ARC Review: I Killed Zoe Spanos



My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Pages: 384
Publisher:Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published: June 30th, 2020



When Anna Cicconi arrives to the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills for a summer nanny gig, she has high hopes for a fresh start. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year’s Eve. Anna bears an eerie resemblance to Zoe, and her mere presence in town stirs up still-raw feelings about the unsolved case. As Anna delves deeper into the mystery, stepping further and further into Zoe’s life, she becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected—and that she knows what happened to her. Two months later, Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Anna’s confession is riddled with holes, and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn’t satisfied. Did Anna really kill Zoe? And if not, can Martina’s podcast uncover the truth? – Synopsis from Goodreads. 

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Middle Grade Monday Review: Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega

MG MOnday

Hey everyone!  I’ve moved Middle-Grade Monday over from our TBR and Beyond Facebook Group to the blog! Hopefully I can bring you lots of great reviews, topics and maybe even some author interviews!
I’ve been reading middle-grade for as long as I can remember and I strongly believe it’s not just for children, and I’m always trying to nudge adults into giving it try.  Middle-grade has been thriving for years and the stories out there are getting stronger, more diverse and more exciting all the time.  Hopefully, my weekly feature will be able to showcase that!

Continue reading “Middle Grade Monday Review: Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega”

Rant Review! Scared Little Rabbits by A.V. Geiger



My rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Thriller
Pages: 335
Publisher: Sourcebook Fire
Published: December 3rd, 2019




When Nora gets accepted into her dream summer program at the prestigious Winthrop Academy, she jumps at the chance to put her coding skills to use. But then a fellow student goes missing—and the tech trail for the crime leads back to Nora. With no one else to trust, Nora must race to uncover the truth and clear her name…or she might be the next to disappear. – Synopsis by Goodreads. 


Oh boy, where do I even start with this mess? I read and really enjoyed the author’s first book, Follow Me Back.  It wasn’t great writing or anything, but it was addicting and had a great twist at the end.  I was pretty excited to see she had a new book coming out, I actually pre-ordered Scared Little Rabbits and read it very shortly after it arrived. WHAT. A. HOT. MESS.  If you don’t like rant reviews, then move along – this is not for you.

The basic premise is our main character, Nora goes to an elite summer program at “Winthrop Academy Summer Maker Program”.  Nora’s there to work on a tech project she submitted for the next three works, but things get a little crazy when another girl in the program goes missing and Nora is the number one suspect.  I am all over books that feature young women in STEM programs, like yes! Give me more of this! Throw in a crime, I’m listening! How the hell did this author make sure a mess of such a cool premise?

First of all, we do get some talk of some of the tech projects going around, but nothing goes very in-depth.  It didn’t really make me feel very immersed in the whole story when the tech kids make incredible, innovative projects seem a little too simple or basic all the time.  My major issue though is we have a supposedly really intelligent, full of potential female main character, who has worked insanely hard to get a chance to come to this prestigious program and within the first day – the FIRST DAMN DAY,  she becomes completely enamored with the most popular guy around.  Yep, screw everything you worked for because OH MY GOD – IT’S A BOY!!!  Of course, he is instantly drawn to her – even though she is the author writes her as this really awkward, shy and never had a boyfriend type of girl, so of course, those sparks fly instantly.  Too bad he is already dating the most popular girl in school – kill me now.  This story is about to become about a couple hundred pages of, “Omg you’re a guy *teeehee* “Omg I’m a girl”* blush blush*” and forget any intelligence this story might have ever had a chance of having (which was very little).

We also have some of the stupidest catty shit I ever have seen and I’ve watched my share of teen drama’s growing up.  Most of it makes no sense and makes even littler sense when everyone else around goes along with it as if it’s law.  We also have a bunch of the popular kids that are working on a virtual reality simulation where you can put on a headset and see whatever reality they have uploaded.  This is cool in theory but not in practice – at least in this awful book.  These idiots are all walking around in an uncontrolled environment testing this shit out and trusting what they see on the screens – while walking around things like trees, pools, etc… Oh and flipping giant cliffs.  Yeah, I’d totally go tramping through the woods with a protype on my head and no one watching where I was stepping.  Geniuses go to this school I tell you.

The mystery is basic – been there, done that.  It was predictable and just sloppy.  If you haven’t figure this out by now, I didn’t enjoy this book at all. I think I only finished it to see how much more stupid it could get. I haven’t decided if I’ll try the author’s next work or not.  This was just a hot mess though.


ARC Review: Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis



My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Contemporary/Survival
Pages: 240
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Published: March 3rd, 2020




Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof. So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she’s alone – and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg. – Synopsis from Goodreads 

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“Living things will fight to stay that way.” 

I can’t believe I’m rating anything by Mindy Mcginnis anything under 4 stars, but here we are.  Be Not Far From Me had all the makings to be one of my top books of the year – survival, independent female and written by Mindy, so why didn’t it completely work for me?

Be Not Far from Me was on my Most Anticipated list for 2020, so I when I got approved on Edelweiss for an earc, I ran to read it.  I love survival type stories – they completely freak right out.  I can’t imagine getting lost in the woods and having to rely on myself (I’d be dead in 24 hours, I’m sure).  Premise is basically a bunch of high school seniors head out to the woods for camping and partying. Our main character Ashley, catches her boyfriend cheating on her and runs blindly out into the woods in the middle of the night.  Since she’s a more experienced at hiking and such (and are kind of shit friends), they don’t chase after Ashley right away -thinking she needs to blow off some steam.  Wrong, she falls in a ditch, injures herself and gets dead-ass lost.  Ashley’s not having the best of night’s.

“If you’re quiet in the woods long enough, you’ll hear something die.”

My first issue with this book is the main character Ashley, isn’t very likeable and I’m someone that loves an unlikeable female – but no, I just didn’t vibe with this girl at all.  Ashley is among the countless “I’m the most different girl in the whole world” trope we see in a lot of YA.  She is also constantly judges pretty much every girl around her,  including slut shaming them frequently – how charming.  That’s exactly what I want in a heroine that I have to follow for another 300 pages, ugh.  Once the action started getting going, it was a decent enough read for me and the book moved at a pretty fast pace most of the time.  Ashley’s decisions were reasonable most of the time – other than running off into the forest and getting herself into this mess in the first place.  She uses a lot of her survival skills and still struggles a crazy amount, which means most of us would be really screwed in her situation.  There isn’t a ton of dialogue, since it’s just her lost out there by herself, so for most of the book we are just watching how everything plays out as she tries not to give up and just die.  Ashley goes through the ringer in this book – like the author really didn’t hold back in this one and I appreciated that part a lot.  It’s quite graphic in the details of the injuries she sustains and the fun ooey gooey infections.  Let me just say – Possum – F*cking EWWWW.  I never thought I’d be so freaked out by a possum, just saying.  Her injuries do get a little far fetched in terms of not just falling over dead right away from infection and fever, but it’s never impossible either.  It’s just right on that edge at times.  If you are at all squeamish, I’d avoid this book – there is a lot of detail about a lot of nasty things in this one.

Through-out the book Ashley does seem to grow and become a bit of a better person as she goes through this shit, but I’m not entirely sure I buy it.  I still think she’s kind of an asshole.  A lot of people are going to enjoy this one though – I would’ve rated it much higher the main character didn’t want make me want to throw things at her head frequently.  Grab it, read it in an afternoon and be done with it.  Just my two cents on it.