ARC REVIEW: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

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Shallow Graves

Kali Wallace

Expected publication: January 26th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

YA > Fantasy | Paranormal

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD 

 

3 ★★★1/2

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Breezy remembers leaving the party, the warm, wet grass under her feet, her cheek still stinging from a slap to the face. But when she wakes up, scared and pulling dirt from her mouth, a year has passed and she can’t explain the necklace of bruises around her neck. She also can’t explain the man lying at her grave, dead from her touch.

Returning home seems impossible. Her parents and sisters have clearly grieved and struggled to move on, and Breezy can’t begin to answer their inevitable questions. Her heartbeat comes and goes, she doesn’t need to eat or drink, she can see the inky memories of murderers, and she can somehow pull on this dark guilt to kill them. Haunted by the happy memories from her life and disgusted by the half-dead creature she’s become, Breezy embarks on a reckless quest to find answers and a dangerous healing magic…but the cure is as dark and terrible as the disease.

Set in a gorgeous, terrifying world, Shallow Graves is a stunning novel about the heartbreaking trauma of a girl’s life cut short and her struggle to reconcile her humanity with the creature she’s become.

 

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REVIEW:

 

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Do you want a book that take a hold of your full attention from the first chapter until the end? Then Shallow Graves is for you. This novel is not at all what I expected. I was in a kind of roller coaster ride while I was reading throughout the book. There were a lot of stuff that I really liked and made the book standout but there are certain things that left me confuse as well and it’s making me demand for a sequel.


Breezy was a such a refreshing character.
I’m gonna be honest here, everytime I am about to read a fantasy/paranormal book, I tend to condition myself to be patient because I know there’s a chance that I’ll encounter a whiney and irritating heroine. Add a bunch (yes, a bunch) of hot boys that fights over the love interests affection, and there you go. That is where the story revolves. Thank the book gods the book wasn’t like that, and most importantly, Breezy is not that kind of character. She will make you interested and curious. She’s a great narrator and you will really find your self wrapped up in the story because of her mysterious voice. 

Speaking of mystery, that’s what I really liked the most in this story. Shallow Graves is full of unresolved and thrilling events that will make you glued in to every page. I was torn between reading it slow because I’m really enjoying the atmosphere of the book and reading it fast so I can find out what happens next. The plot of Shallow Graves is not really something I usually read and I love Kalli Wallaces take on cults, monsters and other mythical creatures. She didn’t stick to the cliché but instead, she made her own thing. I wished that I explored more of Breezy’s world, that’s why I can’t help but ask for a follow up story. I feel there’s still so much more that needs to be explained.

There’s not much of a romance side in this book but you will hardly notice it because Breezy’s adventures will take your mind off of it and honestly, I think a romance isn’t necessary for this story anyway. I mean sure, I’m already shipping Breezy with someone (because I can’t help it) but if ever the author makes a sequel, I’d be fine with whatever road she’ll decide.

Shallow Graves will captivate you from the very start. You’ll find yourself at the edge of your seat, biting your fingernails and turning the pages quickly because you want to find out answers. The atmosphere of the book is so impressive for it will really hypnotize you to read the book until the end. With Kalli Wallaces enthralling writing, Shallow Graves will surely linger in your mind for a long time!

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Twitter | Website | Facebook | Instagram

Kali Wallace studied geology and geophysics before she decided she enjoyed inventing imaginary worlds as much as she liked researching the real one. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, F&SF, Asimov’s, Lightspeed Magazine, and Tor.com. Her first novel will be published by Katherine Tegen Books in 2016. She lives in southern California.

 

 


   

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ARC REVIEW: Bookishly Ever After (Ever After #1) by Isabel Bandeira

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Bookishly Ever After (Ever After #1)

Isabel Bandeira

Published January 12th 2016 by Spencer Hill Contemporary

YA > Contemporary | Romance

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD 

 

3 ★★★1/2

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

 

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REVIEW:

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 “Fiction is the best kind of reality.


Nothing truer has been said in the history of truths. Bookishly Ever After is one of my most anticipated release for this year. I remember the agonizing wait for it and it just intensified when the book cover came out. I didn’t know it before but the cover is as adorable as the story. It’s an amazing feeling when the book you have been waiting for so long didn’t disappoint you. Sure, there are some things I expected that I thought will happen but I still love the book with all my heart. This one will go to the forever-favorite shelf.

Phoebe is the complete treasure of this story. I don’t even know what to say to make YOU realize how relatable Phoebe is as a girl, as a reader and as a hardcore fangirl. She is US. I can’t stop giggling and loving her throughout the story. The scenarios are just déjà vus. For me at least. It’s either I’VE BEEN THERE or I KNOW WHAT YOU FEEL FEEBS. Bandeira did a perfect job in creating a genuine and authentic character that any fangirls can relate to. You won’t help but sympathize with her and feel whatever she’s going through. Her excitement over the book she’s reading will rub on you and you’ll find yourself fangirling with her as well.

The romance, which was a huge part of Bookishly Ever After, was as awkward, sweet and swoony as I thought it would be. Oh young love! Oh those awkward high school days! Dev was an absolute guy. Charming, kinda confusing and totally swoon worthy. I would’ve wished the we get to hear some of his thoughts too because he’s such a closed character, but I understand what the author is trying to do. And besides, he’s one of those guys you root for despite his flaws and kinda stupid decisions. I liked Dev’s and Phoebes awkward exchanges and witty banters but somehow I still feel like I want more! It was said in Goodreads though that this will be a series so maybe my wish would be granted in the upcoming books!

Reading is great and being a fangirl is fun. But just like what I learned from Phoebe and her books-to-life missions, it’s really not so bad to face reality sometimes. It’s required and kinda sorta fun.

Bookishly Ever After is written for everyone who turns to reading when you’re not into facing reality. Phoebe understands! With Bandeiras humorous and realistic way of writing, readers will be charmed. A book made by a reader for her fellow readers. Bookishly Ever After is a complete gem that I’ll forever recommend! 

 

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Twitter | Website | Blog | Instagram

Isabel Bandeira grew up surrounded by trees and lakes in Southern New Jersey, right on the edge of the Pine Barrens. Her summers were always spent in Portugal, where the cathedrals, castles, and ancient tombs only fed her fairy tale obsession. Between all those influences and her serious glitter addiction, it wasn’t a surprise when she started writing stories of her own.

In her free time between writing and her day job as a Mechanical Engineer who designs and develops medical devices, she reads, dances, figure skates, and knits.

Isabel lives in New Jersey with her little black cat, too many books, and a closetful of vintage hats. She is represented by Carrie Howland of Donadio & Olson. BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER is her debut novel.

 


   

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ARC REVIEW: Rumor Has It by Farrah P. Polestico

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Rumor Has It

Farrah P. Polestico

Published November 30th 2015 by Smashwords Edition

YA > Contemporary | Romance

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | Kobo | Smashwords 

 

3 ★★★

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

It’s senior year and it’s now or never. Callie Rivera always wanted to be part of her school’s drama club, and she finally musters the courage to audition for Shakespeare’s classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Only she got the audition dates wrong and landed a role that only existed in her wildest dreams. And her co-actor? None other than Landon Arcival, theater actor extraordinaire, not to mention Callie’s (former) crush— or so she says.


Callie is living the dream, until she wakes up to a nightmare. According to the rumor mill, she is sleeping with different guys in her school. Of course, it isn’t true, but who would believe her? And the worst part? It may or may not be her fault the rumors spread in the first place.


What to do? Callie finds herself in the middle of a hot mess. But then Landon proposes the perfect plan that can fix everything, but only if they don’t fall for each other first.

 

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REVIEW:

 

“It’s only romantic when it’s Shakespeare”

 

Let me just start off by saying that although Rumor Has It may have a rather NA-ish cover, the novel is nothing but sweet and it very much belongs to the ya genre. This story reminded me of Easy A when it started. That fact made me happy and a bit nervous somehow. Nervous because I was fearing that the story will flow just like what happened in the movie. But I was relieved when it was starting to get obvious that the author is making her own spin and by the near end, Rumor Has It is totally standing in its own story.

I like Calie. I’m pretty sure we, especially girls, have been in her position where you think the only logical thing to do is lie. And you may think that it’s not gonna do any harm but in the end, you’ll have to face the consequence of that lie you made. Calie is likeable and a character that girls will relate to. Just like every high school girl in this world, she just likes to fit in, survive highschool unscathed and make all those goals and dreams come true. But who said that highschool is easy? NO ONE. Because it’s not.

The romantic aspect of Rumor Has It take a huge part of the story. It was sweet and perfect for tweenteens readers. Although I wish it didn’t move in such a fast pace and that we got to know more about our love interest, people will be charmed. Nobody can resist those popular-unpopular love tales. And the fact that our main characters are involved in plays and reciting Shakespeare like it’s the easiest thing in the world, it just made them more precious in my eyes.

Rumor Has It is a short yet satisfying contemporary read. Perfect for readers who inhale ya contemporaries like crack. Its about friendships, staying true to who you are and of course, young love. 

 

AUTHOR:

 

Twitter | Website | Goodreads 

Farrah F. Polestico wanted to be a lot of things in life— an engineer, a nurse, an astrophysicist. But it wasn’t until she was thirteen when she knew for sure she was going to be a published writer. And now she is. When she’s not up all night writing her next book, you can find her reading anything and everything from a Charles Dickens novel to old grocery receipts.


   

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ARC REVIEW: Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

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Underwater

Marisa Reichardt

Expected publication: January 12th 2016 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux

YA > Contemporary | Romance

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks

4 ★★★★

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself.

But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside.

Underwater is a powerful, hopeful debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on.

 

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REVIEW:

 

‘It turned out I wasn’t dying on the outside. I was only dying on the inside, where nobody could see.’

 

Wow. Underwater stunned me! This is the first 2016 book that I read for this year and boy what a good choice! This debut novel deserves to be in your to read list people, but don’t make it stay there for too long. In fact, after reading my review, I highly suggest that you pick this book up immediately and get to reading. 

Morgan doesn’t go outside anymore. She study online, she meets with her therapist at her house and she only talks with her mother and her brother. Any other interaction besides that gets her nervous and gives her panic attack. There’s a reason behind why Morgan turned out to be this way. You see, she is not used to be like that. But an incident that she witnessed changed everything.

There’s a lot to be praised about Underwater but I’ll start with the author’s vivid and lyrical writing. It’s impossible to read this book without the words tugging your heartstrings. Every emotion that Morgan feels are easily rolling off through the pages and you can’t help but feel with her. Her sadness, anxiety, excitement and of course even her joy. Throughout the whole book I feel like Morgan was just a close friend, and she’s telling me her story. And I’m savoring each word.

We can all agree that the plot has been done before. I have read some already. In fact, the concept is not at all new. And like I say everytime, I admire the authors who writes realistic fictions such as this. But what makes Underwater stands out? Underwater doesn’t shy away with every issue that a person like Morgan encounters. This novel is raw and real. Every character is alive and will affects you in their own ways. But the most important thing that Underwater have is that it makes you aware. It makes you think! What if you’re in the position of Morgans mother? What if you have a friend just like Morgan? What if you’re in Morgan’s shoes?

There was a romance aspect in this novel as well but its not really the main point of the story. The guy didn’t save Morgan, she saved herself. She didn’t save herself for the guy either. She did it for herself. And that’s what’s important to me.

A powerful and mesmerizing novel. That’s what Underwater is. There are A LOT of books coming out this year and I’m sure your TBR is already stuffed. But this book is not something you want to miss. Underwater is important, real and provocative. I can’t wait to hear more of Marisa Reichardts contribution in the YA table. 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Twitter | Website | Facebook | Instagram

I’m a SoCal native and high school writing instructor. I currently live in Los Angeles and can usually be found huddled over my laptop in coffeehouses or swimming in the ocean. 

My debut YA contemporary novel, UNDERWATER, will be out 1/12/16 from Macmillan/FSG and 4/7/16 Macmillan Children’s UK.

I love all books and all genres. While I do keep track of all the books I’ve read here, I generally don’t do ratings or reviews.

 

 


   

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ARC REVIEW: Proof Of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

18520642Proof Of Forever

Lexa Hillyer

Published June 2nd 2015 by HarperTeen

YA >  Contemporary

352 pages

eARC for Review

 

 ★★★

 

Purchase links: Amazon | Nook

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

Before: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.

After: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.

Then: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.

Now: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.

Always: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.

REVIEW

Proof Of Forever, on first glance, is Disney material. From the cover to the theme to the entire idea of being thrown back into time courtesy of a Photo Booth. Very idyllic. And that is the frame of mind I went with into this book. And I’m pleased to report, that this book was nothing like the cheese fest or the fluffy cotton candy I expected. It was honest and real and even though it wasn’t perfect, it’s going to be a book I’m going to remember for a long while.

This book is about time travel but it’s not your typical Sci-Fi. This book is also technically about four girls and their (mis)adventures, but it’s about so many more characters. Basically, Proof Of Forever is not your typical Contemporary so DO NOT judge it that way. The book follows four girls, Tali, Luce, Zoe and Joy. They used to be best friends and they’d sworn to remain best friends after their last summer at Camp Okahatchee. But as these things usually go, life got in the way, and they drifted apart, almost becoming strangers to each other. But two years later, when Joy suggests they all meet up at the reunion night of Camp OK, they grudgingly agree, only to be thrown back into time to two years ago, when they were fifteen; their last summer at the camp. There they realise that they have to do everything the way they’d done it before, so as not to alter their futures. But while their bodies might be fifteen years old, each of them have changed and grown. The book is all about how they deal with their growth and reconcile themselves with the people that they’ve grown into (or will grow into) and their attempts to go back to their time again.

The book was rather predictable where it came to plot—I was sure right away about certain things that would happen and I turned to to be right. This is the precise reason I found myself having a so-so opinion where it came to the story itself. Talking about each character is a little easier, because the end result was predictable (to me, at least), the way they went about their days at the camp weren’t. They were not all perfect human beings, and they did a lot of things that I didn’t quite agree with, but I suppose it did enhance the whole learning curve that the girls experienced.

I’ll also admit–the book is rather slow. It’s written as third person POV, in four different POVs, and while I’d like to say that each girl had a different, unique voice, that isn’t completely true. After a certain point, the characters started to blend into one for me, which sucks, and I had to physically make notes trying to remember who is who. It might be just me, but yeah. That happened.

Again, if you do choose to read the book, don’t do it for the story itself, meaning the time-travelling part. I found myself enjoying the symbolism behind each character and what they learnt and how they learnt it, and I think you might too. The writing too was not quite my type, but it was perfect for the mood of the book,and that was amazing. It doesn’t grab you, but it definitely lures you into continuing to read the book. All in all, as far as “coming-of-age” YA goes, Proof of Forever may be something you might want to try if you’re looking for a bitter sweet ending and a couple of cute summer romances!

 

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