Review: These Shallow Graves (UGH)

 

These Shallow Graves

 

I will (yet again) be the black sheep with this book. Nothing happened in this book!

This is the story of Josephine Montfort, a girl born into privilege in a time when all a young  teenage lady should think about is finding a husband and having babies. That is not what Jo is focused on, she wants to help solver the mystery of her father’s death. See, she was born to be a writer, an investigator. She wants to get her hands dirty discovering the truth behind tough stories and then writing them for the world to read. She has a voice that won’t be silences and getting married will certainly silence her. She teams up with Eddie, a reporter that is on the case to help solve her father’s death and the mystery surrounding why someone might want to harm him. Along the way, she finds that fancies Eddie and just might be developing feelings for him.

The premise for the book is what drew me in. Murder! Mystery! Thriller! Whodunit?! Alas, that is not what this book delivered. The author spent far too much time talking about how a proper young girl in the 1800s was supposed to act (getting married and having babies was TOP priority!) and not enough time talking about the mystery of who killed the MC’s father. World building is one thing, but this book went so far beyond that with chapters and chapters of mourning dresses, teas, and how a teenage girl should be properly courted. That has nothing to do with the price of milk so why include so many long winded chapters about it? I found myself skimming chapters just to get past that nonsense.

I do not think it was not necessary to make the MC so blatantly naive and dumb. The author made the MC come across as if she barely stepped foot out of the house. She knew absolutely nothing of the world outside unless it involved the silver spoon she had been born with. I didn’t like any of the characters and did not care what happened to them. The plot had horrible pacing issues and the story line was trying to do too much – was it a murder/mystery or purely historical fiction? Make up your mind because it was not good at either.

I had such high hopes for this book and was painfully let down. At one point the MC said she wanted nothing to do with being courted or getting married, but then she thought of Eddie and she couldn’t stop swooning. I felt no connection between the two of them because they were both idiots. Flat, shallow idiots.

It should be no surprise that I did not like this book. The cover is completely misleading so do not let it sway you into starting this one. The audio itself is over 13 hours. HOW can a book about nothing be so long winded? Do yourself a favor, pass on this one.

 

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Top Ten Books I Plan To Read On The Beach

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week I’m listing my…

Top Ten Books I Plan To Read On The Beach

The Fill-In Boyfriend
Who does not love a good Kasie West swoony read? ❤
Top Ten Clues You're Clueless
This one has been sitting on my shelf just begging to be read.
Nantucket Blue (Nantucket, #1)
UM… YEAH
Nantucket Red (Nantucket, #2)
Finish book 1, then quickly follow up with book 2. WINNING.
The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)
SWOON…. Rachel Harris books are just fun
Open Road Summer
I haven’t had a lot of luck with Emery Lord books but I want to give this one a try.
Second Chance Summer
This is the one Morgan Matson book I haven’t read! It’s about time I tackle it.
The Square Root of Summer
This book just needs to be read.
Girl Against the Universe
This book has been on my WANT list for a while and now that I have it, I need to read it. Excited!
The Fixer (The Fixer, #1)
Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ books are just amazeballs. I cannot wait to read this.
What books would you like to read on the beach??
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ARC Review: Frannie and Tru (Pass on this one as well!)

Frannie and Tru

 

All of these debut books are starting to read as if they are the same. This was no different than the rest I have read recently. It started promising and then turned boring, leaving me to wonder what I just read.

This is the story of cousins Frannie and Tru(man). Frannie overhears her mother talking on day and mentions that Truman (who goes by Tru) is gay. Tru’s parents are so upset by this news that they send him away to stay with Frannie for the summer. Frannie is elated to have her cousin around. I know there is more to the story but it was so uneventful that it isn’t worth mentioning.

This story should have had a bigger LGBT part but alas, it did not. Clearly the topic was mentioned and it is supposed to be part of the story, but I felt it was barely touched upon.

Frannie was an interesting character but not enough that I found myself really liking her. She wanted to be liked and therefore tried her best to be “the good girl”. She did everything her parents asked of her, did not cause a commotion in school or in public, and always told the truth. I was hoping she would change a little bit when Tru showed up for the summer, but instead, everything became repetitive. They did and said the same things over and over and over and… She never became a risk taker outside of her own mind. I also felt there was more of a story in her mind than what was going on between the two of them. In the end, I ended up not really liking her character very much.

There was also no character development for Truman as the story wen ton. He started out complex and ended the same way. He came from a family of jerks so he remained one as well. His father was a jerk (obviously) and Tru didn’t think it was necessary to change. There was nothing redeeming about him so I’m moving on.

There was talk of “family secrets” in the blurb of this book, but I am sorry to relay that they will completely let the reader down. I was expecting something big and mind-blowing, instead, what I got was incredibly anticlimactic.

Yet again, another disappointing book. I really had high hopes since this book promised LGBT and family secrets but none of those were really explored. What might have made this story a little better was if it had included Tru’s POV. The entire book is told from Frannie’s POV but Tru’s might have given this story depth. Regardless, the world will never know because that is not how it was written. From other reviews I have read, I am the black sheep with this book and I am okay with it. Maybe I am just not the right reader but this one was not for me. That is why I gave this book 2 stars.

 

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SST: Summer of Sloane

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Summer of Sloane

 

Welcome to March’s Sunday Street Team! This month’s feature author is Erin L Schneider and her new book Summer of Sloane! By now I’m sure you are super excited for this book so here is some quick info on it:

Goodreads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22537367-summer-of-sloane

 

Synopsis (GR):


Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.

But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

 

About the Author:

Erin L. Schneider is native to the Pacific Northwest, attended college in Honolulu – and although Hawaiian – should never be allowed on a surfboard. With more than twenty years in corporate merchandising, she’s now a full-time writer living in Seattle with her husband, Neal; their baby boy, Kellan; a rowdy German shepherd named Ronin; and two crazy cats, Ono and Poke. She’s a member of both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and SCBWI, and is also co-founder of the YA Buccaneers.

SUMMER OF SLOANE is her debut novel, out May 3, 2016 from Disney-Hyperion. Visit Erin online at Erin L Schneider or on Twitter: @ErinLSchneider1.

Erin is represented by literary agent Lisa Grubka of Fletcher & Company.

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Review

 

I am happy to say that this book pleasantly surprised me! This was fun and quick read. I finished in just under two days. I can promise that this book will make you wish for warmer weather, the beaches of Hawaii, and hot beachy boys once you are done.

This is the story of Sloane, a soon to be High School senior, that just had her life turned upside down by her best friend and boyfriend. She is given some truly devastating news: her best friend and boyfriend slept together behind her back. The level of betrayal Sloane feels is beyond words.  In hopes of trying to figure things out, Sloane and her twin brother Penn travel to Hawaii to spend the summer with their mother. Right before they get on the plane, Sloane leaves her boyfriend with an impressive right hook that breaks his nose in several places and breaks her wrist. She does not let the new cast slow her down once she arrive in Hawaii. She immediately falls back into old routines of hanging out with amazing friends, her truly awesome mom & step dad, and even getting back in the water. Sloane ends up crossing paths with the very handsome son of the hotel owner, Finn. Things between Sloane and Finn heat up fast. No matter what happens, Sloane is constantly pulled back to her past and what transpired before she boarded the plane. Sloane is not the only one who has dark secrets – Finn has secrets of his own that will come to light.

I was immediately pulled into Sloane’s world and fell in love with Erin Schneider’s writing. This was a quick read, yes, but it also deals with series topics. Sloane is a very strong MC and I appreciate that. The struggle Sloane had trying to cut ties to her life outside of Hawaii really hit home with me. The news Sloane received before she left for the summer is something that isn’t easily brushed under the rug. This story was the perfect balance of serious topics and light beachy reading.

Let’s talk for a moment about the supporting characters. They were so all wonderful and necessary and they felt so real. They had flaws like everyone else, but they also jumped quickly to the wrong conclusions and were too quick to judge without knowing the facts. Anyone else guilty of that? Yeah, me too. That’s what made them so good. I found myself invested in what happened to all of them.

This book has more depth than I think people are giving it credit for. It cannot be easy for an author to take a rather serious topic and give it a somewhat airy, light spin and drop knowledge without the reader realizing it. But take caution when starting this story, it truly is unputdownable. You have been warned.

 

 

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Books Left Unread #27

 

Wallpaper-Books

Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

 

This week’s post is dedicated to Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White.

 

 

Illusions of Fate

 

This looks like it is right up my alley, fantasy and romance… but sadly it has sit on my bookshelf looking pretty. Have you read this? What did you think? Should I pick it up for a quick read?

 

 

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THE SECRETS WE KEEP Paperback Release Week Blitz

 

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RockStar Book Tours

 

 

I am so excited to help spread the word that THE SECRETS WE KEEP by Trisha Leaver is now out in paperback! If you haven’t yet added this awesome book to your shelf, now’s the perfect time. Just scroll down to learn more about the book and author, to read an excerpt, and to enter the giveaway for a chance to win an Amazon gift card!

 

About THE SECRETS WE KEEP

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Title: The Secrets We Keep

Author: Trisha Leaver

Paperback release date: April 26, 2016

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) | Square Fish

Pages: 304

Formats: Paperback 978-1250073624), hardcover (978-

0374300463), audio (978-1501212222), eBook (ASIN:

B00OFKKFFQ)

Genre: YA Contemporary

Ages: 12 and up

Description:

Twin sisters. A fatal accident. A devastating lie. Which girl survived?

“A girl takes over her twin sister’s identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.”

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy’s shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she’s chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy’s world.

When– after a heated argument– Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves Maddy dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy.

Feeling responsible for Maddy’s death and everyone’s grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. And everyone believes her. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options– confess her deception and risk devastating those who loved Maddy, or give up her own dreams and live her sister’s life.

Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | IndieBound | Goodreads

 

Praise 

*”Leaver’s brilliant novel is the high school version of What Happened to Janie? The compelling premise will attract readers and the strong characterization will keep them enthralled.” -VOYA, STARRED REVIEW

*“Leaver’s story is certainly entertaining and intriguing. VERDICT This should be a primary purchase for any library with patrons who love melodramatic mysteries and romance.” SLJ, STARRED AUDIO REVIEW

Named one of the best YA Novels for Summer by Teen Vogue (2015)

“Watching Ella grapple with questions about life, death, and love makes for rewarding reading.” ~Publishers Weekly

“Leaver’s masterful skill of storytelling and portrayal of sisterly love makes THE SECRETS WE KEEP a lit- erary beauty.” ~Teenreads

“Trisha Leaver crafts a powerful and haunting novel that will keep you up long after you read the last page. Full of twists and turns and FEELS, this book questions how far a person will go for her family . . . even if it means losing herself.” – Lynne Matson, author of NIL

“The love and loss of a twin sister leads to a powerfully complex and heart-wrenching journey of self- discovery. The depth and complexity of Ella grows on each page, and I soon found myself immersed in her personal struggle. She is so fully developed that her seemingly unbelievable choice is not only believable, but completely understandable.” ~ Scott Blagden, author of DEAR LIFE, YOU SUCK

“Haunting and beautiful, THE SECRETS WE KEEP, is a gripping, evocative examination of siblings’ complex relationships. It compels us to question what we know, or think we know, about our loved ones and– most of all– ourselves.” ~Karen Rock, Award-winning YA author and co-writer of the bestselling CAMP BOYFRIEND series “THE SECRETS WE KEEP is a book who truly earns the title “gripping,” and refused to be put down until the very last page.” ~ Cuyler Creech, Teen Library Toolbox

 

Teaser Quotes

 

“There was a fear behind his words, a fear that I would change my mind and reveal a secret I didn’t even know.”

 

“No amount of lipstick could cover up her ugly personality.”

“I am already gone. I died that night on the side of the road with my sister.”

 

Excerpt

I don’t remember her room being so cold. Even snuggled into her sweater the chill seeps in, settling into my bones like a whisper from beyond. That’s where I will sleep tonight…in Maddy’s bed, surround by her scent. Mom wants to change the sheets, but I won’t let her. The hint of vanilla mingled with Alex’s dark cologne brings a little piece of my sister back to me each night. The only thing I have left of my old life is a few sketches and a poor replica of the friendship bracelet Josh gave me. It took me days to re-create, to weave the strings into the right pattern.

It’s not perfect, but it goes with me everywhere, a tiny reminder of who I once was and what Josh still means to me. The real bracelet is gone, cut off and tossed aside just like my life. I want to make peace with my choice, but Maddy’s secret haunts me. The dark pieces of her life are hid- den in the back of her closet for no one but me to see. She’s not who I thought she was, but that doesn’t matter. Maddy was my sister, my twin sister, and I’ll do anything for her, including losing myself.

 

About Trisha Leaver

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Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather disobedient black lab. She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life. She writes Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Psychological Horror and Science Fiction and is pub- lished with FSG/ Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press. Her YA Contemporary, THE SECRETS WE KEEP, was named one of the best YA novels for summer (2015) by Teen Vogue and received starred reviews from VOYA Magazine and School Library Journal (audio). For more details, check out her website at http://www.trishaleaver.com

Find her: Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

The Giveaway Details

There is a blitz-wide giveaway, courtesy of the author, for:

• ONE (1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card

***Giveaway is open to anyone 13 or older who can accept an Amazon Gift Card***

The Giveaway Rafflecopter

 

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May Subscription Box Review: Uppercase!

Welcome! Every month I try to post a review of my monthly subscription boxes but as of May, I only have one sub box since I was starting to feel they weren’t worth the money. You can probably tell from the title of this post that I canceled my OwlCrate subscription as that was the most expensive and it was starting to really not be worth it (IMHO). So allow me to review with you – May Uppercase!

Uppercase

This sub box arrived late due to mishandling from USPS (thanks, jerks). It should then be no surprise when I say I knew what was going to be in the package long before I opened it. sigh This month’s box was rather underwhelming in my eyes. Included this month: Signed copy of Girl Against the Universe  by Paula Stokes (a true fave author of mine); GATU bookmark and sticker; another bookmark advertising a new type of tea inspired by Jane Austen; a package of loose leaf tea; and a package of 4 postcards.

Uh… the only thing that I am excited about is the book. I have wanted to get my grubby hands on this book since it was announced. I could honestly do without the rest of the stuff. The post cards aren’t from any story, nor are there any notations on the back (they are all the same, btw) so I don’t know if someone created them or whats what with them. I do not drink tea so that do not interest me one bit.

 

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Do I feel May’s Uppercase was worth my hard earned money? No, I do not. I did see pictures of what was sent from OwlCrate and I can tell you that I am thrilled I canceled that one. I wasn’t interested in anything they sent month.

So riddle me this – would you continue this subscription? Should I give it one more chance or cut my losses altogether and move on? I know which way I am leaning but would love to hear your opinion.

 

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