ARC REVIEW: Feel Me Fall – by James Morris @XpressoTours

Title: Feel Me Fall
Author: James Morris

Genre: YA, Mystery, Adventure
First published: May 2nd 2017
Publisher: XPresso Book Tours
Finished reading: May 25th 2017
Pages: 260

“Books have given me an escape from my own forgettable life. They’ve taken me to places I’ll probably never see. They’ve introduced me to people and events and made me feel less alone. Words aren’t just words; they’re alchemy.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and XPresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve read and enjoyed a few of James Morris‘ stories in the past, so when I was approached with the question if I wanted to read Feel Me Fall I was sold as soon as I read the blurb. I like books with a different setting and this survival story (partly) set in the Amazon jungle definitely triggered my curiosity. Feel Me Fall is basically about a bunch of teenagers first surviving a plane crash and then having to find a way to survive in the middle of the Amazon jungle until help arrives. These survival scenes are mixed with typical high school scene flashbacks and short chapters where the sole survivor Emily tells her story. This mix of contemporary and adventure definitely made Feel Me Fall into a very interesting read! The story started out strong and I really enjoyed the writing style; it’s very engaging. It’s a quick read with a fast pace and especially the survival chapters stood out for me. One thing though: I would have probably enjoyed this story even better without the many high school cliches and more importantly multiple love triangles. The first I can live with, but the love triangles and ‘forbidden’ love parts didn’t really add anything substantial to the story and distracted from the main plot (which is interesting enough on its own). That doesn’t take away I still very much enjoyed this story and Feel Me Fall will also have a plot twist or two that will surprise you. And that ending!

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Emily Duran is the sole survivor of a plane crash that left her and a few other teenagers alone in the middle of the Amazon jungle. They will have to try and survive until help arrives… And hope people will actually find them in the middle of nowhere. The group is lost and they are slowly losing hope as they struggle against the elements and also each other… Because they weren’t exactly all friends back home, and it’s hard to trust each other when in full survival mode. Why is Emily the only one left alive? What happened to the others?

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Feel Me Fall is without doubt a superfast and entertaining read. I really liked the mix of Amazon survival/adventure chapters with contemporary high school flashbacks and those set in the hospital after Emily is rescued. It’s just the right balance and makes this story that much more interesting to read. I could have done without the cliches and love triangles, but overall this is definitely a great read. The writing style is very engaging!


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ARC REVIEW: One Of Us Is Lying – by Karen M. McManus @writerkmc @DelacortePress

Title: One Of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus

Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
First published: May 30th 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Finished reading: May 18th 2017
Pages: 368

“Nobody could stand him, but they’re all holding candles like he’s some kind of martyr instead of a gossipy douchebag.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Delacorte Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I had actually wrongly assumed One Of Us Is Lying was a contemporary romance read the first time I saw it and wasn’t sure it would be for me, so I didn’t add it to my wishlist straight away… So I guess I have to thank Ashley @ Socially Awkward Bookworm for putting this book on my radar with her review. One Of Us Is Lying is without doubt one of the best YA mystery stories I’ve read so far this year. This is unreliable narrators and plot twists at its best; I did kind of guess part of the ending early on, but there is no way this story won’t at least partly surprise you. The story starts out strong and it sets the tone for the rest of the story. The main characters start out as high school cliches, but as you continue reading they slowly start to evolve and their development is very well executed. Despite the cliches it’s really easy to connect to the four suspects and they are one of the reasons this story works so well. My favorites would be Cooper and Bronwyn, but all four have their charm. The plot twists are excellent and definitely make you wonder what is true and who is lying; the ending wasn’t a complete surprise but was still satisfying. If you like the genre and you’re up for a healthy dose of high school secrets and excellent twists, One Of Us Is Lying is the book for you!

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Five students at Bayview High walk into detention, and only four walk out alive… Had any of the four something to do with the dead of Simon, an outcast and creator of the notorious Bayview High gossip app? The investigators say his death wasn’t an accident, and they are looking at the four students for their suspect. Bronwyn is the brain and never breaks a rule, Addy is the beauty and a homecoming princess, Nate is the criminal and on probation for dealing and Cooper the athlete and all-star baseball pitcher. Did one of them kill Simon? Because it seems like they did have motive, because Simon had planned to post juicy reveals about all four of them the next day…

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One Of Us Is Lying ended up being even better than I thought it would be. Sure, the characters started out as cliches, but they were really easy to connect to and ended up growing into something so much more… The writing style is highly enjoyable and only adds to the fast pace of this story. The plot twists are excellent as well and all in all I had a great time reading it. More than recommended!


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BOOK REVIEW: The Start Of Me And You – by Emery Lord

Title: The Start of Me And You
Author: Emery Lord

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: March 31st 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Finished reading: April 14th 2017
Pages: 376

“In books, sometimes the foreshadowing is so obvious that you know what’s going to happen. But knowing what happens isn’t the same as knowing how it happens. Getting there is the best part.”

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Confession: contemporary romance is not really my thing and I normally tend to avoid the genre… But I was in desperate need for a change of genre and I enjoyed Emery Lord‘s other story When We Collided, so I decided to give The Start Of Me And You a go. I didn’t read the blurb before I started and I thought it was going to be a ‘happy’ read, so it’s easy to say I was surprised when I was confronted with another case of grief instead. Although the sad part was mostly in the beginning. The writing style itself is very enjoyable to read and I literally flew through the pages. Like many YA contemporary romance novels I’ve read in the past, the plot of The Start Of Me And You is quite cheesy and predictable and unfortunately this is yet another story with one of the most annoying romance tropes possible: a love triangle. And quite a frustrating love triangle as well as the main character Paige is SO blind during most of the story! I had mixed thoughts about the characters (LOVED Max, wasn’t so sure of Paige for example), but I did enjoy all those little geeky elements that were included. Like I said before, about 90% of the story is way too cheesy for me and the plot was quite predictable, but I can see why fans of the genre would love The Start Of Me And You. I personally didn’t love it, but I did enjoy it better than I thought I would. Without doubt an easy, entertaining and fluffy read!

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Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident last year, and she is still struggling to get her life back on track. People still feel sorry for her and give her THAT LOOK all the time, but Paige has a plan this time for a fresh start at her high school. Five simple steps that should help her convince everyone she’s back to normal… Including finally getting her old crush Ryan Chase to date her. But that plan will not work out as she thought it would… And she might end up doing something completely different instead.

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If you are a fan of slightly cheesy, predictable but incredibly fluffy YA contemporary romance stories, you will probably end up loving The Start Of Me And You. Personally it was a little too sweet to my taste, but it was a rather welcome break from more ‘serious’ books… This story starts out a little sad, but is mostly about Paige trying to get her life back on track. It’s a cute read, but the love triangle did get quite annoying after a while (especially since Max is so adorkable!). All in all not the best I’ve read, but without doubt still satisfying.


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ARC REVIEW: Making Faces – by Amy Harmon

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Title: Making Faces
Author: Amy Harmon

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: October 12th 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Finished reading: January 28th 2017
Pages: 405
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“I don’t think we get answers to every question. We don’t get all the whys. But I think when we look back to the end of our lives, if we do the best we can, and we will see that the things we begged God to take from us, the things we cursed him for, the things that made us turn our backs on him, are the things that were the biggest blessings, the biggest opportunities for growth.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Spencer Hill Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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It’s been over two weeks since I finished reading Making Faces and I still find it difficult to put my thoughts properly on paper. It doesn’t happen all that often, but Amy Harmon was able to give me another book hang over with this little masterpiece. I’m ashamed to admit I have only recently discovered her work, but I’ve already become addicted to her lovely prose and diverse plots. Making Faces is no exception. I had already heard great things about this book and I basically broke down the request button as soon as I saw it was available at Netgalley. All the raving reviews were absolutely right: this story is simply brilliant. I fell in love with both the characters, writing style and plot and this story will definitely stay with me for quite some time. Sure, some of it might be a little cheesy if you think about it critically. But if you have characters like Fern, Bailey and Ambrose, it is really easy to put those thoughts aside. I loved the war veteran elements as well; it’s such an important topic and definitely deserves more attention, especially as they are often misunderstood by society. As you might have guessed already, I simply adored Making Faces and I can definitely recommend it to any contemporary fan. I promise you that you will fall in love with the characters and their story! This new edition published by Spencer Hill Press later this month has some nifty bonus content as well.

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Ambrose Young’s looks and talent have made him really popular during his high school years. He isn’t just tall, muscular and good at sports, he also seems to have walked right off the cover of one of those romance novels. Fern Taylor should know, because she has been reading them since she was thirteen. Fern has had a crush on him for years, but she isn’t exactly the ‘prettiest’ girl in town and she doesn’t think Ambrose would ever look at her that way. But life isn’t just about physical attraction and works in funny ways. After the 9/11 attacks, Ambrose and his four friends decide to join the cause and were sent off to war. Only one comes back… And the whole town struggles to deal with the loss; each in their own way.

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I kind of feel I’m not doing the story justice with this summary, but I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot… This line in the blurb describes the general idea behind Making Faces beautifully though: “a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast where we discover that there is little beauty and a little beast in all of us“. It’s contemporary romance with a healthy dose of realistic fiction, a cup of tears and mixed with lovely characters and a very important topic. I basically loved everything about it and this story has confirmed Amy Harmon is one of my new favorite authors.


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BOOK REVIEW: Trouble Is A Friend Of Mine – by Stephanie Tromly

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Title: Trouble Is A Friend Of Mine
(Trouble #1)
Author: Stephanie Tromly
Genre: YA, Mystery, Contemporary
First published: August 4th 2015
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Finished reading: September 21st 2016
Pages: 352
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“Preparing to survive a typical day of being Digby’s friend wasn’t that different from preparing to survive the apocalypse.”

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While I was browsing books, I remembered someone had recommended this title to me some time last year. I thought it sounded like a fun read, so I decided to give Trouble Is A Friend Of Mine a go. And now I’ve finished it, I’m not sure what to make of it. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy reading it, but there is no doubt that the whole plot and story just is a bit too absurd and over the top for me. I feel like this book is trying too hard… Either way the plot just isn’t credible and doesn’t make any sense. I’m also having mixed thoughts about the main characters and I’m not sure I actually like them… That said, somehow I still managed to enjoy reading the story. It might be the prose, it might be the fast pace, it might be the weirdness of it all, but Trouble Is A Friend Of Mine is without doubt entertaining. If you like unpredictable contemporaries with a dash of humor, this would be an excellent choice.

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After her parents get divorced, Zoe moves with her mother from Brooklyn to upstate New York. She is determined to get back to the city and transfer to the elite private school her father wants her to go to. But then she meets Philip Digby, and he is by no means an ordinary guy. Zoe soon finds herself in a series of both hilarious and dangerous situations just by being a friend of Digby’s. Digby wants to find the kidnapper of a local teenage girl, because the kidnapper might know something about the disappearance of his little sister eight years ago. But helping Digby comes at a cost, and Zoe will have to step out of her comfort zone if she wants to keep up.

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I thought I was going to enjoy Trouble Is A Friend Of Mine better than I actually did, but the plot just was a little too absurd to my taste. It felt almost like the story and their characters were trying too hard to be funny and original. That said, it’s still a superfast read and I actually ended up enjoying it despite the crazy ride. If you like weird books with a lot of unpredictable situations, this book is definitely for you.

BOOK REVIEW: Seven Ways We Lie – by Riley Redgate

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Title: Seven Ways We Lie
Author: Riley Redgate
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: March 8th 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
Finished reading: June 30th 2016
Pages: 352
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“I stand there looking after him with the feeling that – just like that, in one careless moment – I might’ve ruined somebody’s life.”

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I have heard mixed things about this book in the past, and now I’ve read Seven Ways We Lie myself I’m not sure what to make of it. Sure, this novel by Riley Redgate is a fast read, the prose mostly reads easy and is quite entertaining in general. Sure, I liked the idea of the seven deadly sins incorporated into the story and reading about the different characters and their problems and lies. But those seven different POVs did make it harder to focus on the story, get a proper feel for the characters and the plot and properly enjoy this book in general. I was quite confused by the all the different names in the beginning and it took me a while to really tell them apart… And the deadly sin references weren’t as obvious as I thought they would be. Seven Ways We Lie was without doubt a good enough and fast read, but the whole ‘lying teenagers with secrets’ theme was not that original. Also, I liked some characters better than others and especially Juniper’s chapters felt a bit forced ‘artsy’ and started to annoy me. My favorite characters would probably be Olive and Matt, although I liked Valentine and Lucas as well with his whole pansexual angle. In short, it’s a nice enough YA contemporary novel if you enjoy the genre, but not as good as I thought it would be.

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Seven students at Paloma High School are each resisting the allure of one of the seven deadly sins, and all have their own secrets. Each of the students tells their story from their own point of view, and slowly their lives are starting to intertwine more and more… What do a thespian, closeted pansexual, neurotic genious, the perfect girl and a few others have in common? Nothing obvious, until the rumors of a student-teacher affair hit the fan and suddenly the whole school wants to find out the identity of the guilty couple. But aren’t all students guilty of something in the first place? The perfect girl might not be so perfect after all after her secrets comes out, and it’s up to the other six sinners to keep her secret safe. But can they resist their temptations?

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To be honest, I’m having a hard time rating Seven Ways To Lie. In a way, I quite enjoyed reading this story and it was a really fast read, but I also had some minor problems with it that made me enjoy the story less. The biggest issue would probably be the fact that there are many different characters and POVs, which makes it hard to properly connect to the story. I also would have liked seeing more of the seven deadly sins incorporated in the book… But all in all it is still an entertaining enough read if you normally enjoy reading the genre.

BOOK REVIEW: Tell Me Three Things – by Julie Buxbaum

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Title: Tell Me Three Things
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Finished reading: June 21st 2016
Pages: 336
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“One of the worst parts about someone dying is thinking back to all those times you didn’t ask the right questions, all those times you stupidly assumed you’d have all the time in the world. And this too: how all that time feels like not much time at all.”

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After hearing repeatedly I just HAD to read this book, I decided to give and pick up Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum. And I’m glad I did, because I really loved it! In a way I’m still surprised I enjoyed this story as much as I did, because the idea behind the plot is not exactly original and does sound a bit cheesy. To make things even worse: there is even a love triangle (rectangle?!) included in Tell Me Three Things, which normally is a huge dealbreaker for me. I’m not saying the whole multiple love interest theme wasn’t annoying, but this book is one of the few exceptions where I can still thoroughly enjoy the story anyway. Sure, some of the plot is quite cheesy and the way the story it told (using e-mails and text messages) might not be original, but in Tell Me Three Things it just works. This novel has a fast pace, is both easy and highly entertaining to read and is without doubt an excellent summer read. And although I wasn’t completely convinced by Jessie as a main character (I’m still not sure I actually like her), I absolutely LOVED SN. The whole mystery behind his identity definitely makes this read addicting and you will most likely love the ending! Recommended for those who enjoy reading contemporary romance and/or need a feel-good story.

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It’s been two years since her mother died, and Jessie’s father has decided to get married again with a woman he met online. The worst part: Jessie is forced to move across the country, leave behind her best friend and old life and live with her new stepmonster and teenage son in Los Angeles. She doesn’t feel at home at all in this new town, home and school where everything and everyone seems so different. But just as she is thinking about escaping and somehow go back to Chicago, she receives an email from a person calling himself Somebody/Nobody (SN). SN offers to help her find her way in Wood Valley High School, but Jessie is not so sure the sender is actually honest. She doesn’t want to accept his help, but what else is there to do in a situation that feels this desperate? Jessie decides to write back and rely on the information SN gives, and slowly she is starting to feel a bit better about her new life… And SN is starting to play a big role in her life. But who is SN in real life? Jessie wants to met SN in person, but maybe some mysteries should stay unsolved…

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I have to say I wasn’t sure about this book at first, because I’m normally not really into (cheesy) romance stories. I decided to give it a go anyway after quite a few raving reviews, and Tell Me Three Things turns out to be the exception to the rule. Sure, this story has a love triangle, a (partly) cheesy plot and might not be that original, but I loved it anyway. This novel by Julie Buxbaum is the perfect feel-good read that anyone who enjoys reading the genre should give a go.