Bite-Sized Reviews | Lying, Con Artists, & Missing Girls

Oh, look, Series II in “Mikaela Catches Up On Reviewing All The Books She Read In December” edition!

But, really, today I’m here to review three of my most anticipated releases in YA thrillers last year! Clearly, you were all waiting for my thoughts on these highly anticipated releases obviously. Enjoy my extremely late thoughts!

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9 Series I Won’t Be Continuing (Fortunately and Unfortunately)

I am not good at finishing series.

I currently have several series that have one book that need to be finished, or I’ve only read the first book and not any of its sequels, or I’m in the middle of. Basically, I’m a series failure. So, I decided to talk about some of the series I’ve decided that I’m just never going to actually finish because I’m much too honest with myself.

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Bite-Sized Reviews | The “Wonder Woman, Warcross, Genuine Fraud, Oh My!” Edition

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Look at me, I read ARCs!

So, I got a lot of ARCs at Bookcon, and earlier this month, I finally dived into them! I still have all of my October and 2018 releases left, but just one September release, and I thought it’d be a good idea to just review all of some of my anticipated releases in one big post! So here are five positive reviews of some books coming at you in August and September!

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wonder woman

Genre: Fantasy, YA 

Series: DC Icons #1

Rating: 4 STARS

Release Date: August 29, 2017

Synopsis:

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

My Thoughts

I actually wasn’t really planning on reading this one, but then the hype reached me and I ended up getting a copy at Bookcon, so I caved – and I’m so glad I did! The cast of characters in this book were absolutely fantastic, especially Aila, who I found so relatable as a heroine and a character. I also loved learning more about Wonder Woman; I hadn’t watched the movie yet when I read the book, so this was my first exposure to anything about her, so it was really interesting getting to know more about her background and seeing her as a teenager. It’s pretty much impossible to not fall in love with her. This story was a journey-type story, and even though I’m not a huge fan of those types, I actually really enjoyed it in this case! Also, this book was hilarious, and I rarely find books funny, so that was definitely a treat! The ending was also really sweet; I actually teared up a little. Overall, I think people will really enjoy this one!

(Also, this book had the plot twist of the century. That’s all I’ll leave it at.)

In Summary:

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Genuine Fraud

Genre: Thriller, YA

Series: None 

Rating: 5 STARS

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Synopsis:

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.

Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete. 

An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. 

A bad romance, or maybe three.

Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains. 

A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.

A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

My Thoughts

I didn’t really expect anything from this novel for two reasons: I’ve never read We Were Liars, and the summary is extremely vague. I’m so glad I had zero impressions, because I absolutely loved this book with all my heart. It was a genuinely good, mature YA thriller that seemed to be written just for me: an unreliable narrator, backwards story-telling, an addicting fast pace, a twisted female friendship. I literally could not stop raving about this book in my head while I read it. Also, to top it all off, the ending was absolutely perfect for this novel. Overall, I’m almost happy I trudged through so many meh and just plain terrible YA thrillers to get to this one – it was so worth it.

In Summary:

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they both die at the end

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Series: None

Rating: 5 STARS

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Synopsis:

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

My Thoughts

Well, this was probably the most anticipated release of the second half of 2017 for me, and BOY, it did not disappoint. Adam Silvera has done it again. Like his first two books, I binged the entire thing in less than a day and left me completely ruined. Honestly, you can’t help yourself; it’s an addicting and intense read because you just need to know – will they both die at the end, and if so, how? I absolutely loved Rufus and Mateo as characters; both have completely different lives, and seeing them meet and watching their bond grow from being tentative acquaintances to close friends that (slowly) blooms into a beautiful romance made my heart ache. We also get to see other people’s POVs of those that personally effect them and those whose lives they have effected. The ending was so, so good, and, yep, I cried. I finally cried at a book. Overall, a powerful book that if you haven’t added to your TBR yet, you absolutely must.

In Summary:

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Warcross

Genre: Sci-fi, Thriller, Dystopian, YA

Series: Warcross #1

Rating: 5 STARS

Release Date: September 12, 2017

Synopsis: 

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

My Thoughts

As soon as I heard the concept for this book, I was set on getting it into my hands and reading it, so when I managed to meet Marie Lu AND get an ARC signed at Bookcon, I basically died. And, boy, did Marie Lu not let me down whatsoever. WHERE DO I BEGIN? First off, I want the Warcross game to exist in real life. I WILL FIGHT FOR IT. As per usual, Lu’s writing was absolutely terrific and was so fantastic at transporting the reader into the story. The characters were all diverse and well-rounded, and really made this story shine, even the background characters. Honestly, the concept could not have been carried out better, and I absolutely LOVED the direction Lu took it at the very end. This book actually didn’t have a cliffhanger, but it was left so open and I have so many questions! Overall, what do I have to do to get the sequel again?

In Summary:

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Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, YA

Series: None

Rating: 4 STARS

Release Date: September 19, 2017

Synopsis:

Adam Thorn doesn’t know it yet, but today will change his life.

Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant ultimatum from his boss, and his own unrequited love for his sort-of ex, Enzo, it seems as though Adam’s life is falling apart.  At least he has two people to keep him sane: his new boyfriend (he does love Linus, doesn’t he?) and his best friend, Angela.

But all day long, old memories and new heartaches come crashing together, throwing Adam’s life into chaos. The bindings of his world are coming untied one by one; yet in spite of everything he has to let go, he may also find freedom in the release. 

From the New York Times-best selling author of A Monster Calls comes a raw, darkly funny, and deeply affecting story about the courage it takes to live your truth.

My Thoughts

Look at me, I’ve finally read a full Patrick Ness book! After finally reading A Monster Calls last year and loving it, I told myself I’d read more of his work, and I’m so glad I did! I absolutely loved Adam and was so sympathetic to his situation since terrible thing after terrible thing kept hitting him. I could totally feel for his really crappy day, especially since I know I have those days as a teenager myself where it just seems like the only place I could go is down. This was quite the fast-paced book, especially since it was so short, and I really liked the frank way the book dealt with sex, especially since I feel so many YA books can deal with it in the most unnecessarily cheesiest way possible and it seems completely unrealistic to boot. This book has an open ending, so if you don’t like those types of endings in contemporary novels, you’ll probably hate this book. My one complaint was probably the magical realism. It follows a character mentioned in passing in the beginning of the novel, and, unfortunately, the parts were just so boring and didn’t make any sense until the end of the novel. I ended up skipping over them since Adam’s story was much more compelling then hers. Overall, I need to read all the Patrick Ness books!

In Summary:

i feel you

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Bite-Sized Reviews | The “It Is NOT A Cult!” Edition

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And I’m back with another edition of Bite-Sized Reviews! 

Tomorrow, two books are coming out that deal with very similar themes, but one ended up disappointing me and one ended up being a fantastic book! I decided to just go ahead and review the both of them today!

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The Marriage Pact

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Adult

Series: NONE

Rating: 5 STARS

Release Date: July 25, 2017 

Synopsis: 

In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?
  
Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.
            
The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .
            
Never mention The Pact to anyone.
            
Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.
            
And then one of them breaks the rules.
            
The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.
            
For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

My Thoughts

I was originally going to give this one four stars, but I don’t even remember why I took off a star, so five stars it is! I was really intrigued with this one mainly because the synopsis tells you next to nothing, and I am a very nosy person, so I needed to know what was going to happen! I definitely liked seeing from Jake’s point-of-view, since I rarely ever read a thriller from a guy’s point-of-view. I was definitely intrigued with the whole cult-ish vibe of The Marriage Pact, and this book was extremely addicting, especially since it took a lot of twists and turns I really wasn’t expecting. Not only that, but I ADORED the writing. It was very formal, but not so pretentious, you don’t know what’s going on. I’ve just never read a thriller like that before. Also, this one inserted a bunch of facts about marriage, so I learned things! And I also really loved the ending. Basically, this was like Fates and Furies, but with a cult.

In Summary:

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first we were iv

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, YA

Series: NONE 

Rating: 2.5 STARS

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Synopsis:

A group of friends start a secret society in this out-of-control thriller from the author of The Telling and The Creeping that examines the all-consuming love of lifelong friendship—and what someone is capable of when they’re afraid of losing it.

Izzie loves nothing more than her three best friends, Viv, Graham, and Harry, and the bond the four of them share. And she’s terrified of their friendship falling apart next year when they go off to college. To bind them together, she decides to create that will belong only to them, a special thing that they’ll always share between the four of them. And so they dream up the Order of IV, a secret society devoted to mischief that rights wrongs and pays back debts. At first, it works like a charm—but when the Order of IV’s escapades get recognition beyond their wildest expectations, other people start wanting in. And soon, what started as a game of friendship is spiraling into something dangerous and beyond their control—and before it’s over, they’ll pay the ultimate sacrifice.

My Thoughts

Hm, I was sort of disappointed by this one. I absolutely loved The Creeping, so I was really excited for this one, but it was just meh. First off, I thought this book was going to be about a girl gang when I read the synopsis, so I was already let down when there were two boys in the group, especially since these two boys end up being the heart of a mini love triangle – probably the dumbest one I’ve ever seen. It also had this weird feminist slant where they stand up to sexist dress codes and girls can masturbate, too, but we also have girl hate THE ENTIRE BOOK since our main characters are outcasts and the people they hate are popular, so what was the point? I also thought the whole IV thing was dumb. I am a teenager, so I highly doubt teenagers would get up to this. They’re cutting themselves to bleed on a statue, dancing around in their underwear, going out until the early morning to dump blood on people’s houses and throw rocks at their window, and I’m supposed to believe teenagers would do this why? All because of the murder of some girl they didn’t know that they found the dead body of as kids? And I’m not even going to bring up the lack of parenting that goes on as well. It just seemed really far-fetched and dumb. I will say, this was an addicting book and it was very dark, and that’s not seen much in YA, so I’ll give it that! But, overall, I was disappointed. Hopefully, The Telling is better.

In Summary: 

disappointed.gif

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A huge thank you to Ballantine and Simon and Schuster’s Children’s Publishing for the e-ARCs via Netgalley!

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5 Reasons Why You Should Be Adding WANT To Your TBR

 

Want.jpg

Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian, YA

Rating: 4 STARS

Series: Want #1

Release Date: June 13

Synopsis:

From critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon comes an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller, set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, about a group of teens who risk everything to save their city.

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?

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I will say, I didn’t even really have this book on my radar until I was so intrigued by the cover, I caved and decided to add it to my TBR, then went ahead and requested it. I’m so glad I was accepted for this one because I can only say that I freaking loved it.

1. The romance was amazing. So, we have this angst-y, forbidden, sexually tense romance between Daiyu and Zhou, and before you roll your eyes and groan, this romance was incredibly done well. There was absolutely no insta-love (in fact, they never say they love each other AT ALL. What is this sorcery?), and it’s all wonderful slow-burn and sexual tension. And when they finally get together, it’s like magic. I’m usually not one to get heart eyes over a ship where the both of them are on different sides of the track, but I loved it.

(Sidenote, I also ship Lingyi and Iris SO HARD. I would not be against a book entirely dedicated to the two of them being cute. Just saying.)

2. The characters were amazing. First of all, this book had a gang at a center of it, and I’m a sucker for any sort of gang or squad – think the Dregs from Six of Crows or the Night Court from the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series – so I was into it. But I absolutely loved all the individual characters and what they brought to the table!

We have Zhou, our wonderful main character who decides to act as the spy, Victor, who is sleek and sauve and hilarious, Arun, who is the scientist, Lingyi, who is the hacker, and Iris, who reminds me so much of Black Widow, and I love her, so it was great. And Daiyu, who isn’t part of the gang but is Zhou’s love interest who is strong and smart and stands on her own. I’m loving this rise of smart girls over ones who can kick ass 24/7 (even though I love those as well). I WANT THEM ALL TO BE MY FRIENDS. I just loved the interactions and relationship between Zhou and the gang, especially near the end.

3. It had great world-building. First off, this book took place in Taiwan, which I’ve never really seen as a setting before, so it was really awesome to have a book take place somewhere different and diverse. I also thought that a world that’s falling apart because of pollution and global warming was pretty much right on the nose considering the fact that Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement a couple of weeks ago, so it was interesting to see a sci-fi future like this.

4. It was a perfect sci-fi novel. I’ve definitely become more obsessed with sci-fi over the last year, but I haven’t read enough it, and I’m SO glad I had the opportunity to read this one. This one was more of a cross between dystopian and speculative sci-fi (which is my favorite type of sci-fi), and did a fantastic job of holding up a mirror to things such as privilege, class, and taking care of the environment. It was just done SO WELL, and I applaud Pon for it.

5. Basically, it was amazing. If I had to describe this book in any way, it’d be Six of Crows meets Red RisingSix of Crows because of the characters and the aspect of them being in a group and Red Rising because of the whole “lower class goes undercover in the upper class” ruse, which I totally love. So, it was two of my favorite series in one, and I couldn’t be happier. Not to mention that even though this had long chapters, the pacing was still perfect and kept me addicted. AND I WANT MORE. I saw on Goodreads that this might have a sequel, which I’m eternally thankful for. I NEED ONE.

Basically, you will not regret adding this book to your TBR. It’s definitely worth it, and I highly recommend it, obviously.

A huge thanks to Simon and Schuster for giving me an e-ARC of this book, especially since I enjoyed it so much!

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[REVIEW] Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (Ft. Excessive Orange Is The New Black Gifs)

allegedly

Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, YA

Series: None

Rating: 3 STARS

Description:

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.

My Thoughts:

“Some people are just born bad, plain and simple.”

Honestly, this book wasn’t even on my radar. I’d heard some things about this book because I follow up with the Epic Reads website, but it didn’t really interest me, so I stayed away. But then I was pulled over by the Influence of Bookstagram, and I totally and completely caved because I heard SO MANY GOOD THINGS. Would I say that I totally and completely fell in love with this book? No, not really. But I definitely found this one entertaining, and I’m sure, in the right hands, someone would love this book more than I did.

its-going-to-be-okay

So, regarding the characters, I found this one really interesting. We are introduced to Mary, a sixteen-year-old girl stuck in the crappy system and also just happens to be pregnant by her older boyfriend, Ted, who works in the nursing home close to the group home. Mary is someone you will most likely sympathize with. Her relationship with her mother is frayed, she wants to keep her baby but she doesn’t have that choice, she’s trying to get an education but is continually blocked from it, and everyone thinks she killed a baby. Allegedly. I felt so bad for her, and I thought this was a really great book to talk about how the system treats younger prisoners, especially POC. I know we’ve all watched Orange Is the New Black (and if you haven’t, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?), but this seemed like a darker, more grittier version (I mean, the show is dark as well, but this was less comedy and girl power, more depression and girl fights). And with Ted…whatever. I didn’t really care too much about him, to be honest, and I just didn’t like him? I’m weird.

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The plot of this book was done so well. I will say this is a mix between a contemporary and a mystery, so for mystery/thriller fans like me, this is no psychological thriller, but I still found it really addicting, especially since we’re hinted at something more constantly. I personally found this book that way, and I just needed more of it, needed to know what was going to happen, and I can owe that all to Mary and her plight. I just needed to know what was going to happen next, needed to see if she was going to get the proper justice she deserved, needed to know what in the hell actually happened to Alyssa.

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I also loved the little snippets inserted from books and reports and transcripts of interviews. I’m a huge fan of books like that, especially thrillers (it reminds me a lot of Dangerous Girls, and, wow, can I go a post without talking about that book?), and I thought it really added to the story, especially seeing how the public responded to the it. I honestly wonder how the public would respond if a nine-year-old black girl killed a white baby. Would the world go into chaos? Would more people believe she did it or if she didn’t? Would people think she deserved an even worse sentence? It’s one of those really interesting cases that would definitely bring up controversy in the real world right now (and I sort of wonder if it’s based off of something that happened in real life?).

nope

I don’t know how I feel about the ending. Of course, I’m trying not to spoil, but I feel like I’ve seen it so many times before that I’m not really shocked or surprised, and it’s sort of become something where I basically say, “Oh, okay.” Yeah, the first few times I’ve seen that sort of plot twist, I was like, “Woah; what???” but it’s so overdone at this point that I’m starting to hate it a little. It’s not like it’s the author’s fault or anyone else’s, it just feels as if publishers see a plot twist and go, “YES MUST PUBLISH NOW,” to constantly keep up with the trends, and after seeing a thousand different ways to express the fact that the main character is lost royalty, it gets old.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty interesting mix between a contemporary and a mystery, and I think you should definitely check it out if it interests you.

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