The Girl in the Picture

No one wants me here. And if I thought or hoped that I might feel Chace with me at this moment…. I was wrong.

Title: The Girl in the Picture

Author: Alexandra Monir

Series: Standalone

Publication: November 15th 2016 by Delacorte Press/Random House

Pages: 272

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Nicole Morgan has been labeled many things — the geeky music girl, the shy sidekick to Miss Popularity, and the girl with the scar. Now only one name haunts her through the halls of Oyster Bay Prep.

The Girl in the Picture.

After high school heartthrob Chace Porter is found dead in the woods near the school, the police are in search of the girl whose picture with Chace is the only clue found amongst his personal belongings. A girl who no one knew was even close to Chace–and whose dormmate, Lana Rivera, was Chace’s girlfriend.

Nicole is that girl and now she’s the primary suspect in his murder.

But what really happened that night? Were Nicole and Chace dating behind Lana’s back; were he and Lana over? Could either of them have killed him?

Told in alternating points of view, that of our suspect, Nicole Morgan, and her former best friend and roommate, Lana Rivera, readers will piece together the story of a starcrossed love, a fractured friendship–and what really happened the night Chace was killed.

From Alexandra Monir, author of the popular time-travel novel Timeless, comes a gripping mystery and a poignant romance in one thrilling read.


My Thoughts:

WHAT A RIDE! Oh my goodness, what a ride. The Girl in the Picture is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It is brilliant, poignant, thrilling, and heartbreaking all at the same time. This book takes off right from the first page, and it never lets you go.  You get sucked into the grief, the suspicion, the confusion, and the fear. The Girl in the Picture is intoxicating and thought provoking – and I am so grateful I was able to review a copy.

The Girl in the Picture follows Nicole and Lana, two girls who are very close to a boy who was found murdered. Lana was his Girlfriend. Nicole the girl he loved and was trying to be with. Then things go horribly wrong, and when a photo surfaces picturing Nicole and Chace together – that’s when the heads turn and the fingers point.

felt for these characters, mostly Nicole, to be honest. I could relate with Nicole. She’s a shy introvert that finds comfort in playing music. She doesn’t like parties, but she tries so hard to be kind and make friends – even at the cost of her own wants and desires. Nicole was sweet, caring, thoughtful, and quiet in all the way’s Lana wasn’t. Lana set her sights on Chace right from the get-go. She pounced on him his first day at school and she wouldn’t let up, even when Chace was trying to pull an opposite direction. There was a very interesting dynamic between all the characters. Not only was Nicole with Chace in all the ways Lana couldn’t, she was also Lana’s roommate (of course Lana bitched about it). I’m not sure if we were supposed to like Lana, because, personally, she drove me nuts. The things she did and the things she let happen are unforgivable, in my eyes. Yet, though I have an immense dislike for her, I did also sympathize. She did just lose her boyfriend, however undeserving she may be of my sympathy.

Reading The Girl in the Picture is tense. It’s a nail-bitter, cling to the edge of your seat, who dun it sort of read. It was fabulous. I knew right off the bat that what everyone was saying was a lie, it’s obvious – and for a good reason. The real beauty of the story here, though, is that I never even suspected the actual culprit. But, when it was revealed, everything suddenly made sense. That’s pretty damn close to magic in my eyes. Honestly, the little threads of information, the delicate details weaved throughout – it’s astounding.

If you are a fan of mysteries, I highly recommend this book. The Girl in the Picture is an addictive, heart-breaking tale of physiological mystery. It is an in-depth thrill ride that will leave your heart pounding and your head spinning. Filled with complex characters, vivid settings, and a slow burn romance that will leave you breathless, The Girl in the Picture is a dark masterpiece of a book.


Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Vassa in the Night

Why did it take me so many years to understand that Night is something you can talk to, something that might even decide to watch over you or kiss you just when you’re about to crumple from loneliness?

Title: Vassa in the Night

Author: Sarah Porter

Series: Standalone

Publication: September 20th 2016 by Tor Teen

Pages: 296

Source: Owlcrate

Summary from Goodreads:

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…


My Thoughts:

My brain hurts. Oh my gosh, does my brain hurt. I have no idea what I just read. Do you want an idea of how hard it was? It took me a week. Books never take me a week to read, not like this. I honestly have no idea what to think right now. I liked it, but I really, really didn’t at the same time? Reading Vassa in the Night was sort of like eating really spicy food that is sort of pleasant going down and then really starts to hurt later. The digestion is a process. Vassa in the Night is a process of peeling apart layers and trying to understand each and every one, and failing almost every time.

Continue reading

The Infinity of You & Me

Title: The Infinity of You & Me

Author: J.Q Coyle

Series: Standalone?

Publication:November 8th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 256

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

What if every life-altering choice you made could split your world into infinite worlds?

Almost fifteen, Alicia is smart and funny with a deep connection to the poet Sylvia Plath, but she’s ultimately failing at life. With a laundry list of diagnoses, she hallucinates different worlds—strange, decaying, otherworldly yet undeniably real worlds that are completely unlike her own with her single mom and one true friend. In one particularly vivid hallucination, Alicia is drawn to a boy her own age named Jax who’s trapped in a dying universe. Days later, her long-lost father shows up at her birthday party, telling her that the hallucinations aren’t hallucinations, but real worlds; she and Jax are bound by a strange past and intertwining present. This leads her on a journey to find out who she is while trying to save the people and worlds she loves. J.Q. Coyle’s The Infinity of You & Me is a wild ride through unruly hearts and vivid worlds guaranteed to captivate.


A List of Thoughts:

  1. FINALLY! A multi-verse fantasy. I was filled with an inexplicable excitement when I saw this. I am glad to say it was not misplaced. MULTI-VERSE FANTASTY! And it was awesome.
  2. Concept and world-building are the stars of the stage.
  3.  It is a brilliant melting pot of genres and it surprisingly works. Much like the multiple realities and worlds,  the genres overlap and create something unique.
  4. It is not character-centric, it is an illustration of how the choices we make affect so much more than we can actually see with our own two eyes. (At least, that’s how I read through it)
  5. There is great potential for even more complexity. I don’t know if this is a series or a standalone, but it can go either way. I would love more stories with Alex and the multiple universes.
  6. IRONY! Oh, how I love irony. It makes little things so much more enjoyable. You’ll know it when you see it.
  7. There is a realistic portrayal of mental illness. Though it is linked to the fantasy element of multiple universes, I think it was handled well.
  8. Missing connections and loose ends do make an appearance or two, but it only adds to the overall mystery of the story.
  9. The romance was cute. It was sudden, but it was cute. I guess that’s all you can ask for in an insta-love relationship.

The Glass Sentence

That is almost always the way with stories. True to their very core, even when the events and the people in them are different.

Title: The Glass Sentence

Author: S.E Grove

Series: The Mapmakers Trilogy # 1

Publication: June 12th 2014 by Viking Books for Young Readers

Pages: 493

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

She has only seen the world through maps. She had no idea they were so dangerous.
 
Boston, 1891. Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for generations, have been traveling and mapping the New World—a world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods.  Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself.

Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrack’s maps, common sense, and her own slantwise powers of observation. But even as Sophia and Theo try to save Shadrack’s life, they are in danger of losing their own.


A Listical of Thoughts:

  • I don’t think the book was able to decide if it was supposed to be Middle Grade or Young Adult – made for a very confusing set of standards.
  • THE BOOK IS A GIANT TEASE! You can’t say things and then not go into detail about them. Where is the why? The how? The who? We need to know these things or else you lose all credibility of your story. Follow the rules of the magic you lay out.
  • The characters are impossible to distinguish from their stereotype behaviors – but at the same time, they are super contradictory. It’s very… strange. Nothing about them was consistent. You can be a stereotype (nooo.. don’t do it) as long as you, once again, follow your own rules and groundwork. Making characters say one thing and do another or not know something and still magically know the answer doesn’t work!
  • I will say, the plot and the world itself is unbelievably original and unique. I am one-hundred percent certain that this is the only reason I finished the book. Maps… I will never be able to look at maps the same way again. The world building is brilliant, so props on that.
  • BUT! Yes, that is a big but there. While the idea of the world is brilliant, the actual execution suffers from a lack of knowledge about itself. If that makes sense. As I have said over and over again, if you are going to create a completely new world, you must set your own rules and follow them. There is none of that here! It makes it unbelievable if nothing is explained and it all works out anyway. We, as readers, need some sort of concrete evidence proving to us that this could actually happen in the circumstances you created.
  • Theo is the highlight of this book (besides the idea itself). I love Theo. He is both the hero of the story and the literal hero of the story – he saved the book for me. YAY THEO.
  • It takes a long while for things to get rolling. If you’re okay with drawing things out unnecessarily, then you can overlook it. However, I quite like getting to the conflict – or at least the hint of the conflict, before the first hundred pages are done, yeah?
  • It would benefit from a Pride & Prejudice & and Zombies-eque ending. Actually, it would just benefit from zombies to make it more interesting.

A Torch Against the Night

Perhaps grief is like battle: After experiencing enough of it, your body’s instincts take over. When you see it closing in like a Martial death squad, you harden your insides. You prepare for the agony of a shredded heart. And when it hits, it hurts, but not as badly, because you have locked away your weakness, and all that’s left is anger and strength.

Title: A Torch Against the Night

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Series: An Ember in the Ashes # 2

Publication: August 30th 2016 by Razorbill

Pages: 452

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.


My Thoughts:

Last year, An Ember in the Ashes quickly became one of my favorite books and a new favorite series. It was brilliant, brutal, and breathtaking. Fast forward a year, an extremely painful year of anxiously waiting for the second installment, and here we are. A Torch Against the Night far exceeded my expectations. It ripped my heart out until there was nothing left. It made the events of An Ember in the Ashes look like child’s play. A Torch Against the Night throws us headfirst into the reality of war, grief, horrific politics, and most importantly of all, hope.

Continue reading