Book Review: Feral by Holly Schindler

19346468Feral by Holly Schindler

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Mystery and Young Adult

Release Date: August 26, 2014

Pages: 432 (Hardcover)

good good

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionFeral is a story about two girls told in third person. This, right here, is my first problem with this book. Lately, a lot of mystery/ thrillers are using third person which is great if you have a bunch of characters but Feral  only has two. Two! More accurately, one and a half so there’s no point for it. If the first thing about the novel pissed me off, can you imagine how many other things did also?

A lot, that’s how many.

Not a lot happens in Feral, which makes it a half-assed novel in my books. Seriously, from 10/15% all the way to like, 85% it’s all just boring high school crap. Moreover, the killer is beyond obvious. It’s so obvious that my cat could have figured it out ! The second they come into the story, the author doesn’t even try to hide who it is, instead, she leaves such obvious hints about it to make sure that everyone knows who it is. IN COMING SPOILER!

 

 

In addition to this unrealistic bullshit, Serena gets turned in a cat, (I’m assuming for the first time in her life) yet she gracefully knows how to walk and hiss and be a legit cat without ever stumbling, falling, freaking out, or anything at all that would even remotely suggest that she has no idea what she’s doing as a cat. Ridiculous.

End of spoiler!

The characters are really forgettable and annoying. They barely do anything at all but complain. The whole town is boring. Nothing happens and then there are all of these random ass cats that doesn’t even add the creepy feeling that Schindler is trying so fucking hard to achieve.

Somehow, however, I had managed to find a couple of nice/mediocre things this book has like Serena’s perspective as a dead person is pretty cool at first. I also liked Claire’s past and how big or a role it plays in the story.

Holly Schindler could have made Feral into a much better book if only she made it more realistic and all around more creative and suspenseful. I don’t recommend this one to anyone because of how completely pointless it is.

One Lonely Cloud

One Lonely Cloud

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Book Review: Wicked Little Secrets (Prep School Confidential#2) by Kara Taylor

wickedWicked Little Secrets (Prep School Confidential#2) by Kara Taylor

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Genre: Mystery and Young Adult

Release Date: March 16, 2014

Pages: 304 (Paperback)

good good

Anne Dowling—a fresh, original, and funny new YA heroine whose knowing, irreverent voice will remind readers of Pretty Little Liars and Private—is back for her second semester at Wheatley Prep. Although things have settled (somewhat) since her roommate Isabella’s death, Anne’s still kind of obsessed with the disappearance of Wheatley student Matthew Weaver thirty years ago, since she found a picture of him and his crewmates with the words “they killed him” scrawled on the back among Isabella’s things.


When Anne learns that her boyfriend Brent’s dad is one of the now-powerful Wheatley alumni who rowed crew with Matthew, and that the crew team continues to induct new members with a creepy-sounding ritual called “The Drop,” she knows further investigation could put her relationship with Brent in danger. Determined to discover the truth, she reaches out to Anthony, Isabella’s townie brother, who helps her delve deeper into the secrets in Wheatley’s past. Secrets someone would kill to keep hidden. As the school’s Spring Formal—and its notorious afterparty—approaches, Anne sees the perfect opportunity to do some off-campus digging into the lives of Wheatley’s VIPs in this thrilling, unputdownable read—but if she’s not careful, she’ll be the next student who never comes back.

opinion

 

The excitement and fun never seems to end in this series. Wicked Little Secrets doesn’t suffer from second book syndrome, instead it charges forward and demands readers attention. I loved reading about Anne and all of the trouble she can cause in just a few hours. It’s a thriller that isn’t all about the planning and clues, it also doesn’t have an overbearing romance. It has just the right amounts of almost everything.

That being said, there are a few things that are off. As a person with a pretty small tolerance for info-dumping I found the beginning to be a little like even dismissing the recaps for the first book. Another problem that I had is with our protagonist, Anne (I still adore her though) and her friendship with her friend Chelsea. For someone she calls her best friend, Anne never talks to Chelsea and only mentions her in passing. I wanted more from this friendship because Chelsea is part of the old Anne, the one that I’m sure many people want to know more about and I felt let down by this. Hopefully her best friend is in the last book.

Nonetheless, this book is still great. I loved the writing, it’s still as smooth as ever and the romance isn’t in your face. It’s a lot laid back than I thought, only finding cracks in the story to seep into. Although I’m team Brent, the romances with both guys are really well done. Another thing that I enjoyed about the story is the action because it isn’t boring and there’s a constant stream of it with not too much planning. The characters for the most part are great, Anne is a lot wilder and committed than ever (she punches a guy in the face to defend her friend!). The problems that I had in the first novel are pretty much gone in this one. Remy feels a lot more real, letting her past and emotions through this time. Moreover, the sarcasm is so good! It’s not constant that it feels annoying nor is it far between that it feels forced. It’s perfection.

Wicked little Secrets is pretty intense but in a more fun than dark way. The ending will keep readers at the edge of their seats and craving for the last one. I recommend this series to anyone looking for a thriller that isn’t boring and straightforward. I’m hoping that the last one is just as good.

4 Dreamy Clouds

4 Dreamy Clouds

Book Review: The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer

18635076The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Genre: Mystery and Young Adult

Release Date: May 13, 2014

Pages: 304 (Paperback)

good good

Growing up in a house of female morticians, Lily Graves knows all about buried secrets. She knows that perfect senior-class president Erin Donohue isn’t what she seems. She knows why Erin’s ex-boyfriend, hot football player Matt Houser, broke up with her. And she also knows that, even though she says she and Matt are just friends, there is something brewing between them—something Erin definitely did not like.

But secrets, even ones that are long-buried, have a way of returning to haunt their keeper.

So when Erin is found dead the day after attacking Lily in a jealous rage, Lily’s and Matt’s safe little lives, and the lives of everyone in their town of Potsdam, begin to unravel. And their relationship—which grew from innocent after-school tutoring sessions to late-night clandestine rendezvous—makes them both suspects.

As her world crumbles around her, Lily must figure out the difference between truth and deception, genuine love and a web of lies. And she must do it quickly, before the killer claims another victim.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Balzer + Bray for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review. opinion The worst kinds of books are the ones that start out promising and then just decide not to deliver anything good in the end. The Secrets of Lily Graves is that kind of book. It starts out pretty good, there’s a creepy girl who likes to hang out in the cemetery and wear black all day with a dark sense of humour. The author could have made this novel fucking golden yet decided that she wanted an idiot main character who does stupid things because she’s in love with a stupid boy. All in all, don’t read this because you will be let down depending on how much you enjoy different main characters.

My first problem with this book is when Erin is dead. Not much details are told about it yet Lily somehow knows how she died.  Lily also doesn’t even suspect that Matt could be the killer, not even for s second because she knows him for a few months  and that he never would do anything like that. This leads to my next problem with the novel-Lily. For someone so smart they’re awfully stupid. I don’t want to give anything away if you decide you may want to check this out but for fuck’s sake, why would you stand there with incriminating evidence in your hands and then try to walk away with it in plain fucking sight when someone sees you? Do you not know how people work? Do you need a brain to understand that you run and then ask questions later before someone sees you? Stupid. I also had a problem with the romance because it feels extremely contrived and fake. The feelings Matt have for Lily feels too forced to be real and it didn’t help that he says, “I’m so sorry. I won’t let anything happen to you. I’ll explain everything. I really, really like you,” everything second her gets (which is every second he’s in the story). Adding onto that, the pacing of the novel is slow and everything is boring, even when the killer is caught, things are resolved fairly quickly. The ending is actually kind of predictable and so is the killer if you actually think about it.

Although I didn’t like this book as a whole, I did enjoy the sarcasm. It’s funny, dark, and refreshing. Moreover, I liked that some things happen in the cemetery because it’s quite a different scene and gives this book a bit of originality.

The Secrets of Lily Graves isn’t the best mystery book. It’s more about the forced romance than anything. Lily felt forced to solve the murder to me than actually doing it for a good reason. The police didn’t even suspect her until she kept digging and she just met Matt, who cares about him. Overall, I don’t recommend reading this unless you’re in the mood for some good humour and nothing else.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd Clouds

Book Review: Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey

18118614 (1)Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: May 6, 2014

Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

good good

Putting the dead in deadline
To Bee or not to Bee? When the widely disliked Honeywell Stingers football coach is found murdered, 17-year-old Millie is determined to investigate. She is chasing a lead for the school newspaper – and looking to clear her father, the assistant coach, and prime suspect.

Millie’s partner is gorgeous, smart-and keeping secrets
Millie joins forces with her mysterious classmate Chase who seems to want to help her even while covering up secrets of his own.

She’s starting to get a reputation…without any of the benefits.
Drama-and bodies-pile up around Millie and she chases clues, snuggles Baxter the so-ugly-he’s-adorable bassett hound, and storms out of the world’s most awkward school dance/memorial mash-up. At least she gets to eat a lot of pie.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HMH Books for Young Readers for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

When I was younger, I hated reading. I really did, my mother forced me to stand in front of her and read to her and it felt like a complete hassle to do it. Yet, this one series of books (Cam Jensen and the so and so) made all that bearable and although wasn’t the book that made me start loving books, it did help. Cam Jensen will forever be one of my favourite protagonists and I see a lot of similarities between that series and this book. There’s a mystery, there’s the main character with the photographic memory who is also a redhead, the cute quiet boy, as well as other thing. Although these books are similar there’s one thing that makes Cam Jensen stand out–her badass attitude and the way she never fucking whines about anything.

Buzz Kill should not be targeted towards young adults, it should be targeted towards middle schoolers because that’s the only time that realism is not needed in stories. The characters are all flat and boring. They’re cutouts of traits that are popular in YA novels and thrown in to make an unbelievable cast. I hated how they all are supposed to be adults or almost adults yet they act like they’re in elementary school with their petty fights over who boys and assignments. Hell, no one even swears! You cannot tell me that teenagers don’t swear because that is a lie! I also had a problem with the romance is forced and typical (confused girl is the only one who understands the beautiful broken boy) and not very realistic. Aside from Millie’s stupidity, there’s no legit reason for why she wants to find the killer and her photographic memory didn’t add anything to the story.

I don’t mind thrillers, I just have a hard time believing them especially when they involve high school students. This book is made out to be quirky and corny but I just found it annoying and stupid. I only recommend this if you enjoy No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale and enjoyed it a lot because this one is a lot like that. Under no other circumstance should this book be read because you will most likely fall asleep.

1 Lonely Cloud

1 Lonely Cloud

Book Review: Cold Calls by Charles Benoit

cold callsCold Calls by Charles Benoit

Publisher: Clarion Books

Genre: Mystery and Young Adult

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Pages: 288 (Hardcover)

good good

Three high school students-Eric, Shelly, and Fatima-have one thing in common:

“I know your secret.”

Each one is blackmailed into bullying specifically targeted schoolmates by a mysterious caller who whispers from their cell phones and holds carefully guarded secrets over their heads. But how could anyone have obtained that photo, read those hidden pages, uncovered this buried past? Thrown together, the three teens join forces to find the stranger who threatens them-before time runs out and their shattering secrets are revealed . . .

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, Clarion Books for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

This is probably the only story I’ve read where I really enjoyed the third person telling. It fits the story really well and the mysterious caller isn’t easy to figure out and I liked that. My biggest problem are the characters and how one-sided they are. It seems that their secrets are their whole lives but even that isn’t well described. I also really liked the moral lesson of how the characters face right and wrong and decide which is which.

Cold Calls has a very exciting beginning but almost instantly in the middle, everything starts to slow down and I felt so damn bored. It’s not intense and the mysterious caller, for the most part leaves them alone during this time and I quickly lost interest in the story all together. However, this isn’t the only reason why my interest left, it was also because of the characters who are, some of the most boring people I’ve ever met.  It seems that they don’t have lives other than their secrets. There isn’t much of a back story of how they were before this secret came to be, especially with Shelly and Eric. What was his relationship with April like? We barely get anything except that they have secrets that they don’t want anyone else to know about. The reason for the revenge seemed really silly and I had a hard time finding it realistic.

Like I said before, I think what gave this story a tense, gritty feel for me is the writing and the fact that it’s in third person which I actually cringe when first realizing it when starting a book. It’s awkward and hard to relate to characters but I really enjoyed it here. I liked how the mystery caller is played out in this. It’s not the typical way to find a stalker and I liked that. It sure had me guessing.

Nonetheless, Cold Calls isn’t a bad book it’s just boring after the initial first pages and it’s not scary whatsoever. Instead of feeling scared, I felt like I was watching a really tacky movie about high schoolers. However I still recommend this to anyone who’s looking for something light that has more to do with karma than anything else.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Unaccompanied Minor by Hollis Gillespie

17849185Unaccompanied Minor by Hollis Gillespie

Publisher: Merit Press

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: January 1, 2014

Pages: 256 (Hardcover)

good good

Fourteen-year-old April May Manning spent her life on airplanes with her flight attendant parents. When her father dies in a crash, April’s mom marries a pilot who turns out to be an abusive jerk, and gets Mom confined to a psychiatric hospital. So April takes off, literally, living on airplanes, using her mother’s flight benefits, relying on the flight crews who know she’s been shuttling between divorcing parents for a year. Then, there’s a hijacking, but why is April’s “dad” on board? April flees to the cargo hold with another unaccompanied minor she’s met before, and they fight to thwart the hijackers, faking a fire, making weapons from things they find in luggage. At last, locked in the cockpit with a wounded police officer, the boy, and his service dog, April tries to remember everything her parents said to do in a crisis above the clouds. But she knows it won’t be enough.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Merit Press for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

This book is just annoying. April Manning is a Nancy Drew like character, only worse because she’s boring and unrealistic. 

You know those kids that you have to babysit, the ones that just never shut up even if they’re right about something? That kid is April, and for the life of me, I could not stop picturing her as a seven year old tugging on my arm. I get it, you have a plan, and you’re smart. Shut up. Like I said above, there is a lot of forced humour. And I’m not over exaggerating. There are a few deaths, and they’re played off as jokes. The bad guys (if they can even be called that) are complete jokes that barely ever make sense. There’s quite a bit of info-dumping, and the story is very disorganized.

Airports are such a fun place, and the idea and the setting for it was what saved Unaccompanied Minor for me. They are very loud and chaotic which is why April got by so easily unnoticed. There are a few surprises though, so that was fun.

Overall, unless you’re looking for a Nancy Drew/Scooby Doo and the Gang kind of story then skip this. I felt as if I were reading about a crazy mystery that had too much forced humour and too little seriousness.

2 Clouds

2 Clouds

Book Review: No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

18052934No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: January 7, 2014

Pages: 384 (Hardcover)

good good

Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.

Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

My reaction to this book from beginning to end.

Was reading this book worth my time? Nope, not at all. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve read a stream of serious topic books lately that I had high hopes for this one but it fell so flat. Flat on its ass. I can’t count how many times I’ve fallen asleep while reading this.

The writing style feels too forced and awkward which made Kippy too awkward to even try to like. Readers are constantly told that she watches many TV shows and journalists yet she’ s constantly making childish mistakes while investigating crime scenes. I felt like the author was trying too hard to make the killer mysterious that she didn’t care that kippy is a horrible character who leaves her car in front of crime scenes, gloats about all the secrets she knows to suspects, and leaves evidence where people can just take it. I mean, come on! Did I mention that she treats her super nice dad like shit? Because she does every time she’s around him. In the story, there are a few eyebrow raising scenes because of the way they’re handed as jokes, whether it was Hale’s intention or not, it’s angering and disgusting the way abuse and mental illness es are treated in the book.

The cover is so creepy! I love it. That’s all I liked about this book.

No One Else Can Have You feels like a complete stupidly boring joke that’s more awkward satire than gritty and dark. I don’t recommend this to anyone unless you enjoy boring stories with a pretty predictable killer. Mystery novels should never be read one after another or else trends are easy to spot. I have learned my lesson.

1 Lonely Cloud

1 Lonely Cloud

 

For quotes from this book, click here.