ARC Review: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (+ Giveaway!)

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Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde Book Review blog header

Published: March 14th, 2017 by Swoon Reads | Series: N/A | Length: 288 pages | Genre: YA contemporary romance, LGBTQIAP | Source: I received an eARC from the publisher/Xpresso Reads for the blog tour. | Possible Triggers: anxiety (including panic attacks), fatphobia (challenged in text), mentions of weight, biphobia (challenged in text), cheating

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Three friends. Two love stories. One convention.

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Queens of Geek, an empowering young adult novel by Jen Wilde, is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.

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ARC Review: Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach (+ Giveaway!)

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Published: March 7th, 2017 by Entangled Teen | Series: Anastasia Phoenix #1 | Length: 400 pages | Genre: YA, mystery, contemporary | Source: I received an eARC from YA Reads and Entangled Teen via NetGalley as part of the blog tour. | Possible Triggers: Violence, some comments re: sexual harassment/assault (not detailed)

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Summary from Goodreads:

Some secrets are best kept hidden…

Anastasia Phoenix has always been the odd girl out, whether moving from city to international city with her scientist parents or being the black belt who speaks four languages.

And most definitely as the orphan whose sister is missing, presumed dead.

She’s the only one who believes Keira is still alive, and when new evidence surfaces, Anastasia sets out to follow the trail—and lands in the middle of a massive conspiracy. Now she isn’t sure who she can trust. At her side is Marcus, the bad boy with a sexy accent who’s as secretive as she is. He may have followed her to Rome to help, but something about him seems too good to be true.

Nothing is as it appears, and when everything she’s ever known is revealed to be a lie, Anastasia has to believe in one impossibility.

She will find her sister.

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ARC Review: Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs book review header

Published: March 21st, 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | Series: Book 1 in Nemesis series | Length: 464 pages | Genre: YA, sci-fi, thriller | Source: I received an eARC through Penguin’s First to Read program. | Possible Triggers: Mental health (but no self-harm or suicide), murder, death, violence, child abuse (not detailed, but hinted at)

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Summary from Goodreads:

Orphan Black meets Lord of the Flies in this riveting new thriller from the co-author of the Virals series.

It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.

For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.

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ARC Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco


Published: March 7, 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire | Series: The Bone Witch #1 | Length: 400 pages | Genre: YA, fantasy | Source: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley. | Possible Triggers: death, bullying

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Summary from Goodreads:

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

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ARC Review: By the Icy Wild by Everly Frost

By the Icy Wild by Everly Frost book review header

Published: February 17, 2017 by Ever Realm Books (self-published)  | Series: Book 3 in Mortality series | Length: 282 pages | Genre: YA, dystopian, sci-fi | Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for a review. | Possible Triggers: violence

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Summary from Goodreads:

The threat is far from over. I will live by the icy wild.

Ava Holland is dead. At least, that’s what everyone’s supposed to believe. But Ava is on her way to the northern wilds and hidden within the icy mountains are dangers that nobody dares speak aloud. Meanwhile, Michael is forced to accept Ava’s death while defending his new home against the growing darkness beyond. When a mortality war begins, will anyone survive?

By the Icy Wild is the third book in an action-packed four-book series.

This review contains spoilers for the first two books in the series, Beyond the Ever Reach and Beneath the Guarding Stars.

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ARC Review: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

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Published: January 3rd, 2017 by Clarion Books | Series: N/A | Length: 320 pages | Genre: YA, contemporary, mental health| Source: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

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Summary from Goodreads:

Norah has agoraphobia and OCD. When groceries are left on the porch, she can’t step out to get them. Struggling to snag the bags with a stick, she meets Luke. He’s sweet and funny, and he just caught her fishing for groceries. Because of course he did.

Norah can’t leave the house, but can she let someone in? As their friendship grows deeper, Norah realizes Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can lie on the front lawn and look up at the stars. One who isn’t so screwed up.

Yet another book that I am having the HARDEST time reviewing. December has been a great reading month for me because the books I’ve picked up have been fantastic. This was no exception. It’s great, but also makes writing a review difficult, haha.

The way Gornall talked about mental health in this book was fantastic. I’m sure that a lot of that is because she is talking a lot about issues that have affected her personally, as we learn in the author’s letter to the reader in the beginning of the book. I don’t have personal experience with agoraphobia or OCD so I can’t speak to the accuracy of the representation of those issues, but from what I’ve seen from other people and based on the (admittedly, limited) knowledge I have about these illnesses, it was handled really well and accurately. I also was incredibly appreciative of the fact that Norah’s therapist is portrayed really positively – I’m so over YA books that talk about mental health dismissing therapy, especially when it can be so incredibly helpful for so many people.

Even though I don’t have agoraphobia or OCD, there were still elements of Norah’s illness and experience that I could relate to. One of my favorite things was how Gornall showed the difficulty between knowing certain anxious feelings are irrational but still not being able to overcome those feelings/thoughts. I know this is something that I experience all the time with my anxiety. No matter how many times you sit there and tell yourself “this is really unlikely to end the world or lead to X outcome” you can’t stop making yourself worry about it. I loved how accurately this was shown in Under Rose-Tainted Skies.


I also adored the romance between Norah and Luke. Both of their characters were wonderful and I loved how supportive Luke was and how hard he worked to be understanding and not make Norah feel uncomfortable. He really does his best to understand what life is like for her. I also appreciated that even though he helps support her, he is absolutely not the “cure” for her mental illness. He’s a support system, not a fix. I do think it would have been nice to see more of him as an individual rather than just his relationship to Norah, but regardless, I liked what we did see of him.

Norah was a really wonderful character. I loved getting to see her battle with her mental health, but I also loved how absolutely hilarious she was. There were several times as I was reading when I laughed out loud because her sense of humor is very much like mine. I appreciated as well that although her mental health obviously impacts every aspect of her life, she’s still shown as a full person. She isn’t just her mental illness; she’s a regular person who has things she likes and dislikes, has hopes for her future, etc.


This is quite possibly my #1 favorite book that I’ve read this year and I truly can’t recommend this enough. If you’re at all interested in mental health issues, this is a great choice. There are, of course, sensitive issues that are dealt with including self-harm that may be triggering, but if these topics are something that you are able to read about without being too upset by them, I very strongly suggest reading Louise Gornall’s stunning debut, Under Rose-Tainted Skies.

Thank you to the publisher, Clarion Books, for providing me with an eARC!

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Blog Tour: ARC Review of All Her Secrets by Kate Avery Ellison (+ Giveaway!)


I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour celebrating the release of All Her Secrets by Kate Avery Ellison! Barclay Publicity is hosting the tour and was nice enough to send over an eARC for me to review. So without further ado… what did I think of this book?

Published: October 18th, 2016, self-published | Series: N/A | Length: ~250 pages (ebook only; estimate from Goodreads) | Genre: YA, psychological thriller | Source: I received an eARC from Barclay Publicity as part of this blog tour.

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Nothing is as it seems in this psychological YA thriller set in a not-too-distant future.


Eighteen-year-old Victoria, the daughter of inventor and visionary-genius Bill Faraday, was almost murdered by a stranger four years ago. She’s been trying to forget the incident ever since.

When Victoria discovers something that might explain why she was brutally attacked, she heads home from college to uncover the truth. Then, she’s kidnapped.


Sam’s just a poor kid from Valley City, but he knows who Victoria is as soon as his cousin Craig drags her from the trees. He doesn’t want anything to do with what appears to be a revenge kidnapping, but Craig has a gun and needs someone to take the fall if things go wrong.


Craig and his buddies imprison Sam and Victoria in an abandoned mountain cabin to await ransom. Putting aside mistrust for tentative friendship, Victoria and Sam conspire to escape together, and the close quarters ignite a startling attraction between them. Then they discover strange tunnels beneath the cabin. And what they find inside the tunnels proves more bizarre.

With a plan in place to escape, freedom seems within reach. But Sam and Victoria are both keeping secrets about their past.

And secrets can be deadly.

My Review


Every once in awhile I get really in the mood for a particular genre, usually one that I haven’t really read or at least haven’t read in a long time. Recently I’ve been going through this with thrillers. So when Barclay Publicity announced that they’d be doing a blog tour for a new YA psychological thriller, I jumped at the chance to join.

There are many things that I liked about All Her Secrets. All of the characters in this story are complex, intriguing, and have you constantly guessing about what to expect from them. Some characters you’re not sure whether you can trust them or what their motives are. Other characters have you thinking that you know about them, but they end up having some secrets and throwing you off. This is typical of thrillers, yes, but it doesn’t mean it’s any less entertaining to read about.

All Her Secrets is told in dual POV, alternating between Sam and Victoria. I really liked both of their perspectives and I think both brought something to the story that was meaningful and interesting and would have been nearly impossible to see without the inclusion of both points of view. I also really enjoyed seeing Sam and Victoria struggling to decide whether or not it was okay to let their guard down around each other and find a support system with each other or whether they needed to keep to themselves. Seeing them sort through the complexities of their situation was incredibly fascinating.


There are some sci-fi elements to this story which, although not the main focus, are a big driving factor behind the plot and quite interesting to read about. Victoria’s dad has invented these incredibly complex and impressive robots and while many people love the inventions, they’ve also caused a lot of controversy and resentment as they become very human-like and begin to replace people in their jobs, leaving many people in the area unemployed.

This book is incredibly suspenseful as well. Obviously, this is what you’d expect from a thriller but hey, just because you’d expect it doesn’t necessarily mean you’d get it. 😉 I was hooked from very early on in the story and found it difficult to ever put this book down. Chapters are very short, only a couple of pages at most and sometimes even only a paragraph or two, but the story never felt choppy or disconnected to me which is a testament to the author’s writing.

The reason I decided to give this four rather than five stars is simply because there were some parts, especially towards the end, that were really kind of cheesy and had me rolling my eyes a bit. But even with those eyeroll-inducing moments, All Her Secrets is still a great read that I’d definitely recommend to anyone looking for a suspenseful, captivating thriller. Even if you’re not one to normally read thrillers, if you like sci-fi, I’d still say to give this a shot because there are some sci-fi elements that may appeal to you. Overall this was a great book and a steal at only a few dollars.


Kate Avery Ellison is offering one (1) lucky winner a $25 Amzon Gift Card and five (5) runner-ups an eCopy of one of her books (winner’s choice)! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter.

About Kate Avery Ellison

kateaveryellisonKate Avery Ellison decided she wanted to be an author when she was five years old, and with hard work, determination, and the support of loved ones along the way, her dreams of telling stories for a living came true in 2011 with her first novel, The Curse Girl, and continued with her Amazon bestselling series The Frost Chronicles and numerous other fantasy and science fiction novels. She loves putting a dash of mystery in everything she writes, an ode to her childhood spent reading Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and Sherlock Holmes, and she can’t resist adding a good twist in the story wherever she can.

Kate wishes she could live in a place where it’s always October, but until that’s possible, she makes her home in humid Atlanta with her husband, son, and two spoiled cats. When she isn’t dreaming up her next novel or holed up writing it down, Kate can be found binging her favorite shows on Netflix, reading on her Kindle, building intricate train track configurations with her toddler, and playing board games with her husband and friends.

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