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

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

I do this tag every year, so let’s jump straight in!

Best book you’ve read so far in 2020

The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon

This was a long awaited sequel and it did not disappoint! The Bone Season series is amazing so far & I can’t wait for the next sequel!

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

Heartstopper: Vol 4 by Alice Oseman

The Mask Falling could also fit this one but I decided to go with the second best! This one is also incredible & I love that it’s dealing with some serious topics in an amazing way.

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

Namesake by Adrienne Young

I LOVED Fable, so I can’t wait to get to this one! I haven’t been in a fantasy mood & I don’t want that to impact my enjoyment, so I’m holding off just now.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

All of us Villains by Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman

I am SOOOO FUCKING KEEN for this book! I have loved books by both Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman, so this collaboration is very exciting! They are both incredible authors that can create extremely in-depth worlds that are very eerie & atmospheric.

Biggest disappointment

This is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes

This one sounded really good & I love the cover so I was super excited. It just didn’t live up to expectations though & I ended up rating it 2.5 Stars

Biggest surprise

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

I hadn’t heard anything about this book & the title interested me. Which is why I picked up the audiobook on Scribd. So I literally knew NOTHING about it besides looking up the genre & ensuring it wasn’t listed as romance on Goodreads. So it was definitely a surprise when I loved it! It was extremely unpredictable & such a suspenseful read. Also highly recommend the audiobook as it features a podcast, so that comes to life in the audiobook.

Favourite new author (debut or new to you)

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

This is a bit of a grasp. There isn’t any new to me authors that I have read more of one book from to really say that ‘yes I like this author’… I’ve done a lot of catching up on series this year, so there is a lot of old faves but no new faves. This is an author that I am definitely curious about & will be picking up more work by them!

Newest favourite character

Check Please! Year One

Bitty is so damn precious!

Book that made you cry

Heartstopper: Volume 4 by Alice Oseman

This series is super cute but also mixes in some more serious topics including homophobia, eating disorders & depression. This one was very impactful & I loved it.

Book that made you happy

The Avant-Guards: Volume Two

This is just such a fun series! These characters are chaotic but amazing. There are tonnes of funny moments & times where I am full on laughing at this series.

The most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

These are not my images*. They are off the Fairyloot website & photo credit is at the bottom of the screen capture.

I’m giving two answers for this one. This fairyloot edition of The Prison Healer is STUNNING! Stenciled sprayed edges, custom cover, art on the reverse of the dust jacket & a foiled design on the hardcover? Absolutely gorgeous! But as for not special edition books I’m going with Red Tigress!

Red Tigress by Amelie Wen Zhao

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

God Storm by Coco Ma

This is one of many books on my 21 books to read in 2021. I’m hoping to get to this one very soon! I still have 14 books to complete on that list & one I have scratched completely as I DNFd.

Favourite book to movie adaptation you’ve seen this year?

I honestly haven’t watched many movies this year & I’m pretty sure I haven’t watched any adaptations. I watched the first couple episodes of Shadow & Bone on Netflix but I haven’t finished it as I just haven’t been in a TV/Movie kind of mood.

Thanks for reading! Eliza

GraphicsAThon & June Wrap Up

I got a tonne of books read in June thanks to GraphicsAThon! I read 14 Graphic Novels, 2 Paperbacks & 2 Audiobooks.
Let’s jump in!

Paperbacks

I’ve really been in a mystery mood so both of these were perfect for that. I rated both of these 4 stars.

Audiobooks

I Killed Zoe Spanos is an interesting Mystery Thriller! I rated this on 4.5 stars & I would highly recommend the audiobook as this one features a podcast which is very well done on audiobook!
The Last Magician was a reread as I wanted to continue onto book 2. While I did read The Last Magician I ended up DNFing book 2 as I was just bored & found the book very repetitive.

Graphic Novels

I have already reviewed 4 of these & you can find that HERE! I’ll be posting more mash up reviews so keep an eye out for those if you are curious about my ratings.

Currently Reading

Let’s Chat!

What was the best book you read in June?
Mine would have to be I Killed Zoe Spanos!

Anonymous Bookaholics Tag

I saw this tag over on Nine Bookish Lives and liked the questions so thought I would answer them myself!
Let’s jump in!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT BUYING NEW BOOKS?

It makes me more hyped to read! Even if I’m not reading that book it puts me in a good reading mood & makes me more likely to go and pick up my current read.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU BUY NEW BOOKS?

Not very often really as I’ve been exercising some restraint as I’m moving towns this year & it will be easier to have less books. I usually put in an order with Angus & Robertson about every month or two. Those orders usually include about 4ish books as that usually gets me over the free shipping threshold.

BOOKSTORE OR ONLINE BOOK SHOPPING: WHICH DO YOU PREFER?

Online for me! I do love going to book stores but unfortunately in Australia book stores are usually a lot more expensive that utilising online sellers. However I do always check out the book section of shops like Target, Kmart & Big W as the books their are super cheap. They aren’t actually book stores though.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE BOOKSTORE?

Angus & Robertson definitely. They have good prices, offer free shipping, have AfterPay & they package their books well! They are closely followed by Book Depository.
I personally will not buy books on Amazon as I have had many bad experiences with them in the past & the same can be said for Booktopia.

DO YOU PRE-ORDER BOOKS?

I try to. I don’t always remember until it’s too late but when I do place my Angus & Robertson order I usually try and checkout whats coming out in the next month or so before placing the order.

DO YOU HAVE A MONTHLY BUYING LIMIT?

Not specifically. I am trying to buy less because of money as well as moving soon as stated above but I don’t have an exact limit for myself.

HOW BIG IS YOUR WISHLIST?

Honestly I don’t really have a dedicated wish list. I made one kind of last year before Christmas as I my partner wanted to grab me some books but wanted to make sure it was something I actually wanted. That’s about it though.

WHICH 3 BOOKS FROM YOUR WISHLIST DO YOU WISH TO OWN RIGHT NOW?

These are all upcoming releases that I’m keen for.

Let’s Chat!

Do you have a wish list? Am I the weird one that doesn’t?

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!

Let’s Chat!

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


What books have you read & loved recently?

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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.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read The Game? What did you rate it?


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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.

Let’s Chat!

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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Book Depository
Hardcover

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Hardcover

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Hardcover
eBook

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Hardcover
eBook


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