Book Review & Blog Tour: Teen Killers Club

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Author: Lily Sparks

Genre: Contemporary Dystopian

Release Date: 11.10.20

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Source: Publisher

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis: “Framed for the murder of her best friend, a young girl joins a super-secret society of teenage assassins to avoid a lifetime behind bars–and discovers her own true self–in this mesmerizing debut novel.

Seventeen-year-old Signal Deere has raised eyebrows for years as an unhappy Goth misfit from the trailer park. When she’s convicted of her best friend Rose’s brutal murder, she’s designated a Class A–the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profile. To avoid prison, Signal signs on for a secret program for 18-and-under Class As and is whisked off to an abandoned sleep-away camp, where she and seven bunkmates will train as assassins. Yet even in the Teen Killers Club, Signal doesn’t fit in. She’s squeamish around blood. She’s kind and empathetic. And her optimistic attitude is threatening to turn a group of ragtag maniacs into a team of close-knit friends. Maybe that’s because Signal’s not really a killer. She was framed for Rose’s murder and only joined the program to escape, track down Rose’s real killer, and clear her name. But Signal never planned on the sinister technologies that keep the campers confined. She never planned on the mysterious man in the woods determined to pick them off one by one. And she certainly never planned on falling in love. Signal’s strategy is coming apart at the seams as the true killer prepares to strike again in Teen Killers Club.”

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Tour Schedule

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Review

Teen Killers Club was an incredibly unique story that was so fun to read! The concept, as seen above, follows Signal Deere. To avoid a life behind bars (for a murder she didn’t commit) she joins a group of teenage assassins. However, not everything is what it seems. There’s a man watching from the woods, and an addicting mystery as Signal tries to uncover who killed her “victim”.

This book was unlike anything I’ve read before! It was twisted, fun, and the concept made for a very interesting read. While I have read my fair share of villians and assassins, I’ve never seen a take on it like this one. I loved how unique this story was because I could never see anything coming. I didn’t know what to expect and it made the experience so so much fun.

This was also a very fast read! I flew threw reading it in only one weekend, in only about two sittings. The pacing is fast and it keeps you engaged. The author did a fantastic job with the pacing on her debut novel!

Also!!! Two of my all time favorite bookish things were in this novel: found family and murder mystery. So, first, I’ve always loved the found family trope. It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy to see characters coming together to create their own comfort circle. This book was absolutely no exception. The Teen Killers Club found family was really sweet and wholesome (despite, ya know, the murder).

Then, I was living for this mystery! I’m a huge fan of mystery books and this was beyond interesting. The premise was fascinating and I enjoyed how the author shaped the mystery and the narrative of it.

So, overall, I really enjoyed this! It was a fun, quick, interesting read with a beautiful cover. It had dashes of romance, mystery, and murder that created a great debut. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for something fast that also enjoys a bit of a spooky read!

My Most Anticipated November 2020 Releases

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of my TBR Pile crying.

However, let me offer this as a counter point: November is looking like such a good one for releases. A few titles that I’ve been excited for are coming out this month (or have already been released) and I’m thrilled! Unfortunately I haven’t been able to buy or pick up any of these titles yet, but that can’t stop me from sharing them and staring at these releases with hearts in my eyes. I really am *so* excited for these stories!

Without further delay, the books are…

Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao

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It’s probably no surprise to hear me swooning over a fake-dating romance at this point. This trope is one of my all time favorites and I cannot wait to read this take on it! It sounds very cute and like a story I would enjoy very much.

SYNOPSIS: “Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hired him from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents.

Drew Chan’s passion is art, but after his parents cut him off for dropping out of college to pursue his dreams, he became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to keep a roof over his head. Luckily, learning protocols like “Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” comes naturally to him.

When Chloe rents Drew, the mission is simple: convince her parents fake Drew is worthy of their approval so they’ll stop pressuring her to accept a proposal from Hongbo, the wealthiest (and slimiest) young bachelor in their tight-knit Asian American community.

But when Chloe starts to fall for the real Drew—who, unlike his fake persona, is definitely not ’rent-worthy—her carefully curated life begins to unravel. Can she figure out what she wants before she loses everything?”

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

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It’s been a hot minute since I’ve read anything from Jenn Bennett, and I’m ready to change that! I’ve always enjoyed her contemporary books (with Starry Eyes being my favorite) and I’m looking forward to this one!

SYNOPSIS: “Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.

Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…”

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

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A fantasy Romeo & Juliet retelling set in Shanghai? Sign me up! I’ve been looking forward to this book for months and my excitement grows everyday. Not only is the cover stunning, but that synopsis has me hooked, and all the good reviews are making me more and more hyped up for this!

SYNOPSIS: “The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.”

I’m beyond excited for these titles and really hoping I can get to them soon! my reading has been all over the place recently, but I’m hoping to read these and more during my holiday break this year!

Back List Book Highlight: Shuffle, Repeat

Happy Monday! Today I’m continuing on with a mini recommendation series on my blog. In case you missed it, last month I decided to kick off a recommendation series where I share back list books that deserve more love (you can find that first post here).

So, for this post I’m going to be sharing one of my favorite YA contemporary stories that I don’t talk about enough. This book is perfect for any time of the year; it follows two different characters who are complete opposites through their senior year. Their enemies-to-friends-to-lovers relationship is adorable and it provides on all the banter!

Today’s back list recommendation is….

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein

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SYNOPSIS: “June wants high school to end and real life to begin. Oliver is soaking up senior year’s glory days. They could have coasted through high school, knowing about—but not really knowing—each other.
 
Except that their moms have arranged for Oliver to drive June to school. Every. Single. Day.
 
Suddenly these two opposites are fighting about music, life . . . pretty much everything. But love is unpredictable. When promises—and hearts—get broken, Oliver and June must figure out what really matters. And then fight for it.

I read Shuffle, Repeat for the first time in October 2018 and I still love it! There are certain scenes I go back and reread because they will make my heart pound. You can find my original review for it here.

So! If you’re looking for a YA contemporary read to make you swoon, I’d highly recommend this back list title. It’s a swoony story and if you pick it up I’d love to hear your thoughts! My comments, DMs, and emails are always open to chat about books 🙂

ARC Review: Together, Apart

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Authors: Erin A. Craig, Auriane Desombre, Erin Hahn, Bill Konigsberg, Rachael Lippincott, Brittney Morris, Sajni Patel, Natasha Preston

Genre: YA Contemporary

Release Date: 10.20.20

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Source: E-Arc via Netgalley

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis: A collection of original contemporary love stories set during life in lockdown by some of today’s most popular YA authors.

Erin Craig “delivers” on a story about a new girl in town and the cute pizza delivery boy, Auriane Desombre captures our hearts with teens communicating through window signs, and Bill Konigsberg takes us along on daily walks with every step bringing us closer to love. There’s flirting and romance from Rachael Lippincott, a tale of a determined girl with a mask-making business from Erin Hahn, and a music-inspired love connection from Sajni Patel. Brittney Morris turns enemies to lovers with the help of a balcony herb garden, Jennifer Yen writes an unconventional romance that starts outside a hospital, and Natasha Preston’s teens discover each other–and their love story–in a storybook oak tree.

Romantic, realistic, sweet and uplifting, TOGETHER, APART is a collection of finding love in unexpected places during an unprecedented time . . . each with the one thing we all want: a guaranteed happy ending”

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Together, Apart was everything I wanted and more! This collection of quarantine romance short stories was adorable, fluffy, and exactly what I needed. It was a fast read and brought me a lot of comfort to see these light hearted stories set during the pandemic. I think the authors were really creative and used the idea of “quarantine meet-cutes” to the fullest potential. These meet-cutes were downright swoony and really just SO CUTE.

I’ve never read a short story collection before, but there’s something so nice and refreshing about reading this one! The stories left me smiling and hopeful. And honestly it left me wishing that some of these stories would be adapted into full length novels one day (what can I say? A girl can dream).

In total there were nine stories in here. I’m not sure how I would rate each story, but my top three favorites were “One Day” , “Love, Delivered”, and “Stuck with Her”. Out of all nine there was only one story that I disliked and I think it was because it was too insta-lovey for my taste. Other than that I enjoyed them all and quite a few stole my heart.

I think that after reading Together, Apart I have a desperate need for more stories like this. I loved watching so many characters in so many different situations finding love. The representation was incredible. It has an assortment of diverse characters with unique voices which made me happy to see.

So, overall, this was very enjoyable! I didn’t love all the stories the same amount, but I left this collection with a smile on my face. It was a very swoony, sweet, and enjoyable collection of pandemic romances that I’d highly recommend to anyone needing something light-hearted right now.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an E-Arc via Netgalley!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that is all about sharing and putting a spotlight on upcoming unreleased books that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. My TBR pile is overrun with books that haven’t been released yet, but my choice for this week that I’m specifically looking forward to is…

The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss by Amy Noelle Parks

(01.05.21 from Amulet Books)

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” Seventeen-year-old Evie Beckham has never been interested in dating. She’s been fully occupied by her love of mathematics and her frequent battles with anxiety (and besides, she’s always found the idea of kissing to be a little bit icky). But with the help of her best friend and her therapist, Evie’s feeling braver. Maybe even brave enough to enter a prestigious physics competition and to say yes to the new boy who’s been flirting with her.

Caleb Covic knows Evie isn’t ready for romance but assumes that when she is, she will choose him. So Caleb is horrified when he is forced to witness Evie’s meet cute with a floppy-haired, mathematically gifted transfer student. Because Caleb knows the girl never falls for the funny best friend when there’s a mysterious stranger around, he decides to use an online forum to capture Evie’s interest. Now, he’s got Evie wondering if it’s possible to fall in love with a boy she’s never met.

Told in the alternating voices of Evie and Caleb, THE QUANTUM WEIRDNESS OF THE ALMOST KISS is a YA romantic comedy, sure to satisfy fans of Jenny Han, Rainbow Rowell and Stephanie Perkins”

So, first, how adorable is that cover? The design and title got me instantly hooked. Then, that synopsis! It sounds so adorable and like the perfect fun romantic comedy that I could use in my life. I’m very excited for this to come out in 2021 and will be reading it as soon as possible!

October 2020 Reading Wrap-Up // Life Update

Hello friends! Happy November! I’m really excited and hopeful for this next month ahead. While October wasn’t bad, I didn’t quite manage to hit all my goals. I had a lot of great ideas about blogging, reading, and being productive, and I wasn’t able to hit them perfectly. That being said, I’m looking forward to the month ahead and everything that comes with it.

So, before we move onto November, let’s chat about October! October was both a fun and stressful month. I spent most of it stressing over essays and stuff for school, but there were good moments too! I gota signed CD from my favorite artist, convinced my sister and best friend to read a couple of my favorite books, and was able to spend a lot of time playing with my cat. Then, in fun bookish news I was selected to be a rep for @abookishhaven on Instagram! I’m really excited for this opportunity and to show off their cozy bookish merch on my bookstagram.

So, onto the books. My monthly reading has still not been as amazing as I’d like it to be. However, all things considered, I’m glad I’ve gotten to read as much as I have!

The Books I read in October 2020 were:

The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

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My feelings about this one are so mixed! While this book does have an incredibly written codependent relationship that gives me the chills, I also felt like the story dragged at times. The pacing and events of the middle section left me feeling a bit disconnected from the story and bored. More than anything, the concept and ending were incredible. However, the middle part of the story lost my emotional investment.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

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WOW. This book absolutely blew my mind. I didn’t know what to expect when I started this one, but I loved it! This is easily a new favorite of mine and I’m eagerly counting down the days until I can get my hands on the sequel. The mystery in this was so perfectly layered into a complex masterpiece that is a must read for YA mystery lovers!

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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So, this isn’t my usual read. I had to pick up The Bell Jar for one of my classes and I wasn’t a huge fan! While I understand the main focus and messages from the story, it just wasn’t something I enjoyed. I tend to not like classics, or older literature, which is why I think this wasn’t for me. I’d rather have something YA over a story like this any day.

Sources Say by Lori Goldstein

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I’m so upset about this one! I had really high hopes for it, but found that I couldn’t stay connected to it. The beginning was intriguing but as I got further into it I lost interest. I stopped caring about the characters and skimmed more than just a few chapters. There were some details and such that I enjoyed, but not enough to rate this story highly.

And just like that, it’s November! I’m crossing my fingers for a better month ahead.

What books did you read in September? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned here? Leave a comment and talk about books with me!

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ARC Review: Sources Say

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Author: Lori Goldstein

Genre: YA Contemporary

Release Date: 09.08.20

Publisher: Razorbill

Source: E-ARC via Netgalley

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Synopsis: “At Acedia High School outside of Boston, student council has always been nothing more than a popularity contest. Nobody pays attention. Nobody cares.

But all that changes when the Frankengirls show up. During the very first week of school, someone plasters the halls with Photoshopped images of three “perfect tens”–images of scantily clad girls made from real photos of girls at school. The student body is livid. And the two presidential candidates, Angeline Quinn and Leo Torres, jump on the opportunity to propose their solutions and secure votes. After their messy break up, Leo and Angie are fighting tooth and nail to win this thing and their constituents are mesmerized as they duke it out.

As if things couldn’t be more dramatic, the school’s two newspapers get involved. The Red & Blue is run by Angie’s sister Cat and she prides herself on only reporting the facts. But her morals are tested when The Shrieking Violet–written by an anonymous source and based less on facts and more on fiction–blatantly endorses Leo. Rumors fly, secrets are leaked, and the previously mundane student election becomes anything but boring. “

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This wasn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t the book for me. There were a lot of aspects that I enjoyed but I lacked emotional investment in this story and the characters. With that in mind, I lost interest in the story part way through and didn’t really care about what was going on. There were aspects I enjoyed, but nothing that made me emotionally invested in the story itself.

Of the things that I did enjoy in this book, I liked the political commentary. I thought the school’s election was an interesting concept that was well put together. I liked that Angeline was a social media influencer. I thought that was an interesting touch and I enjoyed seeing how it shaped her narrative. Then, the book felt very atmospheric.

Otherwise, I don’t have a lot more to say on this one. I wasn’t emotionally invested and because of that it took away a lot of my enjoyment for the story. I wasn’t very concerned with who won the election, or the truth behind Leo and Angeline’s relationship. None of the book really grabbed me and held me in it. I’m honestly really sad about this! I was hopeful going into it, and now sad that it didn’t get me emotionally invested at all.

Thank you very much to the publisher for providing me with an e-arc via Netgalley!

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Waiting on Wednesday: These Violent Delights

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that is all about sharing and putting a spotlight on upcoming unreleased books that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. My TBR pile is overrun with books that haven’t been released yet, but my choice for this week that I’m specifically looking forward to is…

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

( 11.17.20 from Margaret K. McElderry Books)

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“The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule. “

How fantastic does this sound? Oh my gosh, I’m so excited for this 1920’s Romeo and Juliet retelling in Shanghai. I’ve been hearing an endless amount of good reviews about These Violent Delights and I swear that my excitement grows more everyday. This book sounds amazing and I’m very excited for it to release in November!