GIFTED / Today I bring you my review for a book that I have read twice already. Once before it was released, and second time recently (read: this summer). I enjoyed it both times which is not surprise since Kasie West is one of my all time favourite authors.
Sunkissed was published on May 4th 2021 by Delacorte Press and it has 304 pages. I want to say thank you to Penguin Random House Global for sending me an e-galley of this novel (in an exchange for an honest review).
About the book:
FROM GOODREADS /
Avery has always used music as an escape. But after her best friend betrays her, even her perfectly curated playlists can’t help her forget what happened. To make matters worse, her parents have dragged her and her social-media-obsessed sister to a remote family camp for two months of “fun.” Just when Avery is ready to give up on the summer altogether, she meets Brooks—mysterious, frustratingly charming Brooks—who just happens to be on staff—which means he’s off-limits.
What starts as a disaster turns into . . . something else. As the outside world falls away, Avery embarks on a journey of self-discovery. And when Brooks offers her the chance of a lifetime, she must figure out how far is she willing to go to find out what she wants and who she wants to be.
Kasie West is my go to author when it comes to ya contemporaries. For years she’s been my favourite and by now I know with her books I can’t go wrong.
Sunkissed was entertaining, fun, fluffy at times and perfect pick to spend a relaxing day with. I read it twice and enjoyed it both times.
The book was written in first person which made it so easy to flew through. Avery was a good narrator to follow and I have to say, she has good sense of humour. You know who has even better sense of humour? Her sister. I enjoyed conversations between them and liked their relationship even more than Avery’s and Brooks (who is the love interest).
If you like music and happen to like music making, this story could be the one for you because it features the band and all the things that go along with it: writing, rehearsals, member fights, live gigs…
I wish we got to see more of family camp Avery visited with her family, and if the author decided to include at least one or two camp visitors as well, but overall it was a good book that I would recommend to ya contemporary summer reads.
GIFTED / Today I decided to talk about a book I read recently. Even though it is marketed as thriller and it does have thriller elements, because of it’s writing style it reads slowly so I would say it is dark ya contemporary.
Monsters Among Us was published on January 5th 2021 by Penguin, Crown Books for Young Readers. It has 400 pages. I want to thank the team from Penguin Random House Global for sending me an e-galley of this novel (in an exchange for an honest review).
About the book:
FROM GOODREADS /
When Catherine Ellers returns home after her first semester at college, she is seeking refuge from a night she can barely piece together, dreads remembering, and refuses to talk about. She tries to get back to normal, but just days later the murder of someone close to her tears away any illusion of safety.
Catherine feels driven to face both violent events head on in hopes of finding the perpetrators and bringing them to justice with the help of her childhood friend, Henry. Then a stranger from college arrives with her lost coat, missing driver’s license–and details to help fill in the gaps in her memory that could be the key to solving both mysteries. But who is Andrew Worthington and why is he offering to help her? And what other dangerous obsessions is her sleepy town hiding?
Surrounded by secrets and lies, Catherine must unravel the truth–before this wolf in sheep’s clothing strikes again.
I picked Monsters Among Us because I was in a mood for something dark, and although not so dark but more depressive I got. Still, because of the writing style with all the confusing parts written in italic, jumping from present to past and story told in third person, I couldn’t get into the story nor feel for the characters as much as I wanted to. It also feels like the author more told us about Catherine’s trauma then showed us.
The book reads slowly (at least in my experience) because most of the time it was boring.
The story follows Catherine who comes back home from college after being gang raped. The book covers such an important topic, and I wish it wasn’t overshadowed by murder in the story. Still, I appreciate how Rodden showed us different kinds of monsters that walk among us in every society.
I have to admit that, unlike other readers, I didn’t guess the big revelation and was little shocked by it. I guess that is a good thing.
Would I recommend this book? I would to fans of darker stories written for young adults.
GIFTED / Today I bring you my short review for a novel that I have read a (it feels like) lifetime ago. It was actually this summer, July to be precise. I made a mistake and didn’t review it shortly after I finished it so my review is very short and brief too.
My Epic Spring Break (Up) was released by Penguin Random House Children’s on May 7th 2021. It has 252 pages. I want to thank the team from Penguin Random House Global for sending me an e-galley of this novel (in an exchange for an honest review).
About the book:
FROM GOODREADS /
For coder extraordinaire Ashley, high school is all about prepping for college. Her love life? Virtually nonexistent. She’s never been on a date. Never been kissed. Never been in love.
When her plans veer off course, Ashley realizes she might be missing out on her high school experience. Now that spring break is finally here, Ashley vows to have fun . . . and, for the first time, follow her heart.
Starting with Walker Beech, her gorgeous, maybe-not-so-unrequited crush. But with Jason Eisler–her childhood friend turned prankster–in the picture, trouble is bound to follow. Will Ashley’s epic spring break lead her to love, or will her heart crash and burn?
I made a mistake and didn’t write my review as soon as I finished the book, and now when I finally sit down to express my thoughts, I realized that I forgot most of the story.
So I guess first thing that I will say about the book will be that although it was easy to read and entertaining, it was also forgettable.
Ashley, our protagonist was not the most likeable person, but at the same time it was easy to understand her. I love how her interest into STEM was present through the whole story and how it sort of had it’s own role. The other thing I appreciate was the friendship between Ashley and her friends.
I love to read ya contemporary novels from time to time. My Epic Spring Break (Up) was typical ya contemporary novel, perfect to read in one sitting, but didn’t stand out in the sea of contemporaries.
This summer I spent some of my free time watching The Summer I Turned Pretty. I liked the books (well, I liked the first two books and hated how the trilogy ended) so giving an adaptation a go wasn’t questionable to me. It took me most of the summer to finish the whole season, but that says more about me and less about the series. You see, I never binge watch anything. Even when I had more free time on my hands (in my previous life) it was never my thing. I like to take time with series and I admit, I rarely ever finish them.
This was a fun show aimed for teenagers, but if you ask me, it is totally enjoyable to adults too. It all depends on your taste. I am one of adults who will always appreciate teens and teen stories appeal to me, so I guess I was the perfect audience for this. I will just make a quick note that my sister in law who is 42 recommended this to me because she devoured it and can’t wait for the next season.
So what are my thoughts on The Summer I Turned Pretty? It was definitely good and entertaining, and well done. You can see much effort was put together to make it a high quality. The actors were good. Most of them were new to me. The one who stood out the most with her talent (at least to me) was the actress Rain Spencer who plays Bella’s friend Taylor. She plays in only few episodes, but whenever she’s on the screen she surely takes the spot. I am looking forward to see her in some other projects. I would also want to mention how the main actress Lola Tung reminds me of my cousin and also how pretty actors Sean Kaufman and Minnie Mills are.
The music was amazing. It was gave that perfect feeling to the series. I was familiar with all of the songs as they are ones I listen to in my every day life.
Overall, I think the book to series adaptation was well done and I will definitely watch season 2 when it comes out. Although the summer is behind us and spooky season just started, I still recommend you to watch The Summer I Turned Pretty because it was good, fun, entertaining and emotional at times.
GIFTED / Today I want to talk about a book I finished a month ago, and that was hard for me to review bc while I was typing my words out I got sick. That was my lesson learned not to write while taking a bus ride. The Falling Girls was otherwise a good, entertaining book. It was published on October 5th last year (2021) by Razorbill and today is exactly 1 year since it first hit the shelves. It has 320 pages. I want to thank the team from Penguin Random House Global for sending me an e-galley of this novel (in an exchange for an honest review).
About the book:
FROM GOODREADS /
Shade and Jadis are everything to each other. They share clothes, toothbrushes, and even matching stick-and-poke tattoos. So when Shade unexpectedly joins the cheerleading team, Jadis can hardly recognize who her best friend is becoming.
Shade loves the idea of falling into a group of girls; she loves the discipline it takes to push her body to the limits alongside these athletes . Most of all, Shade finds herself drawn to The Three Chloes–the insufferable trio that rules the squad–including the enigmatic cheer captain whose dark side is as compelling as it is alarming.
Jadis won’t give Shade up so easily, though, and the pull between her old best friend and her new teammates takes a toll on Shade as she tries to forge her own path. So when one of the cheerleaders dies under mysterious circumstances, Shade is determined to get to the bottom of her death. Because she knows Jadis–and if her friend is responsible, doesn’t that mean she is, too?
I went into The Falling Girls without having real expectations. I knew it was a contemporary book with a dark tone, and that part was 100% right. I know this is also generated as a mystery and although it has a mystery inside, I would rather call it a teen drama. In fact, the whole story reminded me of a lifetime movie. Did I love it? Absolutely!
I am an adult who read this novel that is aimed towards teenagers. I am aware that some things I take differently then the appropriate age rang, and maybe my reasons for liking the story are completely different then they would be 15 years ago.
My favourite thing about this book is the exploration of female friendships that can be very unhealthy and how those friendships in teen years define future. I appreciate how the author pictured possessive one on one relationship between friends and how even if it is usually comfortable to bond on such a strong level, it can also be destructive.
The other thing I appreciate is how Hayley Krischer showed us/told us that neglected kids often look for a substitute for absent parents in their friends and how they can become possessive.
The book was written in a simple, entertaining way that was easy to read.
The story was little predictable and the motive behind the crime was a bit stupid, but the author acknowledged it through character conversations, which pleasantly surprised me.
I want to say that I come from a country where cheerleading isn’t a part of the culture and all I know about it is what I learned from the movies. This book made me think how hard and competitive that sport can be and how it’ it’s not appreciated enough.
I enjoyed my time with The Falleng Girls and would recommend it.
GIFTED / Today I want to talk about the book that was promoted highly before it was released earlier this year. I was lucky enough to receive a copy before the book hit the shelves, but was also unfortunate in sense o that I didn’t have enough time to read it. Now when I finally have more free time on my hands, and am organized better I slowly but surely go through my Netgalley shelf and read/review all of those neglected stories I promised I will talk about here on my blog. I am Margaret Moore was published on March 15th 2022 and it has 320 pages. I want to thank the publisher Wednesday Books for providing me an ARC.
About the book:
FROM GOODREADS /
Each summer the girls of Deck Five come back to Marshall Naval School. They sail on jewel-blue waters; they march on green drill-fields; they earn sunburns and honors. They push until they break apart and heal again, stronger.
Each summer Margaret and Rose and Flor and Nisreen come back to the place where they are girls, safe away from the world: sisters bound by something more than blood.
But this summer everything has changed. Girls are missing and a boy is dead. It’s because of Margaret Moore, the boys say. It’s because of what happened that night in the storm.
Margaret’s friends vanish one by one, swallowed up into the lies she has told about what happened between her and a boy with the world at his feet. Can she unravel the secrets of this summer and last, or will she be pulled under by the place she once called home?
I am Margaret Moore was different from everything that I have ever read.
The writing style is very poetic and often repetitive. Assuming that it was repetitive so the author would emphasize the blur in MC’s head and also take us on a journey where we would, slowly, but surely, connect the dots that would lead us to big revelation in the end, I appreciate it in whole honesty.
Still, if I am being true to myself (and you guys), the writing style didn’t do it for me. If anything, it only disconnected me from the main character and although I recognize how important the story is, and that it would be emotionally wracking to some readers, I couldn’t get into it, no matter how hard I tried.
Reading this book was like being in the mist myself, somewhere hidden in an imaginary woods, levitating above the creek and not being able to really see, feel or live the story Hannah Capin made. Because of that, I feel sorry.
And I feel sorry this novel didn’t win hearts of readers all over the world, because in general, I think it was a beautiful story, written in a way that makes it difficult for readers to connect with, and my opinion is that it would work better as a short story.
GIFTED / Today I decided to post my first book review, and I think it is fair to talk about the very first book I have finished this year. Since I didn’t have much time to read and only managed to finish 4 books in January, I think there are chances I’ll cross/post on Book Dust Magic every review I write this year.
It Will End Like This was okay book to pass time, and I will leave you to decide whether you should pick it or not, based on my, and also on other people’s reviews.
About the book:
FROM GOODREADS /
For fans of The Cheerleaders and Sadie comes a psychological thriller that reminds us that in real life, endings are rarely as neat as happily ever after. A contemporay take on the Lizzie Borden story that explores how grief can cut deep.
Charlotte lost her mother six months ago, and still no one will tell her exactly what happened the day she mysteriously died. They say her heart stopped, but Charlotte knows deep down that there’s more to the story.
The only person who gets it is Charlotte’s sister, Maddi. Maddi agrees—people’s hearts don’t just stop. There are too many questions left unanswered for the girls to move on.
But their father is moving on. With their mother’s personal assistant. And both girls are sure that she’s determined to take everything that’s theirs away for herself.
Now the only way to get their lives back is for Charlotte and Maddi to decide how this story ends, themselves.
It Will End Like This is the first book I finished in 2022, but also the one I ended 2021 with. I know, totally not important information, but still I look at it as fun fact (feel free to call me a loser if you want).
The book started good, with a tone that was so easy and also intriguing to follow. Short chapters have the ability to make book seem like it reads faster, and the first person pulls the reader in characters’ heads immediately.
To make things clear, I was thrilled with the way the book started, and the atmosphere the author described through monologues and happenings reminded me of a brilliant novel called We Have Always Lived in a Castle.
However, the more I read, the more I despised Charlie’s inner thoughts, and since we are what we think, I liked her less and less, until I found her just… not my cup of tea.
Still, I could understand how all the things that happened could spin her head and awoke the anger and even madness inside her.
Her sister Maddie seemed like the stronger one, but on the other hand the author decided to focus mostly on Charlie, and explore her character and her inner self more, even if the book follows two POVs.
In the end, I just want to state that I hated not only one, but three side characters: the father, his new girlfriend and the new friend. Books usually have one or two characters readers like to hate, so kudos to Kyra Leigh for creating not one, not two, but three of them, and if we include Charlie among them, we have a band of unlikeable personas.
GIFTED / Today I am bringing you my review for a book I read several weeks ago. I was happy to see it was READ NOW on Netgalley.
You’ve reached Sam comes out tomorrow, on November 2nd and it has 304 pages. Thank you Wednesday Books for giving me an opportunity to read and review it.
About the book:
FROM GOODREADS /
Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.
Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail.
And Sam picks up the phone.
In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.
When I picked You’ve Reached Sam I was ready to be emotionally wracked. Just reading the premise I expected to be at least touched with the story, if not literally crying (because I don’t do that often). Instead, most of the time, this book made me feel… confused.
It had original part: the phone calls between late boyfriend and alive girlfriend, and I do appreciate it’s uniqueness, but if I am being completely honest, after a while I just didn’t see the point. I blame the execution for that part. The idea was good.
I also blame the main character who seriously lacked manners and empathy.
I also didn’t understand how she, and people around her, acted as if everyone should move on so quickly. She getting rid of all of her stuff, her mother advising her and people in school in general. One would say it’s been 6 months since Sam’s accident, not a week.
The book was written in first person, following Julie’s POV. The author’s voice was good and I believe with time it will improve with time.
In my opinion this was a solid ya book with magical elements that made it unique, and it was good for entertainment purpose.
Hi Everyone, It has been a while, probably over a month since the last time I wrote something for this blog. There were some scheduled reviews poping up, but I personally wasn’t active anywhere except on Goodreads, and I was pretty unactive there too. The reason for that: I feel like I never have time to just sit and in piece and silence write and read in front of my computer, except in the very late evening when I am too tired to be productive, so I choose to read instead.
Today is Halloween, and I want to bring you my three reviews for the books I read this October. Non of them was given to me in an exchange for review, but all three of them I chose along with my friends because we wanted to give them a try.
Mexican Gothic was an October pick in the book club I am a member of along with other awesome book reviewers, when Cackle and House of Hollows I read along with Amanda from Chocolate Pages, who is also the member of previously mentioned book club.
So in conclusion, Amanda and I read together all of the three books I talk about today, so make sure to visit her BLOG too, to see what she thought about them.
Mexican Gothic took the bookish community by the storm last year when it came out, and if there wasn’t the hype around it I probably wouldn’t pick it up. It’s magnificent cover, although beautiful to look at, didn’t “speak” to me so this time I am thankful for the hype because now I am glad this novel joined my read shelf.
I, just like most of the readers I believe, have certain aspects of the story that are important for me to like the book, character development being in the first place. What I’ve noticed lately is that the atmosphere in the story is slowly getting closer and closer to take that CD aspect from the throne.
And if there is something this book has fully developed, is the atmosphere. Gothic, dark, gray, wet… I could almost smell the damp when I was imagining being in High Place.
One more thing that makes this book special to me is that my favourite character was High Place. Yes, you read it right. The big, cold house has such a strong presence it felt like it was a person itself.
As for other characters, I think our MC Noemi was fully developed and it was clear what was her motive, her reasons to act the way she did, and she was also likeable and the one to look up to.
On the other hand, I think some side characters could have been more developed or at least more presented.
The writing was good and easy to read, but if I am being honest, the story was boringat times and I caught myself yearning for some action, or at least for something to happen.
As we got closer to end and secrets started yo reveal I was little disappointed with the way the story turned, but at the same time I appreciate it because it does make it different from other stories in this genre (here I am mostly comparing it to movies as I am still new to horror genre in written form). My personal opinion is that the movie would be great and I would like to absorb it for the first time in that format, but that ship has sailed, obviously.
In the end, I just want to warn you about some scenes that can be triggering like ones that can remind of sexual abuse, but there is long list on TW for this novel so make sure to check it out. I don’t always recognize them, as they are personal to each reader, but I would say TW: sexual abuse, racism, substance addiction, and also some graphic and gory scenes.
I decided to give Mexican Gothic 3,75 stars because although it was good and I can’t find it many flows except maybe being too slow at times, it just didn’t wow me to give it a higher rating.
Let’s make one thing clear: 👏This is not a thriller! This is not a horror! 👏 To be a thriller, it has to play with your (or at least the MC’s) mind, to be a horror, it has to have at least one character dead/murdered (or in danger of the same) and at least one gory scene.
(Not) Sorry to spoil you, but this has non of that.
This is cozy women’s fiction with paranormal (witchy, perfect for Halloween) elements that can also be categorized as feminist novel and that is it!!
It was weird, I’ll give it that, but it is definitely not disturbing (unless you hate spiders, who are here pets because why not throw something childish and unnecessary to make it unique)!
So yeah, if you consider Twilight a horror because it has vampires as characters, then this is the horror/thriller for you. If you are looking for thrilling book that will keep you at the edge of your sit, this is not a book for you.
This is cozy, slow paced book, perfect for readers who are looking something to read for Halloween, but instead of being scared, they want to be relaxed.
It was entertaining, with characters interesting enough, and easy to read writing style. It is written in first person.
I could spend my time overanalyzing the novel, telling you how Annie reminded me of my own friend which made me care for her on a higher level, how in my mind Sophie looks like Megan Fox, how I loved Sam and am sorry the writer ruined his character even though I understand why she did it, how I think cat would work way better then the spider and how absurd it was for MC to take everything like it was even though no sane person would do it. I could also tell you how I really enjoyed the atmosphere and my friend Amanda who I buddy read this with, and me, we had great time and how this book was exactly what we both needed after finishing Mexican Gothic, but I won’t bore you more then necessary.
I will just recommend this novel to everyone who are looking for cozy autumn book with witchy/Halloween elements.
House of Hollow
As soon as I saw the cover for House of Hollows I knew I had to read it. The design reminds me of Horrid and Wilder Girls, books I both enjoyed so much, and I have a theory that covers like this keep weird and brilliant stories between the pages. This book proves my theory right!
The story is narrated by Iris, the youngest of the three sisters who disappeared one night and came back one month later not knowing where they’ve been, and clueless about the truth about what happened to them.
The story is written in first person, easy to follow and fast paced from the very beginning. In fact, it was so fast paced at times that I was lost for moments (that often happens to me in fighting scenes).
Once again, my favourite part of the story was the atmosphere. I noticed that that aspect in storytelling became of huge importance for me, so I loved this book for it.
I can’t say much about the world or things that happened, because I don’t know where is the line between reviewing and spoiling in this particular case, but I will say that my bets are the author found some inspiration in the movie Insidious.
The characters were all presented very well, and I love how the author played the game of good guy/bad guy masquerade. I would tell you who’s side I was on, but then I would spoil you, so I’ll keep my mouth shout (or my fingers reserved, I should say).
The epilogue was the only part I didn’t like, as I find it unnecessary.
I should also mention I shared this reading experience with my friend Amanda, who I’m buddy reading so often lately, we should call ourselves bookish sisters. She is not the one to pick fantasy, paranormal or ya on her own, but she really enjoyed this book too, so that says something, right?
In conclusion, I am sooooooo glad I’ve read this novel. It was perfect Halloween/October choice and I recommend it to everyone who is searching something spooky.
GIFTED / I really enjoy retellings so I always look forward to discover new ones, especially if the retelling is witten in genre different then the original story, like it was the case with Within These Wicked Walls, where the author managed to make horror out of the love story (but if you ask me, Jane Eyre is kind of horror-ish).
This book will be published tomorrow, on October 19th and it has 336 pages. I received a copy via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review. I want to say Thank You to St. Martin Press, Wednesday Books.
About the book:
FROM GOODREADS / What the heart desires, the house destroys…
Kiersten White meets Tomi Adeyemi in this Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre.
Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.
Action packed from the very beginning, and I love it!
I picked Within These Wicked Walls by accident, misplacing it for another ya horror that was coming out this year. However, I am not sorry because I was in a mood for horror, and horror I got.
I like how the story opened with an action and I was pulled into it so very easily. I don’t know if this book is in ya category as the main character Andri is 19 years old, but to me it definitely read as ya horror.
The setting was little hard for me to understand, and I am honestly considering rereading this whole novel to understand it better, plus I do believe that I would appreciate the story more if I give it another go. What also confused me was how this read as fantasy but then book classics would be mentioned and at times I had feeling I was reading historical fiction with fantasy/horror elements…
This supposed to be Jane Eyre retelling, and although I can see little similarity in setting (big castle) and ghost who maybe was it’s version of captured wife from the Jane Eyre, I can’t agree that this is retelling. I personally saw more similarities with Beauty and the Beast.
I loved characters and the main plot, including all the horror elements and action scenes, but I didn’t like the love story. I didn’t feel the chemistry between Andri and Magnus, and it all felt all of a sudden. To be honest, I’d prefer if the story was without it.
All in all, good, fast paced story, perfect choice to read in October.