Netgalley Review: One Was Lost

One Was Lost

Netgalley Review: One Was Lost by  Natalie D. Richards

October 6, 2016 – Sourcebooks Fire

Source: Netgalley

4 stars

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

6 students and 2 teacher chaperones go into the forest for wilderness survival mandatory senior trip. After a flash flood the group is separated, 3 on one side and 5 on the other.  When Sera, Emily, Jude and Lucas wake up they find their chaperone, Mr. Walker, drugged and words etched on their wrists. Deceptive, damaged, dangerous and darling.  Each one has been labelled and no one knows what it means.

I’m  glad that I finally picked this book up. It kept popping up at bookstores and I was drawn to it. The mystery was very well developed and paced. As I tried to figure out who was behind everything, I found myself becoming more and more paranoid. Like the characters were.  The character growth that happened was believable, as well as relatable. Because there are some seriously twisted people in the world, the plot isn’t too far from being realistic. We watch as the characters begin to take on a new understanding of labels that they have put on one another. We also see them embrace and accept themselves, and one another, for who they are and not the labels that were applied to them (literally since they have been written on skin).


Always Shine!

*DNF* Young Adult Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)

*DNF* Young Adult Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Source: Library

Purpose: Personal Choice

*DNF Review*

I typically don’t do DNF reviews for books that I pick up on a whim. I reserve DNF reviews for actual review books, and even then, I try my best to finish them. But, I feel that I need to put my voice into the mix for this book. I picked this up because everyone was raving about it, it’s got good ratings on Goodreads. Jack the Ripper and forensics are buzz words for me. I read the summary and thought, “Yes! I’m in!” And then I started reading it. Disappointment soon set in. Immediately. I followed my 100-page rule and then gave it another 25 before I set it aside. As far as the mystery, it was interesting and I am curious as to how it all works out. I suspect that it’s either the brother or the father. (But those two are so super-obvious that if it is one of them I’d be even more disappointed). There is a part of me that is a but curious about how it all works out.  The two main reasons that I am dnfing this would be 1. The romance and 2. The main character, Audrey Rose.

The romance: it’s instant. As soon as Audrey Rose hears Thomas’ voice she’s in love. And that is just stupid.  Thomas Cresswell swings between being overconfident and annoying to creepy and annoying.  I am sure that they end up together but I find it rather disappointing.  The main character: Audrey Rose is obviously not doing what “normal” girls her age are doing in this time period. But she is choosing to follow this path, so she should be okay with it. There’s no reason to beat this fact dead into the ground every couple of pages. I think that if she was truly confident in herself her interactions with the rest of the characters, especially Thomas, would have been a lot less annoying.

There are a lot of positive reviews for this book, and I am not sure why. But I wanted to share my opinion so that if nothing else, the next reader is forewarned.

DNF Review

Young Adult Review: Shock Point by April Henry

Shock Point

Young Adult Review: Shock Point by April Henry

Source:  Library

Purpose: Personal read

3.5 stars


“It was the rough hand over her mouth that convinced Cassie Streng that what was happening was real”


I received a book that Henry co-authored for review a very long time ago. Since then I kept saying that I wanted to read some more of her work. I also follow her on Facebook, so I have heard about all the research and work that she puts into her writing. This has made me even more curious, so I finally picked up her first published YA novel. Henry does not disappoint.


Cassie’s situation is one that is all too familiar for a lot of young people, unfortunately. Her parents are divorced. Her dad has remarried and so has her mom. Her mom is now pregnant and her stepdad is a jerk. She has moved to a new school in a new city and doesn’t have any friends. There’s a lot of transitions and changes that would explain -not excuse-  Cassie acting out.  When Cassie discovers facts that Rick, her stepfather, would like to keep hidden, Cassie finds herself going through one more transition. This one is life and death.

I liked Cassie as a character. Her situation was familiar, while also being unique. She was not some teen with superpowers. She was in a tough situation and only wanted to do the right thing.  Even if the right thing was not easy and put herself in danger. Her father sends her away to Peaceful Cove. This place masquerades as a place for helping troubled teens. In reality, it’s sadistic a place that resembles more of a prison.

When Cassie arrives at Peaceful Cove, I found this hard to read. Not because of the writing. It was just awkward and uncomfortable to watch -read- someone endure physical and psychological abuse.  I wanted to jump in and help, to find a way for them all to escape. But I couldn’t, there wasn’t anything for me to do except to keep reading. I don’t think that I would have survived if I had been sent to Peaceful Cove.

This was a very short book, less than two hundred pages, but it packed quite a punch. There’s no “convenient” tools that suddenly appear to provide an easy out. Escaping is a struggle and a risk. While I don’t believe that the ending was rushed, Henry didn’t dwell on Cassie’s escape. There was enough to envision what she was going through without passing into the annoying or unbelievable zone. I am definitely looking forward to reading more of Henry’s work.

“And then, while there were still both laughing and before she could think twice about it, Cassie stood on tiptoes and gave Thatcher a kiss.”

Always Shine!

Young Adult Review: Perfect Liars by Kimberly Reid

Perfect Liars

Perfect Liars by Kimberly Reid

Source: Edelweiss, Tu Books

4 stars

A digital copy of this title was given to me, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.


When Drea pulled up to the house, she was surprised to find the iron gate wide open.

First, I really enjoyed this book. No, it wasn’t perfect but it was still very good. Ignore the synopsis because it is very misleading. One of the things that annoyed me was the beating to death of the fact that Drea is not who she was pretending to be; that she was secretly a criminal. Other than her dwelling on it over and over and over there isn’t any real evidence of her criminality.  I liked the dynamics of the characters. I found Jason to be funny, and I think he’s my favorite. Drea was super-smart but did some stupid things, but they somehow fit into her personality –  if that makes sense. Gigi was a handful popping in and out as the story needed her. But, I feel like there’s room for her to grow into.  Xavier was like and iceberg. What he wanted you to know was just the surface. There is so much more underneath. The instant attraction between Drea and Xavier was stupid so I was glad that they didn’t act on it. The romance was allowed to build and it never became the focus of the plot. The mystery slowly started unraveling and this pulled me into the story even more. I really liked watching Drea slowly put things together and unknowingly move into a leadership role. I don’t think there’s anyone better for it. I liked the ending, and how we didn’t know everything that was going on. I do feel like it was a bit rushed. Even though there is more going on, things that may be resolved in book two, the ending was satisfying. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more from this author.

But at the moment, Drea realized that these people who had been strangers-enemies even- only two weeks ago might be her first true friends.

Always Shine!

Young Adult Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side

 By Your Side by Kasie West

Source: Edelweiss, HarperTeen

 4 stars

 A digital copy of this title was given to me, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.


I was locked in the library trying not to panic.

This was my first Kasie West book. In fact, I had not heard of her until after I received this book for review. So, I can’t say I was expecting much of anything. But, I was definitely surprised. I wasn’t sure how to take Autumn as a character, wasn’t sure I’d like her. People and characters who go along to get along tend to annoy me. While there were moments where I wanted to smack her, I believe her heart was in the right place.  Dax was interesting too. I liked the fact that despite his troubled background, he was a decent guy. He wasn’t the troublemaker in need of saving (a trope that happens all too often).

I could see what was happening between Dax and Autumn way before she picked up on it, and I was waiting for the light to go off in her head. I am not talking about the romance part, I am talking about the calming effect he had on her. It is the complete opposite of how she felt when she was with her friends and Jeff. That is not her friends fault completely, they don’t know anything about her anxiety disorder. Speaking of her anxiety disorder; anxiety is a something that everyone that everyone deals with. There were moments in the story where I knew that I would be feeling the same way as Autumn if I was in a similar situation. But an anxiety disorder takes the normal emotion to a whole other level. I do not have an anxiety disorder so I can’t say how accurately it was portrayed. But I will say that I think it was dealt with respectfully.

In the end, I enjoyed this book. I don’t think that getting locked in a library is completely believable. But West did a good job of making It so. I am looking forward to checking out West’s backlist. This book ended happily, it ended as it always should. Despite the fact that this is not how reality works. This was a refreshingly optimistic story.

I could feel his cheek pressed against mine, turn up in a smile. “One step at a time, Autumn, one step at a time.”

Review: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires, #1)

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine 

Morganville Vampires #1

On the day that Clare became a member of Glass House, somebody stole her laundry.

Clare Danvers is a sixteen year is smart and never fit in with her peers. She has graduated high school and is starting college. Instead of allowing their teenage daughter to apply for the colleges that she wants, colleges that were too far from home, her parents allow her to attened Texas Priarie University. Just like high school, but more deadly, Clare is tortured by the resident mean girls and her clique. After being shoved down dorm steps, Clare has had enough and she looks for off-campus housing. Answering an ad for a roommate, Clare meets Eve, Shane and Michael and is able to stay at the Glass House. Soon, she discovers the truth about the town of Morganville, and her trouble has just begun.

I was introduced to Caine’s writing through her Weather Warden series. I enjoyed it, and started collecting her books. I have the first eleven books in this series, but I am just now getting to read it. I still need to catch up on the other series, but I dove in with this one because…. I had moved it to a stack of books that I wanted to read and then rehome. I figured that since my taste has been changing that I would not really enjoy this series. But this book surprised me, A LOT. Enough that I am not sure that I will be getting rid of this series. And now I want to devour all of the books right now.

Clare is a high school age girl with college level intellect. This gets her in trouble with resident mean girl, Monica. Shane is the classic lady’s man with a wicked sense of humor. Eve is your typical angry goth girl coffee shop barista. Michael is the big brother of the group who carries an astounding secret of his own. They live in the Glass House, which is a protected house/mansion in the middle of Morganville, a town run by vampires.

This was a fun, quick read. Quick as in it would have taken me a few hours to read it if I didn’t have a  little destructor running around and other responsibilities. One of the things that I really enjoyed was that the vampires are real monsters. Yes, some blend into the regular people. Most are obviously vampires and come with power and violence. While there are some fangbangers mixed in with the rest of society, most of the public are not looking to interact with them. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and started to care what about what happened to them.

Yes, the mystery was a bit predictable, but it was still engaging. Yes, the ending was a cliffhanger. But it was really setting up the problem for the next book, this book’s storyline was resolved. This was a great start and I am looking forward to seeing how everything turns out.

4 stars ****

“Do they sell stakes at Home Depot here? Clare asked. Shane and Eve looked blank. “Dumb question. Never mind.”

If you want to know more about Rachel Caine and her books, check out her websitefacebook or twitter.

Always Shine!

Review: Life Just Got Real by Sadie Robertson

Life Just Got Real

Life Just Got  Real by Sadie Robertson with Cindy Coloma

Live Original Fiction

Life is about change. That’s what my father used to say, as we’d stand on the edge of the bayou, fishing poles in hand. ” Life is like the water in that stream, always rushing past, always moving, different moment to moment.”

 AJ’s life has been one big change after the other. Two years ago she lost her dad. now she has moved from Louisiana to Nashville and she will be starting a new school that seems nothing like her. To top it off, she just found out that her mom is engaged to a new man. But this is all just the beginning.

Kate Kelly appears to have everything going for her. She is the head cheerleader, student body president, maintains a 4.0 GPA and appears to be dating one of the most sought after guys at Westmont High. She is also being considered for the new reality tv show  Real Life. But things are about to change for her in ways that she never imagined.

I like this book. When I requested this I wasn’t sure how much I would like it. To be completely honest, I just wanted to see what Sadie Robertson could do, I am a fan of the show. I don’t want to build this up as the next best thing since chocolate, but it was a really good read. One of my favorite things about it was that this was not just another contemporary. It’s not just a safe Christian read that you can give to your kid and move. It has deep, in the story as well as with the characters.  While other stories may chronicle the journey of someone going from outsider to insider, this story chronicles the journey of someone being who they truly are wherever they are. It was a light read, but it wasn’t fluffy. There were some deep questions that were explored and some satisfying answers discovered. Most of the characters were funny and had more going on with them then what was presented to the outside world. There were a couple of side characters that were transparent in their one-dimensional roles, but this was a minor flaw. While I hope that Robertson continues with the Live Original Fiction brand, I would be okay with leaving AJ and Kate’s story right here.

“I think life just got real” I say to AJ with a laugh.

Always Shine!

Life Just Got Real  is now available!  You can find Sadie Robertson on twitterinstagram, and her website !

My opinions and thoughts are my own, though I was given a book, free, in exchange for a review. Thank you Howard Books!