Review: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: June 9th, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Contemporary, Thriller
Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm & Strange, comes a twisted and haunting tale about three teens uncovering dark secrets and even darker truths about themselves.

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.

my rambles

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me with a copy of the book to review!

The first thought that came to my mind when I closed Delicate Monsters after reading the final page was “What did I just read?!” This book’s title should be found under the definition of psychological thriller in the dictionary, because, wow, I don’t know what to think or how to feel. The initial synopsis for the book intrigued me, but when I read the book it wasn’t what I expected at all. Not to say that I was disappointed, Delicate Monsters was just unexpected and not my typical read.

Delicate Monsters tells its story through three different unreliable narrators, all of which are extremely troubled and have dark and disturbed minds. This book overall reflects the characters personalities – it’s disturbing and will drive you crazy. I hated each of these three main characters, didn’t sympathize or empathize with them at all. They’re not misled, they’re not misunderstood, they’re just cruel and evil.

The events that take place in the book are shocking, serious and no less dark than the characters that do them. Reading Delicate Monsters made me uncomfortable, as I don’t normally pick up books dealing with topics like these. But even through the discomfort, there was something about the book that kept me turning pages. Maybe it was the sick fascination of being inside these twisted, horrible character’s minds, maybe it was the want to know how this crazy story ends. But something about the book made me keep reading and turning page after page.

All in all, Delicate Monsters is an extremely fitting title for this book. The storyline is dark, and follows characters that are best handled with care, and certainly have monsters living deep within them. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, as it is a book that will turn your brain.


Review: Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: June 2nd, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre(s): Contemporary, Thriller
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 trilogy, takes readers on a dream vacation that goes first comically, then tragically, then horrifyingly wrong!

The luxurious celebrity cruise launching the trendy new diet sweetener Solu should be the vacation of a lifetime. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host Tom Forelli—the hottest guy ever!—and she’s too sick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.

Tom knows that he should be grateful for this job and the chance to shed his former-child-star image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when the hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.

my rambles

Special thanks to Feiwel & Friends and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

I must admit that I’ve changed my rating for Sweet around a couple of times. I found it to be a book that was extremely difficult to rate, as there is just SO MUCH jam-packed into a somewhat short book. Hence, this review may come out to be a little bit conflicting, because, well, that’s how I feel about this book.

I was originally drawn to Sweet from the synopsis. I mean, what a cool and different sounding book, right?! While Sweet was cool and different, I found some parts to be way over the top, and others to be really worthy of some eye-rolls.

Sweet starts out as a pretty good, funny, contemporary book. It’s told from two points of view: Laurel, a nobody who’s overweight but happy in her body, being dragged along by her rich best friend, and Tom, child star now grown, attempting to be known for something other than his nickname “Baby Tom Tom.” The beginning of the book is really like reading a reality TV show, which I really liked. It was comical and amusing, like I find all reality shows to be.

But then, about 3/4ths of the way through the book, it took a turn for the worst, in my opinion. Things got crazy weird… Enter new problems of addiction, people turning into zombie-vampire things, and an insane evil mastermind and you have the last 1/4th of Sweet. I was almost like The Biggest Loser on a cruise ship meets The Walking Dead. So basically, it turns into a post-apocalyptic novel masquerading as a fun-filled contemporary.

While the writing and story flowed from the contemporary story to the crazy one, I still felt like something didn’t seem to fit with the second part of the book. But, when I met Emmy Laybourne she immediately described Sweet as a huge conglomeration of genres. The way she described it made me feel like she wanted it to be a little crazy, out there, and over the top. This is why I felt kind of conflicted, because if that is the case, she delivered!

Overall, Sweet had a cool concept and was definitely unique and different, but I think it may have been taken a little too far, to too unrealistic lengths. That being said, a part of me really enjoyed Sweet in a odd and crazy way. It was a super quick read, and definitely perfect for the summer. But don’t read it on a cruise!


Review: The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Series: YA Romance Fairy Tales, #5 (no need to read in order)
Genre(s): Fairy Tale, Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha—one of the few who speaks his language—understands the wild story. Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin’s message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself ‘Lord Colin’ is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook’s wicked plot.

my rambles Special thanks to Zondervan for providing me with an advance copy for review!

The Princess Spy was a book that I went into completely blind. I hadn’t read any reviews of it prior to reading it, and hadn’t read any of the author’s previous books, so I was totally unsure about the book. What I got was an entertaining and fun fairy tale romance that is sure to delight younger YA readers!

The story is pretty fast-paced. The reader is almost immediately introduced to the conflict, and the main character Margaretha is quick to become the heroine of the story with the help of the handsome English stranger, Colin. While the story to me was extremely predictable, I still found it to be entertaining. Although, I wasn’t emotionally attached to any of the characters. But, I enjoyed the development of the main character Margaretha into a character that could fight for herself and her family.

Margaretha, at eighteen, seemed to be very naïeve and immature. Her constant uncertainty at the obvious feelings of others, and insecurities about herself in the eyes of Colin got on my nerves a little. The emotion between the two of them seemed to be very out in the open, while Margaretha and Colin still seemed in the dark to the mutual feelings between them. Also, it felt like the romance was rushed. Not insta-love rushed, but progressed a little too quickly for my liking.

Overall, The Princess Spy was a fun book that will be enjoyed by younger YA readers who are looking for a sweet, clean romance. I will definitely be looking out for other books by Melanie Dickerson, as I found The Princess Spy to be quite a fun read!

*There are religious themes throughout this book, so keep that in mind while choosing if this book is for you. I am not a particularly religious person, but I still found this book to be very enjoyable.*


Discussion Review: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee + a poll!

Hi everyone! Today I have a different kind of review than normal. In my most recent Week in Review post I asked if you wonderful readers would like me to review either of the books I read for school. I got a couple comments asking for reviews of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I have a lot to say, not really regarding the book, but more about how reading it for school affected how I liked the book. Therefore, I have come up with a discussion/review post where I can just talk about everything!

Being that I read it for school, the teacher stretched the book out for about two months. She, in my opinion, overanalyzed the book which made for an awful reading experience. I feel like whenever I’ve read a book for a class I’ve never read a book and enjoyed it to the extent that I have when reading a book for pleasure. I’m not sure if it’s the idea that I’m being forced to read the book, the teacher’s way of teaching the book, or a combination of both, but I do know that reading a book for school has most often times doomed me to have only neutral feelings down to utter dislike and nothing better.

Some people may just think that it’s because I just don’t like the “classics,” I’m a YA person and that they’re too boring or difficult for a teenager to like or understand. Others probably just believe when a teen complains about reading a book for school that they just don’t like homework or reading, period. But clearly for me that’s not the case. I LOVE reading, and I do venture outside the worlds of YA to read a “sophisticated” classic or adult book every now and then.

So I want to hear from you guys: Does reading a book for a class affect your feelings toward the book?

Now on to the review…

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Release Date: April 2010 (Originally 1960)

Pages: 376

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Series: N/A

Genre(s): Classic, Historical Fiction

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into ten languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that will really change you. It will make you think, and make you re-evaluate yourself as a person. Are you like Atticus? Dolphus Raymond? Bob Ewell? Boo Radley? Miss Stephanie? But I’m not really going to talk about the morals and all the hidden symbolism within the book because that’s like English class. I’m going to talk about the story.

I love how Harper Lee made the whole story a flashback. Right from the first page you know how everything will turn out, but yet you don’t, because you haven’t read the book yet. After I finished the book I went back to page 1 and re-read the first chapter again. It really brought the story full-circle.

I don’t really have much to say about this book other than I think it’s really worth the read. A beautiful coming of age story about learning the ways of life and just how cruel some people can be.

Like I mentioned above in the discussion, reading this book for class had a negative affect on my feelings toward this book. I really believe if I’d’ve read it on my own I would have enjoyed it much more for the story.

Review: The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release Date: February 25, 2014

Pages: 382

Format: Paperback

Source: Gifted

Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters, #1

Genre(s): Contemporary

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip’s most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

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