The Smell of Other People’s Houses

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The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Genre: Contemporary
# of Pages: 227
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Ratings (out of 10):

Quality: 9
Pace:10
Plot development: 9
Characters: 8
Enjoyability: 9
Ease of Reading: 9

Summary from Goodreads:

In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled.

My Opinions (SPOILER FREE):

I really did like this book, but it just wasn’t anything super special. I was kind of hoping for a story that was going to leave a lasting impression on me, but his didn’t really do that.

Characters:
The characters were really what made this story. They all had such unique stories and I loved reading along side all of them.

Plot:
Each of the characters’ plots were equally as interesting and unique as the characters themselves, and I really liked that. I also loved that this book kind of left a lot of things open ended. Usually I don’t like that, but I felt like it really fit this story well. It kinda just allows the reader to fill in the empty spots themselves.

Writing:
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s writing is really good in this book considering it’s her first novel. Her writing really helped add to the whole aesthetic of the story.

Overall, I really did enjoy this book, I just wish it could’ve meant more to me.

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Lord of Shadows

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Genre: Fantasy

# of Pages: 720

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Do I recommend this book?

Absolutely! I think anyone who can read should read this book.

Ratings:

Quality: 10

Pace: 10

Plot development: 10

Characters: 10

Enjoyability: 10

Ease of Reading: 10

Summary from Goodreads:

Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.

My Opinions (SPOILER FREE):

Holy cow. Talk about a fantastic sequel. Like wow. Cassandra Clare never ceases to amaze me. this book was so full of action, and it was so hard to put it down. Usually when I read these really long books like this one, there are parts where the plot slows down and I get kind of bored. But that never happened in this book. I was so entertained the whole way through the story.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how much this book made me laugh, cry, scream, and smile. It just evoked so much emotion out of me, and I loved that.

Let’s talk about some of the characters now. Emma is such a great protagonist. I love her so much, and I loved how she’s very strong and supports herself and the Blackthorns.

Julian is also equally as great as Emma, and I love how complex of a character he’s become. He’s very sweet, but he will also do anything to save his family.

All of the other characters in this book were of course fantastic, and I loved how a lot of them played important roles in the story. We got to see parts of the story from their point of views, and not just Emma and Jules’.

There was also some characters included from the other Shadowhunter series, and some of them played important roles, too. You definitely have to read the other books before this one, just a warning.

We also learned a lot more about the Shadowhunter world in this book, and I really enjoyed that. It was very interesting.

The next book is definitely going to be very intense based on how this one ended. The ending actually blew me away, and I still can’t quite comprehend everything that happened in a span of the last 20 pages.

I also don’t know if I liked this book or Lady Midnight more. They were both so fantastic. This may be my favorite series out of all of the Shadowhunter series so far. I don’t know if I can say that for sure yet, because I do also really love the Infernal Devices trilogy. I think it’s actually going to come down to the last book in this trilogy to determine which one is my favorite. Cassie just keeps getting better and better though, so I won’t be surprised if this becomes my all time favorite trilogy.

Definitely go read all of Cassandra Clare’s books. They are all incredible.

 

Tell Me Three Things

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Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Genre: Contemporary/Romance

# of Pages: 328

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Do I recommend this book?

Absolutely, especially to anyone who wants to read a fun, cute contemporary.

Ratings (out of 10):

Quality: 10

Pace: 9

Plot development: 10

Characters: 9

Enjoyability: 10

Ease of Reading: 10

Summary from Goodreads:

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

My Opinion (SPOILER FREE):

Tell Me Three Things turned out to be such a good contemporary. I loved every minute of reading it. It was very cute, funny, sweet, and it was just an all around adorable novel.

The plot was really good, because I couldn’t put this book down. I love contemporaries like this where there’s kind of a mystery within the story. I also loved this contemporary because it wasn’t too serious, but there were still some sad and raw moments that made the story even better. I was still able to get a lot out of this book, but it was still a fun read.

The characters in this book were also great, because they felt really real. It was easy to understand Jessie and everything that was going on in her life, even though I haven’t experienced anything like it.

This book felt very similar to P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (review on my blog), but unlike P.S. I Like You, this book was not predictable. I had no idea who SN was until the very end. The book had me guessing the whole time, and that’s something I really liked about it.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it had a great ending. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves any kind of contemporary.

Caraval

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Genre: Fantasy/Mystery

# of Pages: 407

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Do I recommend this book?

Yes, absolutely, and especially to anyone who enjoys unique, magical stories.

Is this a series? If so, will I continue?

Yes, I believe this is a series, or at least a duology, and I am planning on continuing.

Ratings (out of 10):

Quality: 10

Pace: 8

Plot development: 10

Characters: 9

Enjoyability: 10

Ease of Reading: 10

Summary from Goodreads:

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

My Opinions (SPOILER FREE):

This was such a fun, magical, and exciting book to read, and I totally understand all the hype surrounding it now. I think the main thing that really made this book great was the world. I got completely swept up in the world of Caraval, and I can’t wait to go back when I read the next book, whenever that comes out.

The writing of this book also completely blew me away. Stephanie Garber has such a fantastical way of writing. It was so easy to picture this world she created, and simply picture myself there right along side the characters.

The characters were also so well written. We learn enough about the characters to the point where we can connect with them, but not so much that this book turns into a story just about the characters. I felt like there was a perfect balance of character driven scenes and plot driven scenes.

The plot really was good. It was paced really well, and I was never bored. And even though sometimes books just seem to fly by too fast, I felt like this one was paced perfectly. It wasn’t a super fast paced read, but the story still kept moving.

I definitely recommend this book. It is nothing like I’ve ever read before, and I think everyone should give it a chance.

 

One Was Lost

One Was Lost

One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards

Genre: Mystery

# of Pages: 304

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Do I recommend this book?

Absolutely, especially to anyone looking for a fast-paced thriller to get them out of a reading slump.

Ratings (out of 10):

Quality: 9

Pace: 10

Plot development: 10

Characters: 9

Enjoyability: 10

Ease of Reading: 10

Summary from Goodreads:

Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Are they labels or a warning? The answer could cost Sera everything.

Murder, justice, and revenge were so not a part of the plan when Sera set out on her senior camping trip. After all, hiking through the woods is supposed to be safe and uneventful.

Then one morning the group wakes up groggy, confused, and with words scrawled on their wrists: Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Their supplies? Destroyed. Half their group? Gone. Their chaperone? Unconscious. Worst of all, they find four dolls acting out a murder—dolls dressed just like them.

Suddenly it’s clear; they’re being hunted. And with the only positive word on her wrist, Sera falls under suspicion…

My Opinions (SPOILER FREE):

This was a very thrilling, fast-paced mystery that had me gasping in fear very frequently.

The thing that really made this a good book was the creepy aspect of it. This was a plot driven book, and we don’t really learn a whole lot about the characters. That was okay with me though, because I feel like that kept the plot moving at a nice pace.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a thrilling mystery that is very different and unique.

There’s not a whole lot that I can say without spoiling this book, so just go read it for yourself and you’ll see why it was so great. 🙂

First Degree Mudder

First Degree Mudder (Pacific Northwest #4)First Degree Mudder by Kate Dyer-Seeley

# of Pages: 307

Genre: Mystery

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Do I recommend this book?

No, not really. I really only recommend the first book in the series.

Ratings (out of 10):

Quality: 5

Pace: 10

Plot development: 6

Characters: 5

Enjoyability: 5

Ease of Reading: 10

Summary from Goodreads:

When a mud marathon champion bites the dust, Meg Reed has to go the distance to make sure a killer comes clean . . .

Back home in Portland, Oregon, Meg is ready to take her career as an outdoor writer for Extreme magazine to the next level. Lesser journalists sling mud—Meg plans to run through it. To train hard for Mud, Sweat & Beers, an extreme 5K mud run, she’s signed on with the Mind Over Mudder team, run by ten-time mud marathon champ—and former drill sergeant—Billy the Tank. But when Meg finds her tenacious trainer dead in the locker room, she has a sinking feeling someone may have been pushed too far. Digging through the hidden secrets at Mind Over Mudder is a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Meg will have to tread carefully, though—or she may soon be running for her life . . .

My Opinion (SPOILER FREE):

This book was a little bit better than the third book in this series, which was my least favorite one, but still not fantastic.

The murder in this book was more interesting than the others, but the murder didn’t really seem to be the main part of this book. I mean, it’s supposed to be a murder mystery, but this book focused a lot on a lot of side things. That disappointed me, because this was one of the murders that I enjoyed more.

I am so over the murder investigation with Meg’s dad. It’s been a small part of every book in the series now, and it really needs to stop. It’s time to wrap up this series for sure.

A lot of the other things I didn’t like where the same as the other books, so you guys can read my other reviews if you’re interested in those things.

I thought this was going to be the last book in this series, but turns out there’s going to be more. I don’t know how the author has kept this series going for so long. Usually you don’t see murder mystery series. It’s usually just one and done. The author must be very attached to her characters, lol.

Silenced in the Surf

Silenced in the Surf (Pacific Northwest #3)Silenced in the Surf by Kate Dyer-Seeley

Publisher: Kensington Publishing

# of Pages: 323

Genre: Mystery

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Is this a series?

Yes, it’s the third book in a series.

Do I recommend this book?

Not really, I would recommend the first book in the series, but that’s it.

Ratings (out of 10)

Quality: 6

Pace: 8

Plot development: 7

Characters: 6

Enjoyability: 6

Ease of Reading: 10

Summary from Goodreads:

Covering a windsurfing competition should have been a breeze for reporter Meg Reed, but with a killer in the curl, she’s headed for rough waters…
 
Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge is the windsurfing capital of the world, and Meg is stoked to cover the King of the Hook event for Portland’s Northwest Extreme magazine. Before the competition gets under way, Meg has a chance to try some windsurfing on her own. But when the current sweeps her downriver, she spots a body snagged on the rocks. The dead man is Justin Cruise, aka Cruise Control, a celebrity windsurfer and not exactly a nice guy. It’s soon clear his death was no accident, and Cruise had no shortage of enemies. As Meg dives right in to discover who wiped out the windsurfer, she’ll need to keep her balance—or she too may get blown away.

My Opinions (SPOILER FREE):

I’m really sorry to say this, but this series just keeps getting worse as I continue. In my opinion, mysteries don’t make very good series. I mean what are the chances that the same person stumbles upon three murders on accident? I think the author should have left it at one book.

I don’t like  Meg anymore either. She just drives me crazy now. She’s no naive, and it’s become rather annoying, honestly. And Matt, the guy who used to be my favorite character, has also gotten really annoying.

I also did not like the plot of this book. It was confusing, and there was no real conclusion to it. There were so many things left unsolved, and that drove me crazy.

The romance between Matt and Meg in this book was also extremely irritating and frustrating. I mean it’s been three books and nothing’s really happened between the two of them. I was really rooting for them in the beginning, but now I’ve become bored with their relationship.

I contemplated on whether or not I wanted to be honest for this review, but I decided honesty is the best policy. I feel bad for having to write this about this book. Heck, I’d feel bad writing this about any book, but this story just didn’t click with me. In all honesty, I wish it had. I don’t like reading bad books, and I’m sure you guys don’t either. But I just have to be honest with you guys. By all means, if you read this book and enjoyed it, that’s completely okay with me. We are each entitled to our own opinion.

That being said, I am interested to see how this series wraps up in the fourth book, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the last book is good. :/