Last One to Die 🔪 Spoiler Free Review

Title: Last One to Die
Author: Cynthia Murphy
Genre: YA Thriller
Publication Date: Jan 7th, 2021
Pages: 294
Publishers: Scholastic
Rating:

4.5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Young, brunette women are being attacked in the city of London.

16-year-old, Irish-born Niamh has just arrived for the summer, and quickly discovers that the girls being attacked look frighteningly similar to her.

Determined to make it through her Drama Course, Niamh is placed at the Victorian Museum to put her drama skills to the test, and there she meets Tommy: he’s kind, fun, attentive, and really hot! . . . Nonetheless, there’s something eerie about the museum.

As the two strands of present-day serial attacker and sinister Victorian history start to collide, Niamh realises that things are not as they seem. Will she be next?

Last One to Die Book Cover

Last One to Die started off slow but I ended up absolutely hooked & loved the end of it! To be fair it was probably only the first 50 or so pages that were a tad slow for me. They weren’t necessarily slow moving, like stuff happens fairly quickly but I just wasn’t quite hooked just yet. I was struggling a little around the 50 – 100 page mark but I decided to start listening to the audiobook as well & it was the best decision! I read the rest of the story in one sitting by listening to the audiobook & reading along with the physical book. It just picked up the pace a little bit for me which I needed.

This book was VERY unpredictable. Right until a couple sentences before the reveal I had absolutely no damn clue who it was. There was a ‘reveal’ in the middle’ish of the book but I knew everything wasn’t revealed yet. Which was kind of obvious as it was the middle of the book. Everything doesn’t usually wrap up smack in the middle of a book. So I knew something was yet to come but I honestly had no idea that it would turn out the way it did!

I loved the main character, she was very relatable & read very realistic. Her reactions to the things she was going through made sense. I find that some characters can just handle everything & I’m sitting there thinking I would be loosing my mind if this was me. Well Niamh was exactly what I wanted in that respect. Did she scream & run away a couple times? yes! Did she have a full on panic attack a couple times? yes! Because that’s what real people would do in that situation!

I also really enjoyed the sneaky little paranormal aspect that this book had! All I knew was that it was a YA Thriller/Mystery, so that was a pleasant surprise. I love the combo of fantasy elements with mystery/thrillers. So this was perfect for me.

The one thing I didn’t like was the romance. It happened very quickly & felt a little forced at times. I understand it’s purpose in the story but it just wasn’t my favourite.

Overall I definitely think it’s worth the read! The audiobook is very well narrated & helped me really get into it. Especially as the narrator had the correct accent for the character. How I read certain phrases & slang in my head was just not right with my accent! So it was nice to have the narrator say them properly! If you are after an unpredictable thriller full of craziness & will probably make you look over your shoulder 150 times while reading then this is the one for you!

Thanks for reading! Eliza

Ace of Spades ♠️ Spoiler Free Review

Title: Ace of Spades
Author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Genre: YA Thriller
Publication Date: June 1st, 2021
Pages: 415
Publishers: Feiwel & Friends
Rating:

4 Stars
Ace of Spades book cover

So, I’m still not 100% on my rating choice. This one was hard as there were things that really irritated me but also it was super gripping after the 200 page mark… So I’m a bit indecisive.

Let’s start with what I didn’t like. The beginning was too much high school drama for my taste. That’s just personal preference but even in real life I was never apart of that side of high school or cared in the slightest. Most of it I just find petty. Which was my thoughts a few times in the beginning of the book.

The next thing I disliked was Chiamaka & Jamie as characters. Chiamaka did grow a little throughout the book but even in the end I wasn’t super impressed with her. Both here & Jamie were toxic & manipulative characters and while Chiamaka did call Jamie out on it eventually, no one really called Chiamaka out. Which was annoying. It was like it’s fine to treat people like that as long as you can give a reason how it benefits you. Oh and if you feel powerful while doing it! Uhmm, no, you’re just a shitty person.

The last point on my dislike list is the ending. Some things were wrapped up but I feel like there was sooo much left unanswered or half finished. I can’t go into details because spoilers but there was a character in jail, we never found out what happened. We never found out the actual details about Devon’s dad. What happened to Chiamaka’s love interest? Were they there the night shit hit the fan? They just kind of disappeared off the face of the earth. So yeah, I have a lot of questions…. And it’s a standalone, so I will never get them answered.

NOW onto the positives. This book was straight up GRIPPING in the last 200 pages.

It went like:
First 100 pages: meh, school drama
Next 100 pages: I’m curious but not hooked
Last 200 pages: holy fuck what is happening!

The last 200 pages had me hooked & I was so damn invested in this story that I read the last 170 pages in one sitting. That is the main reason it has such a high rating for me to be honest.

I enjoyed that we had both m/m & f/f representation as well as POC. I’m not sure I’ve actually read a LGBT+ POC character before but I could be wrong. Either way it was nice to see representation!

I did enjoy Devon as a character as well as Terrell. Devon was a very fleshed out character which I enjoyed. You see both his & Chiamaka’s struggles being POC. Devon especially as he is also Gay and doesn’t live in a great neighbourhood. His Ma is so precious too. Chiamaka we see a little bit of the struggle of having a white dad and how he doesn’t understand or really advocate for her as a POC. So there were a lot of aspects relating to POC experience covered in this book which was awesome to see. While I’m not POC myself and can’t directly relate this is definitely representation we need in YA books!

In conclusion I’m still confused about my rating. I hoped writing this review would help me weigh the good & bad but I still don’t know if I should rate this 3.5 or 4 stars. I’ll leave it as 4 for now but may adjust after thinking a bit more. I only finished the book about an hour before posting this. So it’s still fresh.

Thanks for reading! Eliza

Graphic Novel Mash Up 📚 Spoiler Free Reviews

The Avant-Guards: Vol 2 & Down to the Wire

Title: The Avant-Guards: Vol 2 & The Avant-Guards: Down to the Wire
Series: The Avant-Guards
Author: Carly Usdin & Noah Hayes
Genre: YA LGBT
Publication Date: Feb 18th, 2020 & Nov 12th, 2020
Pages: 112
Publishers: BOOM! Box
Rating:

5 Stars

This graphic Novel series is INCREDIBLE! It’s so much fun but also touches on the importance of friendship & the natural struggles that can come with that.
This one also has amazing rep! The Avant-Guards features a Trans Woman, a Non-Binary Person & a Sapphic relationship! *Chefs kiss*
I really hope they expand this series. The story kind of wrapped up in Down to the Wire but there could easily be more to this and I would be totally here for it!


Alice: From Dream to Dream

Title: Alice: From Dream to Dream
Author: Giulio Macaione, Giulia Adragna & Adapted to English by Jackie Ball
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: Oct 2nd, 2018
Pages: 144
Publishers: BOOM! Box
Rating:

4.5 Stars
Alice: From Dream to Dream Cover

Alice was a beautiful story that featured the importance of family & friendship. It was a very impactful read while also having some action & suspense. The fantasy aspect just took it up a notch for me. I found it fascinating but would also love to know more about the world itself. Was her ability somewhat normal? Do other people have abilities? Or is Alice the only one? I’m curious about the world for sure. Alice was also adapted to English which was a fun surprise. I do try and make an effort to read adaptations but I find most of the popular ones just aren’t a genre/story I would read. Which makes it hard but this one is definitely worth the read!


Eat, and Love Yourself

Title: Eat, and Love Yourself
Author: Sweeney Boo & Lilian Klepakowsky
Genre: YA Magical Realism
Publication Date: Apr 21st, 2020
Pages: 160
Publishers: BOOM! Box
Rating:

3.5 Stars
Eat, and Love Yourself Cover

This one left me a little underwhelmed. The fantasy element was interesting but definitely not explained in the slightest. I also felt like at times the story was a little all over the place. It was very disjointed at times which made it a little hard to follow.
While I personally have never experienced an eating disorder and can’t directly comment on that rep I do feel like it could have ended a lot better. It ended very abruptly with no resolution. I feel like it might have been more impactful to see Mindy overcoming her struggles with eating disorders & her journey to loving herself. That’s just not what we got though. It ended with her saying she will do better but that was it.
There are definitely people out there enjoying it and I’ve seen positive feedback regarding the rep from people who have gone through a similar experience. However, for me it just didn’t quite hit the mark.

Let’s Chat!

What was the last Graphic Novel you read?

Two Line Reviews 📚 #2

Welcome to #2 of Two Line (well 2 sentences really) Reviews! Let’s do this!

The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane

4. 5 Stars

Extremely unpredictable & fun Middle Grade novel! Amazing friend group & a very gripping story.

A Vow so Bold and Deadly

4.5 Stars

Amazing wrap up to the A Curse so Dark and Lonely series! Awesome characters, unpredictable & engaging story.

Heartstopper: Vol 4

5 Stars

I thought the eating disorder sub plot was very well handled in the book. Story is cute, gripping as well as heartbreaking & heartwarming.

The Deck of Omens

4 Stars

Conclusion wrapped up nicely but not sure if this book was better than book 1. Very mysterious & unpredictable and I also love the creepy setting!

Lost in the Never Woods

4 Stars

Read kind of like a middle grade more than YA, as the characters felt/acted young. Loved the tie between Peter Pan retelling, dark fantasy & mystery!

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Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts?


What books have you read & loved recently?

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Two Line Reviews 📚 #1

I found myself scrolling through the Reader tab looking at other peoples posts and while doing so I was thinking that I should do some mini reviews for the books I read in January as I didn’t review ANY of them! Next second THIS post came up called ‘One-Line Reviews #2’ from Pooled Ink and it was a perfect fit for what I was thinking about! So no, this was not my idea & you should definitely go check out Pooled Ink!

So, welcome to my first Two Line Reviews post! I didn’t think 1 line was quite enough for me, so 2 it is. I will try & do these frequently and they will include the books that I haven’t reviewed which will generally be audiobooks & graphic novels that I’ve read. I’ll try and aim for 5 books each post and hopefully post twice a month depending on how many books I read that month!
Enough talking, let’s jump in!

Bee and PuppyCat: Volume 1 by Natasha Allegri

3 Stars

This graphic novel was just weird & confusing. I didn’t get anything out of it and I didn’t see any point to it but the art was cute.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

2.5 Stars

I don’t personally enjoy the lyrical type writing style of this one as I find it excess & sometimes confusing. This one I also found slow & kinda boring which I think is definitely influenced by the writing style having so much floweriness (yes, that’s a word now) & excess detail.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

4 Stars

Absolutely amazing representation & Characters and the plot was engaging and fun. I didn’t personally like the insta love romance, just not my thing, and I just don’t think it quite lived up to the hype everyone has been giving it.

To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

This one was so much fun and had amazing main characters that I just loved so much! To Best the Boys was also very engaging & I was hooked from the very beginning.

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

I expected this to be a fairly common YA Mystery but nope, let’s throw a fantastical element in there! This was so interesting, gripping & well written.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read any of these books? What would your Two Line Review be?!


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The Game 💫 Spoiler Free Review 🎄 Blogmas Day 16

Title: The Game
Author: Linsey Miller
Genre: YA Mystery
Publication Date: August 4th, 2020
Pages: 240
Publishers: Underlined
Rating:

4 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis

A game turns deadly with a killer who picks his victims one by one, letter by letter.

Every year the senior class at Lincoln High plays assassin. Lia Prince has been planning her strategy for years and she’s psyched that not only does she finally get to play, she’s on a team with Devon Diaz. But this year, the game isn’t any fun–it’s real. Abby Ascher, Ben Barnard, and Cassidy Clarke have all turned up . . . dead. Can Lia stop the ABC killer before he reaches D?

The Game was a super short & easy to read book! It was gripping and kept me hooked the entire time. I loved the mystery & I wasn’t able to guess it at all until the reveal! Even though it was short, it packed a punch and was very mysterious & at times thrilling. There were a couple spots where you had no idea if they were going to make it out alive. There was even one part that gave me the creeps & I’m really glad I didn’t have to walk alone anywhere because I would have been looking over my shoulder & hearing shit the whole time.

Surprisingly one of my favourite parts was the actual game. They play this game called Assassin & they get put in teams & given a target and they have to shoot their target with a water gun. I found this really intriguing and I was super interested in the game even before the murder mystery part started happening. I would totally read a book just based off this game!

I also really enjoyed the characters. Even though this book is only 200 pages the characters were very fleshed out. We learnt a lot about a lot of characters & really got to know the 4 major characters. I did feel that the romance kinda wasn’t necessary. However, it also kinda played a part in the plot, I guess, so I kinda get it. I just didn’t really care for those parts. I’m here for the murdery stuff, not the romancy stuff.

The only downside it really had was the ending. While the reveal was unexpected it just happened so quickly. I guess it’s just because it’s a short story but I just wanted more from the big ending. It was probably the least thrilling/gripping of the whole book.

Overall I did really enjoy The Game but I think the ending could have been a bit better. I’m very keen to see if this author comes out with another book in the mystery/thriller category as before now she had only released fantasy books. While I love her fantasy, lately I am gravitating towards mystery/thriller/horror a bit more, so I would love to see more of those from Linsey Miller.

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Over the Woodward Wall 💫 Spoiler Free Review 🎄 Blogmas Day 11

Title: Over the Woodward Wall
Author: A. Deborah Baker (AKA Seanan McGuire)
Series: The Up-and-Under
Genre: MG Fantasy
Publication Date: October 6th, 2020
Pages: 203
Publishers: TorDotCom
Rating:

4 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis

If you trust her you’ll never make it home…
Avery is an exceptional child. Everything he does is precise, from the way he washes his face in the morning, to the way he completes his homework – without complaint, without fuss, without prompt.

Zib is also an exceptional child, because all children are, in their own way. But where everything Avery does and is can be measured, nothing Zib does can possibly be predicted, except for the fact that she can always be relied upon to be unpredictable.

They live on the same street.
They live in different worlds.

On an unplanned detour from home to school one morning, Avery and Zib find themselves climbing over a stone wall into the Up and Under – an impossible land filled with mystery, adventure and the strangest creatures.

And they must find themselves and each other if they are to also find their way out and back to their own lives.”

So, I loved the Wayward Children‘s series and while I did enjoy this one it did not live up to my expectations. Wayward Children was interesting, thrilling, mysterious & so freaking unique and I just loved it. Over the Woodward Wall just didn’t quite hit that mark. It’s still 4 stars but definitely not what I expect from Seanan McGuire.

I think my main issue was I couldn’t connect with the characters. I don’t know if thats a me issue, because its middle grade or what but I just felt no connection with them. I did really enjoy the Crow Girl and I think I enjoyed her more than the 2 main characters actually. So that was annoying. I’m sorry to keep comparing this to Wayward Children but I was so invested in this characters from the very start, so to feel such a disconnect with these characters was disappointing.

This book gave me Alice in Wonderland & Wizard of Oz vibes, both of which I enjoy the story of but they aren’t my favourites. Especially the similarities with Alice in Wonderland where absolutely nothing makes sense and the author just did things because she can and not because there is a reason. I’m just not a huge fan of that aspect. I like to learn and understand things about the world. So while this world was unique and king of interesting it also frustrated me that nothing much made sense.

I did find the story unpredictable, action packed and generally engaging. So that is the main reason for my higher rating. I enjoyed the overall experience but there were a few things that annoyed me a little. And again, I had high expectations based on what I have previously read by Seanan McGuire (both Wayward Children & Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day) and this one just didn’t quite live up to it in my opinion!

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Legendborn 💫 Spoiler Free Review 🎄 Blogmas Day 6

Title: Legendborn
Author: Tracy Deonn
Series: Legendborn #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: September 15th, 2020
Pages: 512
Publishers: Simon & Schuster
Rating:

3.5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

Let’s start with the parts I enjoyed and that was mainly the world. It was very unique & interesting and I had fun learning about the world & magic system.

However, I simply couldn’t connect with the actual story or characters. Which is the main reason I rated Legendborn 3.5 stars. There wasn’t anything extremely wrong with the book in my opinion but if I can’t connect then I struggle to care what happens. I would have probably DNFd this one if the audiobook hadn’t been available on Scribd because I was just struggling. I took so long reading it because I just wasn’t excited about picking it up.

I did have a couple actual issues with the book as well.
Firstly, the characters felt a bit 2 dimensional. I think if they had been a bit more fleshed out & realistic it would have been easier to connect to it.
The romance was also bleh. I don’t love romance at the best of times but a super predictable love triangle? No thank you.
Then there was the racism. While I love a good discussion on racism in books this one for some reason just felt so forced. I felt like the main character mentioned all the damn time that she was black like the author just wanted to double and triple check that you knew she was POC.

Overall, this one just wasn’t for me. I had a few issues and a few things I enjoyed but unfortunately the good wasn’t enough to out-way the bad.

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Have you read Legendborn? What did you rate it?



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Clown in a Cornfield 💫 Spoiler Free Review

Title: Clown in a Cornfield
Author: Adam Cesare
Genre: YA Horror
Publication Date: August 25th, 2020
Pages: 352
Publishers: HarperTeen
Rating:

4 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Quinn Maybrook just wants to make it until graduation. She might not make it to morning.

Quinn and her father moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs to find a fresh start. But ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half. On one side are the adults, who are desperate to make Kettle Springs great again, and on the other are the kids, who want to have fun, make prank videos, and get out of Kettle Springs as quick as they can.

Kettle Springs is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It’s a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now.

Let’s talk about my main issue with this book & why it didn’t get a higher rating!
So my issue was the reveal/motive. Quite frankly it just didn’t make any sense. It was completely unrealistic and it kinda just felt like a half assed excuse because they couldn’t think of anything better. Besides the actual reveal of who was behind it the ending itself was fine though.

Now, for what I did enjoy! This book was very gripping. I didn’t want to stop reading because I was keen to know what was going to happen next. The action scenes were also written very well. There was no confusion & they were very thrilling to read!

I enjoyed the slower start which let you get to know the characters before jumping in into the actual horror/slasher part. Getting to know the characters meant that I actually cared what was happening to them & were rooting for certain characters. That the one thing I dislike about some slasher style movies. They jump straight in and you don’t know who the characters are, so it’s hard to really care what’s happening to them.

This book was also very atmospheric. I loved the way the author described the town & surroundings. It made it very easy to picture what was happening. Which definitely added to the overall appeal of the book.

So, overall I had a good time reading it and it was very gripping. However, I just didn’t think the motive made too much sense in the end. I do recommend picking up Clown in a Cornfield, but just know that the reveal isn’t the strongest point in the book.


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The Inheritance Games 💫 Spoiler Free Review 📚 Blogtober #28

Title: The Inheritance Games
Series Name: The Inheritance Games
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: YA Mystery
Publication Date: September 1st, 2020
Pages: 384
Publishers: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists, perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

This one was a very pleasant surprise as there has been very little talk about it & I had no idea what to expect.

The Inheritance Games was a very mysterious & unpredictable story. It was gripping & I found myself not wanting to stop listening. It was very addictive actually, even if I could only listen to 3 minutes of it in between other thinks I found myself putting it on when I usually wouldn’t. So that tells me that I was enjoying it!

All the characters were very realistic and nearly all had a backstory and depth put into them. I like that you also saw the characters developing & showing more of themselves throughout as Avery got to know them. I also like how different the 4 boys are. The author could have gave them all the same qualities but every one was unique & interesting in their own way.

I also loved how atmospheric the book was. I loved learning about the house & surrounds as it really built a picture & set the scene. The authors writing when it came to explaining things definitely helped in engrossing you in the story and being invested in the characters.

Overall I really enjoyed The Inheritance Game and more than I thought I would as I simply didn’t know what to expect as I have heard basically no one talking about this. This is book 1 in a duology, so I’m loving that as duologys are hard to find. I’m very keen to see what will happen next!


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