When – Victoria Laurie Review

  
I don’t have very many thriller YA novels that I’ve read and therefore don’t have much to compare this to. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Victoria Laurie delivers a suspenseful story with realistic characters.

When focuses on a sixteen year old girl with a relatively normal life… I say relative because she has a unique gift. Massive Fynn can see the death date of anyone she looks at. After her fathers death, her mother developed a drinking problem and Maddie reads the death date for her clients so she can keep up with house payments and bills. After doing a reading for one client, a young boy turns up dead and the FBI are pointing fingers at Maddie. When more people are discovered missing, Maddie must do whatever she can to declare her innocence and find the real killer. 

When I read the synopsis of this book I wasn’t expecting what I got. I thought it would be focused on her ability and be more paranormal but I’m happy that it wasn’t. The entire novel carried a slight eerie feeling with it that really added to the plot and made me want to keep reading. Maddie was very realistic. As a sixteen year old who is being accused of murder, she appeared very genuine. Despite her mothers drinking problem, I didn’t hate her for it, in fact I just felt very bad for her. I understood the place she was coming from and although she did frustrate me at tines, mostly I felt pity for her. 

Maddie has a very good relationship with her bestfriend that I think everyone wishes they could have. He never doubts Maddie and he never blames her even when the cops start turning their heads to him. 

I really liked the role of Maddie’s uncle and I’m happy that he was her lawyer and not a random character. 

I did not expect the the delivery guy to be the murderer however. He was the last person I thought. But it was good to be surprised.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a YA thriller and anyone who wants to be shocked for the outcome. 

4/5 stars

Sincerely,

B

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The Boy Most Likely To – Huntley Fitzpatrick Review 

The Boy Most Likely To by: Huntley Fitzpatrick

Genre: Contemporary/ YA

Rating: 4/5 stars

Writing Style: Dual perspective of two main protagonists Tim and Alice.

Review

Finally, the anticipated companion to My Life Next Door. Tim and Alice’s story, their bond and their growth as two very powerful secondary characters. The rollercoaster of emotions that come with Tim and his ill minded choices, the boy most likely to do everything wrong and still have room to do it again. Two characters so completely different that relate on a drastic level. With Tim, his life is a mess, he lives above a garage, his parents aren’t his number one fans, and he has four months to change to a model citizen. Alice, the girl most likely to date ‘em, dominate ‘em, ditch ‘em all while caring for her family as a parental figure. There lives couldn’t be more different, but one moment, one choice could change it all. With a disarming plot twist, Tim is faced with his past head on while all trying to be the son his father wants him to be, just as Alice is realizing the right choice isn’t always the only choice. While past meets present, these two compelling voices echo an understanding that builds them up and tears them down, and changes them and the people that matter altogether. There’s just something about the way Huntley Fitzpatrick writes, the way she can switch perspectives so easily and construct this world and personality in the eyes of these characters you just can’t help but fall in love with. The earnest way she delivers a punchline or develops a plot point in this character’s path that enthrals you to root for them in the long run.

I’d like to thank Huntley for caring out such a charming and well matching companion to The Life Next Door, and for fulfilling most of the loose ends untied in the first novel. I quite enjoyed the dual perspective between Tim and Alice, being able to get more of the Garrett family and their wacky adventures and humorous dialogue never ceases to make me laugh. I felt that throughout this book, I found a new appreciation for Alice and what she does as an outstanding family member in the ruckus that is the Garrett life. In agreement, the likeness I found for Tim from Jase and Samantha’s story grew exponentially with the growth his character achieved. The dynamic between characters in this novel really pulled on my heartstrings, and I think Huntley has a knack for developing those relationships no matter how small or ill mentioned they may be. The connections felt are immensely real and give the reader a reason to care and feel for these characters. On the contrary, I do wish there was more of a build up for the climax in this book, it did seem quite quick and a tad forced at times but it intentionally got the point across and ended with means of new beginnings. The less potent characters such as Brad and the second hand mentions of characters in Tim’s AA group could have been discussed more and given a larger role. I also wish that there had been more Mr and Mrs. Garrett moments especially regarding Mr. Garrett’s health development and the jumble of in betweens that the family faced in his recovery.

[SPOILERS] I absolutely, positively, love love LOVED Cal and everything Cal. His name is not Calvin it is Cal and that is all. Hester, so much dislike for a character in such a short amount of time. There is just something so stingy about someone so inclined to trap someone into parenthood falsely and with the pre-tense of using your secrecy as a playing card of guilt. Oh Tim’s parents, how my oh my how I wonder why your son became such a biased and golden example of “what not to do when raising a child.” The dynamic between them did not change in the way I would like, though the end product shows just how realistic and heartless their relationship was. Though Tim developed more from this, I was glad to see a growth in his connection with Nan and his mother. The businesslike quality of both Tim’s father and Grace were so easily matched it was insane they didn’t jump the bandwagon and get hitched at the end of the story. The opposition between both protagonist’s family was written beautifully and given such a temperament that really made me appreciate the way Huntley writes her family dynamics. Speaking of family, Nan is and still will be the most annoying character in this series. Her moments did not strengthen her growth or my likeness for her. Her personality will forever be one of which does no wrong but will continue to blame others for her life’s becomings. Grace, oh Grace how easily you have fallen again. Definitely didn’t avenge your falsehood and become the better mother you always dreamed to be for Samantha. Her obsession for politics nearly drove me mad, I really hoped for her change to coincide with a reconcile between her and Alice. Tim’s perspective, his way with words and how his comedic relief was needed even in the desperate of times was so riveting and well combined with the conversations he shared throughout the story. Cal, his existence was priceless and unexpected but boy did he gain momentum and he shared a bond so exquisitely detailed that it brought glee to my eyes for being able to share moments with him and Tim. But let’s talk about Brad, no you weren’t needed and yes you are a creep. LGBT mention, a coach no less! Perfection, utter perfection. Mad props to Tim for getting to have Cal so close and allowing a gay couple the happiness of a family. [SPOILERS]

Overall, the development of these characters are enthralling and contagious to read about. The drastic, the minimal and the null are reasons why you should read this book. It’s captivating as it is hysterical and warming to anyone in need of a romance with a twist. Huntley does an impeccable job of voicing unique characters that inevitably work their way into your heart and plant their souls in there for good measure.

Sincerely, – C.

Saint Anything – Sarah Dessen Review

  
This is the third book by Sarah Dessen that I have ever read and it is by far my favourite.  

Sydney’s lived a pretty normal life; good friends, nice school and cool brother, until one day when her ‘cool’ brother gets behind the wheel after drinking and paralyzes a kid on a bike. After this, everything changed. With her brother in prison, and the guilt of what he has done eating her up, Sydney needs a change. So she switches schools and makes some new friends but she can never escape from the shadow of her big brother, her guilt, her controlling mother and her brother’s creepy friend Ames. Filled with pain and love, this story is sure to grab you from the first page.

Sarah has a way of writing that I have never experienced with another author before. Her stories are so realistic that I feel like I am the one living it. She tends to always have a darker subject within her books, whether it’s DUI, sexual assault, drug abuse or an eating disorder, but it’s always tasteful and never done inappropriately. 

Dessen writes wonderful plots. They aren’t cliff hangers, hanging on the edge of your seat type of plots. It they are beautiful, soulful and tear-jerking. However, even better than her plots are her characters. Dessen writes her characters in a way that makes them real. You become so emotionally invested in these characters you can’t help rooting for them. The writing style is very easy to read and the stories never drag on. 

[SPOILERS] when she got caught and her mother punished her like ten fold I was so frustrated! Her parents never listen to her, it’s always about Peyton which I really hated! She didn’t even feel like she could tell her mother about that pervert Ames! Like what kind of mother are you that your daughter can’t trust you enough to tell you that a guy is creeping her out. And don’t even get me started on her father… Like hello, stand up for what you are thinking. You can’t just agree with your wife when she is wrong… Such a pansy! Okay… Now that I got that off my chest😅 

I had a feeling that Layla still liked Eric especially after the woods scene where he fell asleep. And obviously he still liked her. I am disappointed that it took them so long to realize that thought. [SPOILERS] 

I loved Mac right off the bat. He had this air about him that I really liked. He was kind, smart and he was attractive but he didn’t act like he knew that. Even when he didn’t seem like it, he was always listening. Always ready to ask if Layla or Sydney was okay or if they needed something. I think because he is the only son and because of his mothers illness there is a certain maturity to him that most teenager don’t have which is why Sydney is perfect for him. 

I also love the title reference in the book. I think it worked really nicely.

Finally, I recommend this book to any Sarah Dessen lovers, any contemporary lovers and anyone who wants to cry tears of sadness, happiness and frustration at the same time. 

4.5/5 stars

Sincerely,

B

Rook by Sharon Cameron Review

    
When I started reading Rook, I really wasn’t expecting anything from it and that is the best possible way to go into a book. I had read the synopsis when I first bought it but other than that I didn’t know anything about it. I can say that Shaton Cameron blew me away!

Rook takes place in future Paris years after a revolution that prohibited the use of technology. We follow a girl named Sophia Bellamy, her family and her friends. In the heart of Paris, someone by the name of The Red Rook has been releasing prisoners from their cells and the minister of security will stop at nothing until he finds out who it is. When Sophia’s father signs her off to marry the handsome but suspicious René Hassard, her best friend Spear Hammond starts acting weird and her brother is wrongly accused of being the Red Rook, Sophia will have to learn who she really is and how much her family needs her. 

The story is told in third person, usually with Sophia, however we do get some others’ perspective like the minister of security. The writing style was very flowing and easy to jump into. At the beginning, there are some lines in French (but since I understand the language, this did not cause any problems) but they do not carry a huge importance to the understanding of the plot. 

Rook was fast-paced and action packed. I was never bored. The characters are very relatable and lovable. The plot twist is subtle and when I thought I knew what it was, Cameron switched it up. 

The ending was beautiful and sad. I was very close to crying because the characters really make you attached.

[SPOILERS] I understand why the author killed Spear Hammond and on one hand I understand her decision. He was a way for Sophia to grow as a character. Also, if he lived,  he would never stop trying to beat René at winning Sophia’s heart… Even though it is pretty obvious where her heart is. On the other hand, it was extremely sad because he thought Sophia had died and she was everything he ever wanted. He didn’t want to live in a world without her… That’s really tragic. [SPOILERS]

Over all, I loved this book. It has everything someone can love: romance, strong female character, action and a detestable villain. There could have been a bit more humour but I think it was appropriate that there wasn’t much and when there was humour it was fitting and hilarious. 

I recommend this book to everyone and anyone that wants something fast and different.

4.5 / 5 stars 

Sincerely,

B