E-Arc Review: With You All the Way by Cynthia Hand

Title: With You All the Way
Author: Cynthia Hand
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: March 30th, 2021
Publisher: HarperTeen

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

“Ada’s life is a mess. She just caught her boyfriend cheating on her after a humiliating attempt at losing her virginity, and she’s had it up to here with her gorgeous older sister’s unsolicited advice.

But things really hit the fan during a family vacation in Hawaii, where Ada discovers her own mother is having an affair. Apparently, everyone is falling into bed with people they shouldn’t. Everyone except Ada. But when Ada decides she’s going to stop trying and start doing—sex, that is—her best laid plan overlooks an inconvenient truth:

Feelings, romantic or not, always get in the way.” (Goodreads)

After reading the blurb for this book, I felt like it was going to be an impactful read about a family and let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. This book is so relatable and realistic, even as an adult.

Ada’s a character I saw myself as when I was teen. She is new in the relationship department and things just aren’t going well. Everything that happens to her is realistic and honestly has happened to me but just a bit different. It was so easy to understand how she felt.

At that age (the MC is sixteen), we want to make adult decisions and we also think that we are the only one with a messed up life. I mean, I still have days where I feel like I am the only one just living at the bottom of a dark hole but when it comes to adult decisions, I just don’t want to make them, ha. It’s easy to look at your siblings and parents and think everything is going right for them because we don’t know any better. I loved that this book showed us both sides of the coin. In a family there will be fighting among siblings and even parents, sometimes it both and this book doesn’t shy away from that. What matters is getting it all out, being understanding, and realizing that life for anyone isn’t perfect.

This book does talk about sex a lot but I liked the way the author talked about it when it came to the characters. There are really great messages included.

Even though I figured certain things out, it didn’t stop me from loving this book. I loved the characters and the plot.

Honestly, I am not even sure if this review makes sense or if I have even given this book justice. All I can say is that I loved it and hopefully you will too.

Audiobook Review: Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

Title: Broken Things
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: YA Contemporary / Mystery / Suspense
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2018
Publisher: HarperCollins

It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods.

Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly.

The only thing is: they didn’t do it.

On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as the lines begin to blur between past and present and fiction and reality, the girls must confront what really happened in the woods all those years ago—no matter how monstrous.” (Goodreads)

I am always looking for a good YA suspense/thriller to read and this one happened to catch my eye last year. I did buy a copy from Book Outlet but hadn’t got around to it until now but as an audiobook since I am in the middle of a couple ebooks. Although the blurb looks promising, I felt that the the way it was labeled was inaccurate and more about the relationships between the three girls than the mystery and suspense.

This book is told in past and present chapters along with two point-of-views: Brynn and Mia. This is honestly a lot to have in one book and it could be confusing at times if I was paying attention to who it was speaking. At least there is a bit of a different for both voices when it comes to the audiobook. There are also bits read from a book that the girls were obsessed, mostly Summer, and the book is really the driving force for it all so it does weave everything together. I did like that.

When it comes to the mystery and suspense of it all, I was really disappointed. There is more about the relationship of the girls. The two girls do come together to try and solve it but it just felt so minimal. The ending for it all felt very rushed and left me with questions that went unanswered. I didn’t guess the killer but at the same time I wasn’t surprised by it either and felt nothing. It just didn’t make a lot of sense.

Overall, it was okay. I think most of my problems are based on that I thought it would be more thrilling but it just wasn’t.

Arc Review: Fadeaway by E.B. Vickers

Title: Fadeaway
Author: E.B. Vickers
Genre: YA Contemporary / Mystery / Suspense
Publication Date: March 23rd, 2021
Publisher: Knopf

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

When a high school basketball star goes missing, a town’s secrets are exposed in this edge-of-your seat, addictive read.

At 8:53 pm, thousands of people watched as Jake Foster secured the state title for his basketball team with his signature fadeaway. But by the next morning, he’s disappeared without a trace. Nobody has any idea where he is: not his best friend who knows him better than anyone else, not his ex-girlfriend who may still have feelings for him, not even his little brother who never expected Jake to abandon him. Rumors abound regarding Jake’s whereabouts. Was he abducted? Did he run away to try to take his game to the next level? Or is it something else, something darker—something they should have seen coming?

Told from the points of view of those closest to Jake, this gripping, suspenseful novel reminds us that the people we think we know best are sometimes hiding the most painful secrets.” (Goodreads)

This book was such a pleasant surprise!

Before going into this one, I didn’t know much about it besides what was described in the blurb. It didn’t take long for me to get sucked into it and not want to put it down. If it wasn’t for sleep and starting it late, I would have finished it in one day.

One thing I enjoy, especially when it comes to mystery/suspense books, is when they use different formats. This one has police interrogations of those close to the missing person, Jake, as well as journal entries from him and his brother. I also liked the use of multiple point-of-views and past/present timelines. It helps to build the relationships of these people with Jake as well as paint the bigger picture of who he is as a person. If that isn’t enough, there is also a point-of-view from Jake from after he goes missing! That one brought on a lot of plot twists and had me so intrigued!

Even though the above may seem like a lot for one novel, this author does a great job of it not bogging down the plot. It’s written well and it’s easy to understand the emotions of all of those involved.

This may have a lot of mystery/suspense to it but I wasn’t expecting it to talk about a tough subject like addiction. It talks about how addiction can impact the person, the family, and those around them in their community. The author spins it into a great story with a lot of meaning and I thought it was well done. It’s definitely a topic that needs to be talked more about.

Overall, this was really enjoyable! My review isn’t too long since with these kinds of books its better to go in surprised.

E-Arc Review: The Castle School: For Troubled Girls by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Title: The Castle School: For Troubled Girls
Author: Alyssa Sheinmel
Genre: YA Contemporary / Mental Health
Publication Date: March 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

“When Moira Dreyfuss’s parents announce that they’re sending her to an all-girls boarding school deep in the Maine woods, Moira isn’t fooled. She knows her parents are punishing her; she’s been too much trouble since her best friend, Nathan, died―and for a while before that. At the Castle School, isolated from the rest of the world, Moira will be expected to pour her heart out to the odd headmaster, Dr. Prince. But she isn’t interested in getting over Nathan’s death or befriending her fellow students.

On her first night there, Moira hears distant music. On her second, she discovers the lock on her window is broken. On her third, she and her roommate venture outside…and learn that they’re not so isolated after all. There’s another, very different, Castle School nearby―this one filled with boys whose parents sent them away, too.

Moira is convinced that the Castle Schools and the doctors who run them are hiding something. But exploring the schools will force Moira to confront her overwhelming grief―and the real reasons her parents sent her away.” (Goodreads)

I have read two other books by this author and although one was just an okay read, I figured why not read a third book.

This book was different than I expected as on netgalley it says “dark psychological contemporary”. To me, there was nothing dark or psychological about it. I think that is where part of my disconnect was with this story.

When it came to the characters, Moira is the MC and has the biggest point-of-view. The plot is mostly about her journey through grief from the loss of her best friend. It was interesting to read about her from start to finish. She goes through a lot of development along the way even if she questions the headmaster’s motives. I wouldn’t say I fully connected to her but it didn’t lessen my likeness for her.

There are other chapters about each girl who attends this school and covers how each one got there. I thought this was a nice touch since when they are first introduced we are told about what brought them there. Each one is dealing with a different issue. I like this added bonus but I also wish we got more from them throughout the plot. A few of the girls are more major than others but it just wasn’t enough for me.

One thing I like about this author is that she talks about mental health. In this day and age our mental health is more important than ever. I like seeing it discussed in YA books and I hope there will be a lot more books about it.

Overall, it was a good book. I didn’t fully connect to the story but I appreciate what the author wrote about and can see many enjoying this book.

CW: Self-Harm

E-Arc Review: Playing Cupid by S.C. Alban

Title: Playing Cupid
Author: S.C. Alban
Genre: YA Contemporary / Retelling / Romance
Publication Date: February 23rd, 2021
Publisher: The Parliament House Press

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

“For the past five years, seventeen-year-old Megan Cooper has built a wall around her heart with little room to experience true feelings. However, her entire world shifts the moment she hits Cupid with her car driving home from finals. With his shooting arm significantly injured, she has no choice but to take his place.

Now, as Megan races to find Cupid’s final three love matches in order to meet his quota by the start of the new year, she comes face to face with the very emotions she’s been pushing away for so long.

Caught between what her head is saying and what her heart longs for, Megan must face old wounds, find forgiveness, and track down the perfect match for the one boy she can’t stand.” (Goodreads)

The cover for this book is one of my favorites from the year so far but sadly I didn’t entirely like the book.

The one thing I enjoyed about it was the retelling of Cupid. It was fun and unique! He also is quite sarcastic and definitely makes Megan’s life interesting. I really enjoyed the interactions they had together. Also, it ends with an epilogue explaining things that happened in the plot a bit more and I was not expecting that!

Since this is a book that includes Cupid I figured that the main character, Megan, would end up learning a thing or two about love. The thing is, the romance just wasn’t believable for me. Megan and the love interest didn’t have many interactions and I guess that’s why Cupid comes in. It also mostly happens well over 50% into the book and that makes for the ending to feel rushed.

Another thing I didn’t like was how quickly important topics were glossed over. Megan has issues with her dad ever since her mother died of cancer and when they don’t have many scenes together it’s hard to believe that they would make up so quickly. The love interest also deals with family issues and again, it was rushed through so it felt like what was the point in bringing it up besides for Megan and him to have a connection.

Overall, I liked the parts with Cupid but everything else was quickly glossed over and and the ending was too rushed for my taste. I do think others will like this one but sadly it wasn’t for me.

Book Review: Pudge and Prejudice by A.K. Pittman

Title: Pudge and Prejudice
Author: A.K. Pittman
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance / Retelling
Publication Date: January 12th, 2021
Publisher: Wander

Thank you to the publisher and Goodreads for hosting a giveaway in which I won a free copy!

Pudge and Prejudice is an homage to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, transported to the fictitious Northfield Texas High School in the year 1984. After moving to Northfield with her family, Elyse Nebbit faces the challenge of finding her place in a new school, one dominated by social status and Friday night football. When Elyse’s effortlessly beautiful older sister Jayne starts dating Charlie Bingley, the captain of the school football team, Elyse finds herself curious about Charlie’s popular and brooding best friend, Billy Fitz. Elyse’s body insecurities eventually complicate her relationship with Billy, leaving Jayne and Elyse’s exceedingly blunt friend, Lottie, to step in and help Elyse accept herself for who she is, pant size and all.” (Goodreads)

I was excited to see that I had won a kindle copy from a Goodreads giveaway and it took me no time to start this one.

Pride and Prejudice is a classic and has a huge following. There have been many retellings for it over the years. I just read one last year. Although I have yet to find one that I love as much as the original, this was one had its cute moments and I liked how the author did add her own uniqueness to the classic.

Elyse is a plus-size girl and although she has mostly come to accept it, others in her family and even those she encounters have not. Her mother tells her to go on a diet especially because she is going to be starting a new school since her father got a transfer from his job to a different state.

Although it wasn’t my mother who told me to lose weight as I was heavier side growing up, I can relate to Elyse when it comes to family members just not minding their own. It’s already bad enough being a teen and dealing with it all. You don’t need someone else adding to the mess, especially a family member.

The author did stay true when it came to the personalities of the original characters. It was interesting to see all of the characters come to life in the 80’s. Billy Fitz is a cool guy!

The plot twists in the book were pretty good but a couple of them felt like too much. I know that she was doing her best to make Wickham the bad guy but Lydia was definitely worse and didn’t deserve the good deed from Fitz. That scene just didn’t work for me.

Other than that, it was a good read and I liked seeing the relationship develop between Billy and Elyse. If you enjoy retellings of Pride and Prejudice, then check this one out.

Book Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Title: Emmy & Oliver
Author: Robin Benway
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: June 23rd, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.” (Goodreads)

I wanted to read this one because of Emer @ A Little Haze Book Blog. Althought she didn’t love it, it still piqued my interest and since I got it for under $3 I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try! Sadly, it sat on my shelf unread for a while 😂, but it has finally been read!

The book begins with a flashback from the past and has them every once and awhile throughout. They show interactions between Emmy and Oliver when they were young and before everything became a mess. I liked reading about these little moments because usually they were sweet and innocent because as children we don’t understand much and at least they had eachother.

I have never read a plot where one of the characters is kidnapped by their own parent. This happens to Oliver when he is seven and it completely shakes the neighborhood and life changes for those like his mother and even Emmy who was the same age, as well as her parents. This is a serious topic and one that happens in our own world as we get notifications about Amber Alerts and see different articles about children and one of their parents disappearing without a trace. It’s really scary to think about it. I will say that this book does have a happy ending, but unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way.

When it comes to life without Oliver for Emmy, it’s hard but she learns to deal with it as time goes on. Her parents are strict and want to keep her in a secluded bubble. It’s easy to understand both sides for me because as a parent I want only the best for my child. I want her to flourish but I also want to keep her safe from the evils of the world. It’s hard to not overstep that, but at least she is four at the moment. I also understand Emmy because I grew up in a household like that. It wasn’t for a specific reason that my parents were strict but it sucked at the time and now as an adult I do appreciate their concerns more. It’s hard to find that balance and it’s hard being a teen. Emmy just wants freedom and wants to be able to decide her future.

Once Oliver comes back, everything changes. The author does a great job of outlining his struggles as well as for all of those around him. It’s hard to be put back into a world you don’t know and expect for it to all be normal. It isn’t easy for him or his family but Emmy does try to be a good friend and we get to see their bond grow.

There is a bit of romance when it comes to Emmy & Oliver but it doesn’t take over the plot and I really liked that. It also isn’t instant and the development was perfect!

The pacing of the book is a bit on the slower side but honestly, I didn’t mind. I liked reading about these characters and their struggles.

Another thing I liked was that the plot wasn’t filled with unnecessary drama like some YA books tend to have. There was a bit of drama towards the end but it all made sense for the plot and wasn’t overly dramatic.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and will be checking out other books by this author.

E-Arc Review: The Obsession by Jesse Q Sutanto

Title: The Obsession
Author: Jesse Q Sutanto
Genre: YA Thriller / Contemporary
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

A classic sort of love story… except somebody might wind up dead.

Nobody knows Delilah like Logan does. Nobody. He makes sure of it by learning everything he can through her social media and watching her through a hidden camera he has trained on her house. Some might call him a stalker. Logan prefers to be called “romantic.”

But after Logan sees Delilah killing her abusive stepfather, he realizes there’s still more about her to discover. His sweet, perfect Delilah isn’t so perfect after all.

Delilah knows she should feel guilty, but all she feels is free. She’s so over the men in her life controlling her. Except Logan saw what she did, and he won’t let her forget it.

Delilah is done being the victim. And she refuses to be a character in Logan’s twisted fantasy. If Logan won’t let her go… she’ll make him.” (Goodreads)

What even?!

To be honest, I am not sure how to put my emotions into words. I thought I knew what this book would entail before reading but I was completely wrong and surprised by everything! It is just mind boggling.

I went into the book thinking I would read a bit here and there, finishing it in a couple of days. I finished it in one sitting. It was so easy to get pulled into this plot and the characters, especially because there are dual point-of-views. Yes, the stalker himself gets his own. I haven’t read a book like this before but I know of a couple that are out there. I did like it though!

Delilah has had a rough year. Life at home isn’t the easiest and then one day her luck finally changes, at least she thinks it did. She tries her best to get through it all but sometimes, enough is enough. It was interesting to see how the author developed her and where she went with it, I wasn’t expecting. I never disliked her and it was easy to connect with her character but on some level I was questioning her actions. Although, when people are backed against a wall they must find a way to survive.

Before we are introduced to Delilah, Logan enters he scene. He also hasn’t had a great last year but for different reasons. We learn about what makes him tick and what his mother has caught him doing before Delilah enters his life. It’s weird to read about a guy like him and at times it can definitely be too much for my soul but even then, I just couldn’t help but feel bad at times for him. I know that seems crazy but I don’t know! I guess he got into my brain too.

There were quite a few plot twists and I just weren’t expecting them. They seem to come out of nowhere but make the plot that much more intriguing. The ending really takes the cake though! It is was of the most intense endings I have ever read and although it seemed rushed and open-ended, I’m happy to see on Goodreads that there will be a second book. *fingers crossed* I would seriously take it now!

Overall, this was some book and I know it’s one that I won’t easily forget!

CW: Stalking, Abuse (both physical, verbal, and drug related), Talk of Suicide, Mental Health

E-Arc Review: Payback (Vale Hall #3) by Kristen Simmons

Title: Payback (Vale Hall #3)
Author: Kristen Simmons
Genre: YA Contemporary / Mystery
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2021
Publisher:  Tor Teen

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

The unpredictable truth will be revealed in Payback, the stunning conclusion to Kristen Simmons’ Edgar-nominated thriller series that started with The Deceivers

Brynn Hilder has conned a lot of people. From the spoiled rich kids of Sikawa City to her mom’s loser ex-boyfriend, from a motorcycle gang to a senator’s son. If there was money to be gained, or a secret to uncover, she figured out how to get it done. And thanks to Vale Hall and its director, Dr. David Odin, she’s found a family of hustlers just like her.

Together, Brynn and her friends have overcome doubt, deceit, and betrayal to unearth the truth–a truth even a group of professional scammers couldn’t have predicted.

And now they must tackle the biggest con artist of them all: the man who brought them all together.” (Goodreads)

It’s always sad to see a series end that I enjoyed reading. It’s been a wild journey of manipulation, secrets, and a whole lot of conning to get to this ending but it was definitely worth it! I think this series is quite underrated and if you haven’t heard of it and want a review, you can find them on goodreads or on my blog. (Book #1 and Book #2)

The main character, Brynn, has been through a lot in these books and she definitely put all of the skills she has learned to good use in this last book for the biggest con ever. There is a lot I admire about her. One of those things being her strive to not give up even when it seems like all hope is lost. She puts her game face on and keeps going no matter the danger she puts herself. Even though she may have not liked everyone she went to school with from the beginning, she still wants what is best for them all. I loved reading about her growth.

There is one major relationship in this series and then others that are minimal but still cute. When it comes to the relationship of Caleb and Brynn (the major one), I always enjoyed the page time they had. It hadn’t always been easy for them but they made it work even if the worst of conditions. I also liked how much Caleb trusted her even when it seemed like she had changed her mind on things. He is pretty great.

When it came to the plot, as with the other two books there are plot twists that I didn’t see coming. One was a real big surprise but I’m really happy about it. I think it added to all of the mystery and took it up one more notch. I don’t feel like the ending was rushed and was satisfying to see the biggest con artist get what he deserved! Plus, there is an epilogue and I liked seeing how everything went a year later.

Overall, it was enjoyable! I’ll be sad to see these characters go but am looking forward to whatever this author writes next.

Book Review: Coming Up for Air by Nicole Tyndall

Title: Coming Up for Air
Author: Nicole Tyndall
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: December 15th, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press

For fans of Nina LaCour and The Spectacular Now, a powerful coming-of-age story about a girl with creative aspirations and the boy who charms his way into her life, centering on themes of addiction, loss, and the tumultuousness of first love–and how to find strength when everything falls apart.

Ever since her mom’s cancer scare, Hadley hasn’t been one for taking risks. And after seeing her sister go through one too many heartbreaks, she definitely has no interest in dating. Hadley just wants to keep her head down and enjoy the rest of high school with her friends, focusing on her photography and getting into the art school of her dreams.

Then enters Braden, star of the swim team and precisely the kind of person Hadley avoids, all bravado and charm and impulsivity. From their first moment together, they are perfect sparring partners, equally matched. And it’s intoxicating. Braden sees her, really sees her, and Hadley decides it might be time to break all her rules.

Braden shows Hadley how to live again, and soon Hadley is happier than she’ll ever admit out loud. But that’s before her family is faced with devastating news, and Braden starts hiding a growing, dark secret. As it threatens to shatter everything they’ve built, Hadley must confront her own actions and determine if she has the strength to walk away.” (Goodreads)

I’ve been wanting to read this one since seeing the cover. It’s gorgeous! I also liked the sound of the book as well. I will say that in the beginning it did take a bit to get into not because of the plot or characters, but the writing style was just off for me. I’m glad I stuck through it though.

The book is told in past and present chapters. It helps to understand the overall plot which I really enjoyed. Some of the chapters would end on a cliffhanger and switch to the other timeline so then I kept wanting to read, ha.

Hadley has a great group of friends, does photography, and gets good grades in school. She recently dealt with a break up until she meets Braden in a very awkward way. It wasn’t in her plans, but sometimes plans change.

I really did like her character. She finds herself in a relationship that she believes will go right with the type of boy she didn’t expect to like. Not only that, but her mom has been diagnosed with cancer and Braden is hiding a big secret that involves addiction. It’s a lot for a teen to go through. All of her emotions and even actions were something I think anyone would do for the people they care about.

The romance is fast but also filled with uncertainty from Hadley due to her recent breakup. She does end up throwing caution to the wind but I don’t blame her. Sometimes we are just blinded by love. There ends up being a lot of issues between them due to addiction and it does play a big role in the book. I think it’s good that things like this are being discussed in books, especially for teens, because it helps to put a spotlight on it.


Although I thought they would work it out after he went through rehab. Hadley decided she couldn’t be with him anymore before that. I can understand having to let go. I’m not sure how I feel about her and her friend Ty. It was hinted in the beginning and I don’t mind him as a character but we also didn’t get too much of them hanging together either unless they were with their other two friends.

*End of Spoilers*

Overall, I did enjoy this book. My review is a bit short because I think it’s better to go in knowing as little as possible. It’s filled with love, heartache, and tougher subjects but it’s definitely one worth reading.

CW: Addiction, Cancer

This is how I picture Braden at the end of the book: