Review: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: March 24th 2015
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghosts, Revenge

BLURB:

“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”

The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.

We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.

Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

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Review: The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Publication Date: August 27th 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Female
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Paranormal, Ghosts, Gothic, Friendship, Mystery, Family, Music

BLURB:

Olivia wants a new life, and it might take ghosts to get it. A heartfelt, gently Gothic novel from Claire Legrand.

Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year.

Her mother’s left; her neglectful father, the maestro of a failing orchestra, has moved her and her grandmother into the city’s dark, broken-down concert hall to save money, and her only friend is Igor, an ornery stray cat.

Just when she thinks life couldn’t get any weirder, she meets four ghosts who haunt the hall. They need Olivia’s help; if the hall is torn down, they’ll be stuck as ghosts forever, never able to move on.

Olivia has to do the impossible for her shadowy new friends: save the concert hall. But helping the dead has powerful consequences for the living; and soon it’s not just the concert hall that needs saving.

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Review: The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy, #2) by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: March 3rd 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ)
Genres & Themes: YA, High Fantasy, Romance, War-setting, Conspiracy, Secrets, Betrayal, Family.

BLURB:

Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them. Continue reading

Review: Allegiant (Divergent, #3) by Veronica Roth

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Received: bought
Publication Date: October 22nd 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genres & Themes: YA, Dystopian, Romance, War-setting, Friendship, Secrets.

BLURB:

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered–fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature–and of herself–while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

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Review: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: borrowed
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
POV: 1st (but mostly 3rd person)
Pacing: slow
Genres & Themes: YA, Contemporary, Friendship, Bullying, Mental Illness, Love, Death.

BLURB:

On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

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Review: Hopeless (Hopeless #1) by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Amazon freebie (!!!)
Publication Date: December 19th 2012
Publisher: indie
Pacing: very slow
POV: 1st person & female
Genres & Themes: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Abuse, Love, Secrets, Family, Friendship, Trust.

BLURB:

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

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Review: The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack

The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: September 2nd 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Format: eARC-kindle
Pages: 224
Pacing: slow
POV: 3rd person
Genres & Themes: YA, Angst, Friendship, Steampunk, Mystery (for some.)

BLURB:

Feisty teenage thief Maeko and her maybe-more-than-friend Chaff have scraped out an existence in Victorian London’s gritty streets, but after a near-disastrous heist leads her to a mysterious clockwork cat and two dead bodies, she’s thrust into a murder mystery that may cost her everything she holds dear.

Her only allies are Chaff, the cat, and Ash, the son of the only murder suspect, who offers her enough money to finally get off the streets if she’ll help him find the real killer.

What starts as a simple search ultimately reveals a conspiracy stretching across the entire city. And as Maeko and Chaff discover feelings for each other neither was prepared to admit, she’s forced to choose whether she’ll stay with him or finally escape the life of a street rat. But with danger closing in around them, the only way any of them will get out of this alive is if all of them work together.

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