Ashley Hannigan is a whiny little bitch. All she does is whine, whine, and guess what, whine some more! She acts like the prom will ruin her life. Grow up, Ashley! Although she did have a bit of character development towards the end. By “character development” I mean she becomes less obnoxious and actually takes a bit of responsibility.

Another thing about Ashley is how blunt she is. SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read the little quote below if you’re interested in reading the book.

I laid down my head on my books. I was thinking I should ask my aunt Linny to light a candle at St. Luke’s for the prom. She should light one for me, too, because I was sure I had a brain tumor. A tumor would explain why I agreed to help Nat. It might actually make life easier.

There were only a couple of things that kept me from rating this as a 1-star read. First is their preparations for prom, there’s that. I like to see if they can pull off their prom with such a short amount of time available. Also, I love the little (kind of) adrenaline feeling I get when reading their hustle and tussle just to make their prom decent with such limited resources. The other thing is Grandma Shulmensky. Oh that wonderful woman! She has got to be my favorite character. Grandma Shulmensky just cracks me up every time; she is so fun!

Would I recommend it?

No. Simply, no.

All book cover photos and summaries are taken from Goodreads.