YVO’S SHORTIES #18: As Dead As It Gets & Take The Key And Lock Her Up

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time a double dose of third and final book of a series… Yes, I’ll be marking two more series as finished with this post! Sadly both of these weren’t as good as I hoped. As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender is a bit stronger than the sequel, but the main character is annoying and I still prefer book one. Take The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter is by far the weakest book of the series and I don’t really care for the ending either… Things have been going downhill since book one. Oh well, at least it’s two series less to worry about right?


Title: As Dead As It Gets
(Bad Girls Don’t Die #3)
Author: Katie Alender

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: May 15th 2012
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Finished reading: February 1st 2018 
Pages: 448

“Find the people who treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Tell everyone else to go to hell. And don’t look back.”


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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Don’t read my rambles if you haven’t read the first two books of this trilogy yet… You’ve been warned.

As part of my promise to finally start finishing those poor neglected series, I decided to pick up the third and final book of the Bad Girls Don’t Die trilogy while my memories of the second book were still fresh. And while I still think the first book is the strongest, As Dead As It Gets without doubt makes a comeback from what I call a ‘weak-second-book-syndrome’. No more sunny and miss nice girl, because Alexis has another paranormal problem on her hand and things are quickly spiralling out of hand… And things might turn ugly. The writing is engaging and reads superfast as always, making As Dead As It Gets a fun, exciting and speedy paranormal read. The plot is darker than the second book and adds a level of suspension to the story… Without doubt an interesting final adventure, although I’m still on the fence whether I like the ending or not. Strong final words though! I do have to say I still find Alexis annoying with her whole ‘I need to do this alone’, ‘I clearly need help, but I won’t ask anybody even if they are willing’ and ‘I don’t want others hurt, but they somehow do anyway’ attitude. I could have done without the love triangle as well… But there is no doubt that As Dead As It Gets is still a solid and entertaining YA paranormal read.


Title: Take The Key And Lock Her Up
(Embassy Row #3)
Author: Ally Carter

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
First published: December 27th 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Finished reading: February 7th 2018
Pages: 336

“There are some ghosts that live inside us, and we can never lose them, no matter how far we run.”


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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Don’t read my rambles if you haven’t read the first two books of this trilogy yet… You’ve been warned.

I was a big fan of the first book when I read it back in 2015. I liked the sequel as well, although the main character was realy started to bother me… But still I had added this third and final book to my list of most-anticipated 2016 releases. Why didn’t I pick up Take The Key And Lock Her Up sooner then? I have no idea, other than that it probably slipped between the cracks of my exploding TBR pile. I had forgotten about the details, including the supposedly enormous cliffhanger ending, by the time I was able to get to it… But it was quite easy to pick up the thread anyway. That said, it was by no means the reading experience I was hoping for. Unfortunately, Take The Key And Lock Her Up is by far the weakest book of the trilogy and it’s sad to see a series end on this note as it started out so promising. One of the biggest problems I had was with the main character Grace. I already had these feelings in the sequel, but Grace becomes almost unbearable in book three with her constant whining about just how crazy she is, how she is endangering others by just being close, that she should be punished, that she doesn’t deserve positive things happening to her etc… Yawn. Her whole attitude, dialogue and actions seriously annoyed me and it was one of the reasons the final book didn’t work for me. I wasn’t 100% convinced by the writing either, but this is probably mostly related to Grace and her dialogue. And the whole love triangle and romance put a damper on things as well. As for the plot… If you look critically, nothing much is actually happening during this final adventure, or at least I missed the intensity and suspense. It has some interesting pointers, but overall I was quite disappointed by Take The Key And Lock Her Up.


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BOOK REVIEW: See How They Run – by Ally Carter

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Title: See How They Run
(Embassy Row #2)
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: YA, Mystery. Thriller
First published: December 22nd 2015
Finished reading: May 14th 2016
Pages: 336
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“I’ve been wrong, and I’ve been crazy. But this is the first time I’ve ever truly felt like a fool.”

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I remember loving the first book All Fall Down last year and the wait for the sequel was a long one. But somehow, when See How They Run was finally published, I never ended up reading it straight away. Why is still a mystery, but I’m glad I finally did manage to read the sequel. See How They Run might not be as good as the first book in my opinion, but it was still a very quick and entertaining read. I think the wait for the third book is going to be even more painful after that cliffhanger ending… Without doubt a huge surprise! I liked the conspiracy plot in the sequel, and the prose was just as good as ever. Embassy Row is my first Ally Carter series, but I’m definitely going to pick up more of her work in the future. The story itself is fast-paced and I like the international feel and the history behind the country where the story is set (Adria). What made me like See How They Run slightly less than the first book is that the main character Grace is starting to sound more and more self-absorbed and it is getting annoying. I understand she has had some pretty bad experiences in the past, but it tiring to constantly read how broken and messed up she is and that people should stay away… And I’m not sure about Alexei either. Still, I will be waiting impatiently until the next book is published next year.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Grace still isn’t over whatever happened that day her mom died, and it seems like her past has come back to haunt her. She might be in danger yet again, and this time she won’t be the only one who will get hurt if she doesn’t stop it on time. Embassy Row is a complicated place, and one wrong move can completely destroy the fragile balance… Especially between countries with a history like the US and Russia. That one night at a party turns into something a whole lot darker, and soon Grace and her friends will have to work together to find out what really happened before people draw the wrong conclusions and others get hurt. But who can be trusted?

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Like I said before, See How They Run is not as good as the first book, but only by little and mostly because of Grace. The prose itself is easy to read and as good as ever, and together with a solid plot and many plot twists it is without doubt an entertaining read. The cliffhanger ending can be taken both ways, especially since the third book will recently be published in 2017, but it definitely leaves room for another very intriguing story. If you like a good YA spy thriller, make sure to pick up this series.

BOOK REVIEW: All Fall Down – by Ally Carter

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Title: All Fall Down
(Embassy Row #1)
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: YA, Mystery. Thriller
First published: January 20th 2015
Finished reading: August 24th 2015
Pages: 320
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“Power has always corrupted, my dear. Even the promise of power. It is a hard thing to look at through the fence for hundreds of years without wondering what it would be like on the other side.”

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To be honest, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect of this novel and All Fall Down ended up to be more than a pleasant surprise. I loved the international setting and the fact the main characters lived in the different embassies in Adria. Ally Carter‘s prose is easy to read and the past is fast, making this first part of the Embassy Row series a quick and entertaining read. The story is full of action and the whole mystery around the death of Grace’s mother is intriguing. Grace clearly suffered after her mother died and people think she is crazy when she claims it was actually murder. When she goes back to the US Embassy to live with her grandfather, she is determined to find proof she’s right… Clearly, Grace is a very interesting character and I liked most of the other main characters as well. If you like YA mystery/thriller stories with a lot of action and an international setting, you would probably enjoy All Fall Down as much as I did. The only minor drawback is that the sequel has yet to be published…

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After Grace saw her mother die in a fire, she is certain that it was actually murder. She tells everone she saw the man that killed her mother, but people believe she’s simply overreacting and losing her mind. Grace doesn’t care and is determined she will find the killer one day and make him pay for what he did. But since nobody actually believes what she saw, there is no one she can completely trust. When she is sent to the US Embassy in Adria to spend with her ambassador grandfather, Grace is ready to go looking for answers. She is not like her mother and doesn’t exactly feels herself at home in this new formal diplomatic world. They can’t really control her and she has a tendency towards trouble; will she be able to keep safe as her past comes back to haunt her?

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I was looking forward to this novel ever since I first heard about it and I’m glad I’ve finally read it. It wasn’t exaclty what I was expecting, but I actually ended up enjoying it even better! The prose, plot and characters make All Fall Down into a very entertaining and fast read that I would definitely recommend if you like the genre. The ending is a mayor cliffhanger though; I need the sequel NOW!!! Hopefully the new publish date this December won’t be posponed…