Book Review: Truly Devious

Book Review: Truly Devious

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Series: Truly Devious #1
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Genres: YA contemporary, mystery
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

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Review: Her Name in the Sky

Review: Her Name in the Sky

Her Name in the Sky by Kelly Quindlen
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Genres: F/F romance
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Hannah wants to spend her senior year of high school going to football games and Mardi Gras parties with her tight-knit group of friends.

The last thing she wants is to fall in love with a girl–especially when that girl is her best friend, Baker.

Hannah knows she should like Wally, the kind, earnest boy who asks her to prom. She should cheer on her friend Clay when he asks Baker to be his girlfriend. She should follow the rules of her conservative Louisiana community–the rules that have been ingrained in her since she was a child.

But Hannah longs to be with Baker, who cooks macaroni and cheese with Hannah late at night, who believes in the magic of books as much as Hannah does, and who challenges Hannah to be the best version of herself.

And Baker might want to be with Hannah, too–if both girls can embrace that world-shaking, yet wondrous, possibility.

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Review: Whatever Life Throws at You

Review: Whatever Life Throws at You

Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Genres: YA contemporary
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas’s life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she’s living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals’ super-hot rookie pitcher.

But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.

But baseball isn’t just a game. It’s life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…

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Review: Emmy & Oliver

Review: Emmy & Oliver

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Genres: YA contemporary
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

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Review: The Book of Broken Hearts

Review: The Book of Broken Hearts

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Genres: YA contemporary
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

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Mini-Reviews: Gallagher Girls #4-6

Mini-Reviews: Gallagher Girls #4-6

Sometimes I read too fast and can’t keep up with the reviews. Here are a few of the books. 

I’ve decided to reread one of my all-time favorite series! These books aren’t terribly long, so I was able to binge the first three on the weekend.

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #4
Release Date: June 29, 2010
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

This was a great addition to the series, but I felt like this book was a bit slower than the previous one, mostly around the beginning/middle parts.

I liked that we learned more about The Circle, our main villain in the series, which is an organization of double agents. We learn a little bit about why they’re after Cammie and what their motivations are.

Joe Solomon, who is a professor at Cammie’s school and a trusted friend of the family, is one of my favorite characters of the series. We learn more about him and his past in this book, and I liked that we got to focus a bit more on other characters besides Cammie.

The tone of the book definitely shifts here, it gets a bit darker and that’s how it stays through the rest of the series. While it had a bit of a slow start the story does pick up, and the last 50 pages or so were phenomenal. They were filled with angst and adventure, it really kept my attention.

four stars

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #5
Release Date: March 12, 2012
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

This is my favorite of the series, hands down. We get like 90% of our questions answered here, finally! 

This book picks up a few months after book 4. Cammie finds herself waking up with no memory how how she spent the summer. The plot basically follows Cammie trying to put together her reconciliation of the summer and get some answers to what happened to her father.

The friendship between Cammie and her roommates is seen in a new light this time around. I love how complex her relationships are with everyone in her life. We also get so much romance between Zach and Cammie in this book. They are completely adorable.

This book brings in a whole slew of emotions. This book made my heart break, okay? None of the previous books made me feel like this, but parts of this book were filled with such sadness and loneliness, gah.

This book is fantastic and will make you feel all the feels.

five stars

United We Spy by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #6
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

It’s so sad to see a series that really made an impact on your life as a kid end. This series was with me from ages 11 – 17 and it taught me a lot about loyalty and friendship.

Plot wise I can’t say much. Cammie and her friends are determined to bring down The Circle so of course this book is filled with action, more so than any other book.

Also, I remember when I first saw that cover I started crying. Cammie holding her diploma is everything. Considering we meet her at 15, she was just a child, and she went through so much during her years as a Gallagher Girl, it just made me so emotional.

I can’t recommend this series enough. Cammie, Macey, Bex, Liz, and Zach all have special places in my heart. The adults in Cammie’s life are also so special. My heart aches.

five stars