The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu ~ @NetGalley #bookreview

March 27, 2017 



Title: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

My Rating




Synopsis


Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.

But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?

It's true. Ask ANYBODY.


Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.



The Truth About Alice is a quick read, and I was able to read it in one night. It was well written but also painful because I could see the direction the story was headed, and it wasn't going to be a good place. My heart went out to Alice right away.

Told from the POV of four different (yet stereotyped)characters, The Truth About Alice is a brutal and realistic look into how horrible teens can be to one another. The way Alice was bullied was heartbreaking, and by the way, she received no solace at home because her life there wasn't much better with a mom who's checked out mentally and physically.

I fully expected to hate the popular girl who threw the party, Elaine, the most, but I ended up hating Kelsie, Alice's ex-BFF, more. I felt the rumor Kelsie began spreading about Alice was way over the top, and while she did it out of sheer desperation, I still wanted to wring her neck. I mean, wow. That was messed up.

The friendship that blossomed between Kurt, stereotyped as a social misfit, and Alice was a breath of fresh air. I think Kurt was my favorite character because he was there for Alice when no one else was. I knew what he was thinking and that his motives were pure since I got his POV.  

Josh, the survivor of the car wreck, was just kind of blah for me. I thought the secret he was hiding was interesting, and I caught on to it right away; however, he didn't have much of his own personality.  

My mind is blown by how simultaneously amazing and scary one lie can snowball into so many and ruin so many people's lives in the process. Just when the rumors seemed like they couldn't get any worse, they did.

I couldn't put The Truth About Alice down. The deeper I became immersed in the story, the more information I was given which allowed me to start piecing together what really happened that night. There were some surprises along the way, and once I finished reading, I took some time to digest it all.

I did take off a star for the characters being entrenched in stereotypes. Otherwise, I do recommend The Truth About Alice, especially to teens who can likely (and unfortunately) relate to the bullying and rumor spreading that goes on in this book.

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To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough ~ #bookreview

~Jennifer~ | 9:00 AM | | Please comment!

January 31, 2017



Title: To Catch a Killer
Author: Sheryl Scarborough
Publication date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Special Note: I received a preview of the first 14 chapters and will rate the book once I've read it in its entirety. :)






Synopsis


Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case—which remains unsolved—fascinated a nation. Her father's identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother's best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past.

Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother's killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she's secretly doing on her own.


Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she's close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it's too late. 


 

I received a 14 chapter preview of To Catch a Killer from Netgalley via the publisher, and I can't wait to read the entire novel. I'm dying to finish Erin's story and am definitely going to buy a copy when it's published, which isn't too long from now. *flails*

The length of the preview was more than I expected, and I kept an eye on how much was left so when it ended I wouldn't be too jarred and traumatized. ;) I'm invested in this story and the characters, and am anxiously waiting to find out how everything is going to play out.


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The Other Inheritance by Rebecca Jaycox ~ #bookreview

~Jennifer~ | 1:36 PM | | Please comment!

January 30, 2017



Title: The Other Inheritance
Series: The Inheritance #1 
Author: Rebecca Jaycox
Publication date: February 1, 2017 (first pub Nov. 2014)
Publisher: Aelurus Publishing
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

My Rating:  









Synopsis


One girl. Two worlds. Hunted in both.

Seventeen-year-old Reggie Lang is used to dealing with her alcoholic mother and fighting school bullies, but fate has thrown her a curve ball.

A biker dude shows up in her dreams, babbling about magic and a world called the Other. As the incidents keep piling up—like bringing a frog back to life in class—Reggie has to confront the mounting evidence that she’s not the normal girl she craves to be.

Reggie's life is changing, and she has no idea why. Or whether she should believe the man in her dreams, who claims she's in danger and that only he can keep her safe. But if there's one thing Reggie will learn, nowhere is safe.
 



The Other Inheritance delves into the YA world of fantasy and sci fi with a plot that brings you into the story quickly. One problem I had was that the pacing felt way too fast. I needed time to get to know the characters and what was going on before the action took over.  

I didn't hate this book but didn't love it either. As a main character, 17-year-old Reggie is ok - she's tough as well as vulnerable, yet doesn't speak or think like someone her age, which I'll explain in a minute. She was also too trusting of strangers and was okay almost immediately when she found out there's another realm called "the Other." That would take some time for me to digest, personally.  

I'm no prude. Sexuality and cussing in YA books don't bother me, but in this case they did. Reggie cusses every other sentence, and she can be completely crass. I cringed when she called another girl's breasts "tits" in order to insult her. Granted the girl was a bully; however, I just don't see a young teenage girl saying that to someone to insult them. I also know teenagers cuss, but every other sentence?

Also for a girl who recently lost her virginity, Reggie sure is comfortable talking about it openly, and sometimes sex is mentioned by other characters in a crude manner. I found it unbelievable and unnecessary. Reggie only just met the guy.

The action scenes were well written, and I liked the world building. While I wasn't connected to Reggie, I ended up being connected to one of the characters she meets in the Other.

The ending of The Other Inheritance was abrupt even for being the first book in a series. I was shocked when it ended and felt like it almost ended in the middle of a sentence. I am planning on reading the next novel to see if the loose ends from this novel will be tied up and to find out what happens next.     

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick ~ #bookreview

~Jennifer~ | 4:51 PM | | Please comment!

Title: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep?
Series: Blade Runner #1
Author: Philip K. Dick
Published: 1968
Source: Borrowed from library

My Rating:




https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7082.Do_Androids_Dream_of_Electric_Sheep_?ac=1&from_search=true


http://booklikes.com/do-androids-dream-of-electric-sheep-philip-k-dick-robert-zelazny/book,107659


Synopsis


By 2021, the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remain covet any living creature, and for people who can't afford one, companies have built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. They've even built humans.

Emigrées to Mars receive androids so sophisticated it's impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government bans them from Earth, but when androids don't want to be identified, they just blend in. Rick Deckard is an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job is to find rogue androids and retire them, but cornered, androids tend to fight back--with deadly results.




I can't remember where I heard about Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? as I've never seen Blade Runner but am so glad I read this book. One of my favorite things about science fiction is that it delves into an exploration of human existence and what can go right as well as what can go horribly wrong. It gives me a lot to think about, and I really like that.

In a post apocalyptic San Francisco, a man named Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter assigned to kill, or retire, androids ("andys"). As you'd imagine, it's a depressing world where most of humanity is either dead, sick from the nuclear fallout or have emigrated to Mars. Animals have pretty much died out except for a select few which are super expensive to own. To buy one you have to take out a loan as though you're buying a car.

There were really cool twists I didn't see coming. Who's an android and who isn't? Rick has to give a test that's designed to tell an android from a human, but how effective is it? I thought about how hated the androids are and how afraid humans were of losing what's left of humanity. I think that's always been a very real fear as long as humans have been around.  
   
Sometimes there were a few spots where I wish things had been explained a little more clearly, such as Mercerism, which was like a religion. It probably just went over my head, haha.

Ack, I wish I could explain how I felt and what I thought after finishing this novel. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is written so well, and my review can't do it justice. If only you guys could see into my brain for just a quick minute! My thoughts are so complicated, I can't even. Can't. Even. 

Read this book! It's especially fitting with the struggles the world is now facing and will be facing in the future. 
    
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You (You #1) & Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline Kepnes ~ #bookreview

Book One



Title: You
Series: You #1
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Published: 9/30/14
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books                          
Source: Borrowed from library


My Rating:









Synopsis 

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.





I'm going through a thriller phase right now. Over the last couple of months, I've read four or five of them and have enjoyed them all. After reading a review for Behind Closed Doors, I happened to see a comment on the review recommending this series, and that's all it took. I was sold.

You was edgy, scary and fun. I love unreliable narrators, and it was pretty clear from the beginning I couldn't trust Joe's version of events. He's a stalker, for one, and two, he has a distorted view of what a relationship should be like.

I'm still trying to figure out how he finagled his way into transforming himself from Beck's stalker to her boyfriend. Obviously she didn't realize she was being stalked, but still. He's just so smooth that one would never suspect there's a dark and dangerous side to him. He's well read and intelligent, and on the outside appeared to be "normal."  

For a few weeks everything's peachy, but I knew Joe and Beck were heading off the rails at any moment. He was too freaky about her, and really, I didn't think there was anything special about her. She was quite annoying as a matter of fact - someone I'd never want to hang out with.

As unhealthy and unattainable his views on relationships are, Beck was never going to give him what he wanted. I saw that from the get-go. She had issues herself, like a complete lack of self respect and the attention span of a gnat. 

You had plenty of surprises and held my attention throughout, and as weird as this sounds, I actually wanted more of Joe. He weaves an interesting tale and seeing the inner workings of his mind is disturbing but also like a train wreck - you can't look away.     

Book Two




Title: Hidden Bodies
Series: You #2
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Published: 2/23/16
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio  
Narrated by: Santino Fontana
Length: 13 hours, 3 minutes                                          
Source: Borrowed from library



My Rating:




 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23492288-hidden-bodies


http://booklikes.com/hidden-bodies-caroline-kepnes/book,13038083


Synopsis


Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice...  
 

*Audiobook edition review*

Hmmm...Hidden Bodies didn't live up to its predecessor, You. I think part of the problem was the emphasis on secondary characters who weren't interesting. Joe seemed tamer this time around, and there were parts I had to listen to repeatedly because I kept zoning out leaving me to wonder if I missed something important. But nope, I never did. Those moments were mostly in the beginning when Joe meets his new girlfriend Love's family. There just wasn't enough of what made the first novel so likable for  me.

I listened to a huge chunk of Hidden Bodies in one day once I was in the middle of the story - I had to know what was going to happen! Another strange thing I encountered was some of the story depressed me, and I almost had to take a break from listening but didn't really want to stop. I became so wrapped up in it I had to remind myself I wasn't in the story, and that's likely because I spent 4 or 5 hours in a row listening to it.

Santino Fontana as the narrator was fantastic. His voice was exactly how I thought Joe would sound. I quite enjoyed his Californian accent for the local characters. There are parts of Hidden Bodies I'd listen to over again just because of his talented reading of this novel. So while the story didn't live up to the first novel, I would still recommend it because you need more Joe in your life like I did, haha! I really hope there's a third book and that it can capture the essence of the first novel!
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This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp ~ #bookreview

~Jennifer~ | 4:46 PM | | Please comment!


Title: This Is Where It Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Published: 1/5/16
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher via NetGalley for review


My Rating:



 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24529123-this-is-where-it-ends?ac=1&from_search=true


http://booklikes.com/this-is-where-it-ends-marieke-nijkamp/book,13231612




Synopsis


10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.


Once I finished reading This Is Where It Ends, I thought,  Man. I'm still collecting my thoughts on this one. So much so that I don't know how I want to rate it. o.o

And it was true. I had no idea how to rate it, so I took a few days to think about it. There were things I liked about it, but they weren't enough to leave me raving. Instead, the book ended up being lackluster for me.

This Is Where It Ends is told from multiple characters' POV, and you end up finding out the ways they're connected besides simply going to the same school, which I really liked. I also appreciated the diverse cast of characters. It was refreshing to read about people different from me. For instance, one of the characters has lupus, and I researched it because I couldn't remember exactly what it is. I ended up learning quite a bit from my searches, and that likely wouldn't have happened without this book. 

There were times when the story lagged. One of the character's POV was the least interesting to me because she was outside of the action, plus I wasn't able to connect with any of the characters. The backstory of the shooter and the shooter's motivation were too pat, too cut and dry. That to me was completely unrealistic. While most of us can't fathom what would drive someone to shoot people, the reasons are messy and complicated.

I can't completely recommend This Is Where It Ends. My reasons for liking some of it while not liking other parts may be what you want from a book. Or it may not be. But if you're looking for emotional depth, then this isn't a book where you'll find that unfortunately.  

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The Dogs by Allan Stratton ~ #bookreview

~Jennifer~ | 5:22 PM | | 2 Comments


Title: The Dogs
Author: Allan Stratton
Publication Date: 9/1/15 (originally published 1/28/15) 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire  
Source: Publisher via Netgalley for review

Rating:








Synopsis

Out of the corner of my eye, I catch something moving by the barn. 

When I look, it disappears. Wait. There it is again, at the cornfield. 

Some movement, some thing. 

Mom and I have been on the run for years. Every time he catches up with us, we move to a new place and start over. 

But this place is different. 

This place is full of secrets. And they won't leave me alone.



The Dogs was a super creepy read that I guarantee will spook you, especially if you read it at night. What I loved most about this book is how unsettled the story made me feel. I wasn't sure what was real and what was imagined, and I become positively giddy when an author achieves that.  

Cameron, the main character and narrator, has had a difficult time to say the least. Moving around all the time with a mom who's constantly on edge would be so hard. I empathized with him right away. How many times can a kid be expected to adjust to a new place with new people?

The Dogs is a well written book with a perfectly sized serving of the creep factor. What wasn't perfectly sized was the length of the novel. I think there was more story to tell but didn't get told and was skipped over. I wish Stratton had gone into more depth. I wanted more, which is a good thing.

The Dogs was a quick read, and while short, had a satisfying ending. No matter what time of year you choose to pick this book up, you're guaranteed to get the chills.  

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