Author: Cassie (page 1 of 8)

BOOK REVIEW: The Upside of Falling by Alex Light

BOOK REVIEW: The Upside of Falling by Alex LightThe Upside of Falling Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

It’s been years since seventeen-year-old Becca Hart believed in true love. But when her former best friend teases her for not having a boyfriend, Becca impulsively pretends she’s been secretly seeing someone.

Brett Wells has it all. Being captain of the football team and one of the most popular guys in school, he should have no problem finding someone to date, but he’s always been more focused on his future than who to bring to prom. When he overhears Becca’s lie, Brett decides to step in and be her mystery guy. It’s the perfect solution: he gets people off his back for not dating and she can keep up the ruse.

Acting like the perfect couple isn’t easy though, especially when you barely know the other person. But with Becca still picking up the pieces from when her world was blown apart years ago and Brett just barely holding his together now, they begin to realize they have more in common than they ever could have imagined. When the line between real and pretend begins to blur, they are forced to answer the question: is this fake romance the realest thing in either of their lives?

I mean, there’s a reason all books end right after the couple gets together. No one wants to keep reading long enough to see the happily ever after turn into an unhappily ever after. Right?

Thank you so much to Edelweiss, Harper TEEN and Alex Light for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Upside of Falling is an adorable book that plays with the fake relationship trope, which is easily one of my favorite tropes. So when I saw that there was a new book coming out with this front and center, I knew I had to have my hands on it. And once I had it, I read it in less than 24 hours haha. I couldn’t put it down.

TUoF centers on Becca Hart and Brett Wells. Becca loves to read romance books, but has never experienced true love in real life. She lives with her mother and helps with her local bakery. Becca doesn’t have too many close friends, especially since her former best friend found herself in the popular crowd and left Becca behind.

Brett Wells, meanwhile, seems to have everything going for him. He’s popular and captain of the football team. He’s smart and kind and his parents dote on him. However, he’s just focused on getting out of high school and securing a college scholarship to make his parents proud. He’s too busy to focus on normal high school things, like girlfriends, and has no problem with that.

That is, until one day when he hears Becca telling a lie about having a boyfriend, he decides to jump in and be that boyfriend. Becca is shocked but goes with it as well and the two come to an easy arrangement. Becca gets to have a popular boyfriend, while Brett gets his parents off his back about having a girlfriend without all the drama and commitment. What could go wrong?

“First you run away when I kiss you. Now you want to break up with me when we haven’t even been dating for a day. Way to break a guy’s heart, Hart.” He poked my leg. “See what I did there?”

I’ve never read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (sorry!) but I have seen the movie twice and there’s definitely some similarities in terms of them coming up with ground rules, assimilating between their worlds and the fact that both of them, not surprisingly, might begin to feel real feelings.

There’s a lot of wonderful themes in this book past teenagers falling in love for the first time, such as complicated friendships, how complicated relationships with parents can be and the feeling of rejection from those you care about.

If I had to provide any kind of constructive feedback, it mostly boils down to two things: It doesn’t bring anything particularly new to the genre and I wanted more from it. Don’t get me wrong, I adored this book, but I didn’t find anything, outside of maybe the complicated family dynamics, to be new and awe inspiring. I wish the trope had been twisted more, but I imagine that was not the author’s intent. And when I say more, I feel at 288 pages, it was a little light. I would have loved to see this be a little longer, so the relationship between Becca and Brett could have been more complex. It hit all the right notes, but I felt like it was skimming toward the top. I feel we could have gotten a little more in depth with these two and given the book a little more weight.

But overall, I adored this book. If you are looking for a fairly fluffy and happy YA romance, especially with the fake dating relationship trope, you won’t be disappointed. I certainly wasn’t.

The Upside of Falling is available February 18, 2020.

“I’m confused,” I said, “because one day we were strangers and then, bam, we were pretending to be in love. All these lines between what was real and what was fake started to blur and I can’t tell the two apart anymore.”

“Just because we were pretending doesn’t mean it wasn’t real.”

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Light at the Bottom of the World by London ShahThe Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.

At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean's surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father's been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he's innocent, and all she's interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she's picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she'll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture-and her father might be lost forever.

Review:

Thank you to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

As with many books I’ve read this year, especially ARCs, I REALLY wanted to love this book, but I ultimately decided I just liked it.

I landed on about four stars out of five, as there was a lot of good mixed with a few areas of improvement.

The setting and world building in this book was easily my favorite aspect. Set in the future, after the climate crisis has devastated the world, the remaining living beings of the world have retreated to living in underwater structures. There are water cars and submarines, but it sounds like there’s not a lot of travel among underwater hubs. Meanwhile, sea creatures can be found all around them and trips to the surface have been reported to have disastrous results for those who attempt to resurface.

Leyla is sixteen, living a comfortable life with her father and her dog, Jojo, until he is taken by the government. In an effort to earn his release, she enters a race. She is a highly skilled driver and the competition was really neat and exciting. However, this all happens in the first quarter of the book and that plotline is done with pretty quickly.

Instead, most of the book follows Leyla traveling in a submarine with a mysterious boy, Ari, who her grandfather hired to accompany Leyla on her quest to find her father. There’s times where Leyla, Jojo (her dog) and Ari leave the submarine, but really, a lot of the book takes place in this sub. I bet you can see where this is going…

Let’s talk about Leyla. She’s sixteen, which I tried to take into account for her dialogue and actions. However, I ultimately felt like I couldn’t connect with her. She makes a lot of poor decisions, trusting strangers for absolutely NO reason (this happens several times)) and truly did not seem to think any of her plans through.

“I’m going in, like I said. So now it’s up to you. You can either explain to my papa and grandpa why you let me go near a top security prison without a clue, or you can send me everything you guys have on the place. I mean, everything. Because I am going in, and nobody is stopping me.”

I think the author was trying to make her seem brave, but I found it made her seem a bit short-sited and rash. However, she believes in herself and is willing to do whatever it takes to rescue her father.

Besides the world, my other favorite thing about this book was the relationships between Leyla and others. She connected so well with others. I loved her friends, who are mostly featured in the beginning, though they do pop up a few times as the book progresses. I do wish they had been in there more, but I understand why not. Leyla also had a really touching relationship with her grandfather. They seemed to truly care for each other, even when they didn’t agree with each other’s choices.

And I can’t forget about her relationship with Ari. While I did feel it was a little awkward and forced at first, as they spent more time together and helped each other, I really found it to be quite sweet and cute.

“Phwoar. Who is he?”

“What, nobody! I don’t even know him!”

“Erm, he just exited your sub?”

“Whatever. I honestly don’t even know him!”

“Okaaaaaay, then. Oh, congrats on the marathon! You rocked it!”

I understand these are young teenagers and the author wants to make sure we understand these aren’t adults. However, there are a lot exclamation points used in this book (sorry, that’s just a pet peeve of mine in books) and sometimes it felt a little stilted or awkward. By no means does it take away from the book’s enjoyment, but just something I would like to see improved upon as the author settles in and moves the story along.

Overall, I was fairly invested in the story. I cared about what was happening with these characters and wanted to see what was going to happen next. While some storylines were wrapped up by the end, there’s certainly plenty more to come next. And considering the book ended with a cliffhanger, there’s definitely plans for a follow-up.

I’m definitely interested in what the author has planned next, because like I said, cliffhanger. Also there’s so many ways this can go and I really hope the world continues to open up.

To see a full tour schedule, please click on the banner or here!

*******

Favorite Quotes: 

Hope is all I have right now; it’s as unending as the oceans–and I must hold on to it. I just need a miracle.

*

“It breaks my heart to tell you this now, Queenie. I tried so hard to keep it from you, to keep you from the pain. But you are right, I have an obligation to tell you the truth.”

*

“You taught me that: ‘I will either find a way or make one.'”

*

The waters can’t halt human connections. The desire–the sheer will, to reach out, to anchor one another, is too stellar. People will always find a way to keep from losing one another–from losing themselves.

*

There’s an immovable weight inside threatening to engulf me, drag me down. Somewhere just beneath it is the daring to hope.

*

“I’ll be alright,” I say quietly, nudging him with my elbow. “We have to hope for the best.”

“I don’t dare hope, Leyla. It abandoned us long ago.”

Giveaway: 

Want to win 1 of 2 copies of The Light at the Bottom of the World?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions: Giveaways open to US Residents Only. Must be 18 or older to participate. Giveaway ends on November 17, 2019. False entries will result on the complete disqualification of the participant and this person won’t be eligible to receive a copy of the book. There are multiple giveaways currently live organised and promoted by The FFBC Tours, Disney and London Shah. Participants can ONLY claim 1 copy of the book regardless of the different platforms and blogs. If more than one blogger contacts you as a winner, please accept only one prize and decline the other. Winner will be notified via email and needs to answer in 48 hours letting us know if he/she accepts the prize and send us his/her full name and address. Your personal information won’t be used or be seen by anyone unless you’re the winner of the giveaway. We won’t sell it nor use it in a bad way. Tour Hosts, the FFBC Tours and authors are not responsible for any lost or stolen items.

About London Shah:

Author London Shah is a British-born Muslim of Pashtun ethnicity. She has lived in Britain’s capital city for most of her life via England’s beautiful North. When she’s not busy re-imagining the past, plotting an alternate present or dreaming up a surreal future, then she’s most likely drinking copious amounts of tea, eating all the sweets and cakes, strolling through Richmond Park or along the Thames, getting lost on an evening in the city’s older, darker alleyways—preferably just after it’s rained—listening to punk rock, or losing herself in a fab SFF book or film. If she could have only one super power, it would be to breathe underwater. THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD is her debut novel.

Keep up with London: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Instagram

BOOK REVIEW: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

BOOK REVIEW: The Turn of the Key by Ruth WareThe Turn of the Key Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Dear Mr. Wrexham,
Please help me. I didn’t kill anyone.


I was cautiously optimistic when I saw a new Ruth Ware book was coming out. In a Dark, Dark Wood is one of my favorite thrillers, but her two most recent releases were disappointing. However, I thought the premise of The Turn of the Key sounded promising, so like I said, I was cautiously optimistic heading in to it. I was happily blown away.

The book is essentially one giant letter being written from Rowan Caine, who is sitting in jail on murder charges, to a solicitor she wants to help her in her defense. She wants to explain everything surrounding the incident and how everything came to be. Other than knowing that Rowan ends up being accused of a crime, the rest of it is in fairly chronological order.

When we first meet Rowan, she is working at a daycare facility and has recently been passed over for a promotion. So when an opportunity arises that would allow her to be a nanny for a wealthy family in the secluded Heatherbrae House, she jumps at the opportunity. It’s here she meets Jack Grant, a handyman, and more importantly, the three children she is to look after while their parents are away for a work trip.

“Don’t come here,” she whispered, still refusing to look at me. “it’s not safe.”
“It’s not safe?” I gave a little laugh. “Maddie, what do you mean?”
“It’s not safe,” she repeated, with a little angry sob, shaking her head harder so that her words were almost lost. “They wouldn’t like it.”


Left alone in a smart house, Rowan struggles to adapt to her new life. The two eldest children do not make things easy on her and weird things are happening around the house. Rowan can’t sleep due to the footsteps above her room at night and she feels like she’s going mad. But she’s determined to figure out exactly what’s going on, while holding on to explosive secrets.

It was like there were two forces in the house, one fighting to drive me away, another to protect me. But who—who was doing this?

I love nothing more than a secluded setting. Private homes/islands, secluded boarding schools, etc. There’s just something so unnerving about being so isolated from the rest of society that lends itself to a creepy atmosphere. I will say I was on the edge of my seat for most of this book. It didn’t help I was reading late into the night, which made going to sleep a bit difficult.

It was well-paced, the characters were incredibly engaging and the atmosphere was perfectly creepy. The ending was fairly shocking, but also a bit frustrating. We never get a true resolution to Rowan’s letter to Mr. Wexham. If you like everything tied up in a pretty bow, please be aware that while you will know many things, there’s a big thing that is left unstated. While I do wish I knew exactly what happened in the aftermath, I overall loved the book and would easily call it my second favorite Ruth Ware, just after IADDW.

A child is dead, and the police, and the public, and the press, they all want someone to pay. And that someone must be me. But I didn’t kill that little girl, Mr. Wexham. I loved her. And I don’t want to rot in jail for something I didn’t do. Please, please believe me.

BOOK REVIEW: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

BOOK REVIEW: Lock Every Door by Riley SagerLock Every Door Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen's new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan's most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid's disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew's dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building's hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

“Welcome to the Bartholomew. I think you’re going to love it here.”

Riley Sager is quickly becoming one my favorite, and more dependable, thriller writers. I really enjoyed [book:Final Girls|32796253] and loved [book:The Last Time I Lied|36626748], so I was very excited to start his third book. And I was far from disappointed. It was an enthralling read with a crazy ending and I loved every minute of it.

Lock Every Door centers on Jules Larsen, a down on her luck 20-something living in New York. Jules recently went through a tough breakup and is crashing with her best friend while she figures out her next steps. As luck would have it, an apartment sitting job is available at the mysterious and infamous Bartholomew, overlooking Central Park. As long as Jules follows the strict rules set in place, she will be paid well and can stay in the building. Simple enough, right?

Even though a mere minute in her company has left me exhausted, I follow. She’s fascinating in the same way tornadoes are fascinating. You want to see how much they’re going to spin.

Not long after moving in, Jules begins to meet the other occupants of the building, including fellow apartment sitter Ingrid. The two become quick friends and begin to look into the mysterious occurrences at the Bartholomew. Jules also befriends her handsome doctor-next door, a former TV starlet and a reclusive author. There’s a lot of fascinating side characters and I really enjoyed getting to know them as the plot was moving along.

Lock Every Door takes the old adage “If something is too good to be true, it probably is” and turns it up to 100. I think most people would understand why Jules and the other apartment sitters would be willing to take on a job with such strict rules for the benefits, despite all the red flags. I didn’t really find myself questioning Jules and her actions, but rooted for her the entire time.

While Sager writes pretty decent characters, where he excels (in my opinion) is the setting/atmosphere and the pacing. I was thoroughly creeped out as Jules tried to get through each night in her big and lonely apartment. I also devoured this book, needing to find out the answers along with Jules. Things definitely started to click into place but I didn’t totally see the big reveal. It was bonkers and I can understand why it might not be for everyone, but I loved it.

I’d recommend going into this book with as little knowledge as possible. It’s been a few weeks and I can still vividly remember the ending, so it definitely knocked a hard punch for me. I am definitely looking forward to whatever Sager gives us next.

“Please,” she hisses, her face still hidden in the shadow. “Please stop asking questions. No one here is going to answer them.”

BOOK REVIEW: If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

BOOK REVIEW: If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-BrokaIf I'm Being Honest by Emily Wibberley
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

High school senior Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up in one word: bitch. It’s no surprise she’s queen bee at her private L.A. high school—she’s beautiful, talented, and notorious for her cutting and brutal honesty. So when she puts her foot in her mouth in front of her crush, Andrew, she fears she may have lost him for good.

In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labelled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…

But the closer Cameron gets to Brendan, the more she sees he appreciates her personality—honesty and all—and wonders if she’s compromising who she is for the guy she doesn’t even want.

It’s hardly an uncommon thought here. Cameron Bright is a bitch … If every glare I earned, or didn’t earn but received nonetheless, bother me, I’d drown in the judgment.

If I’m Being Honest, the second book from Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, is a very loose retelling of The Taming of the Shrew/10 Things I Hate About You. Cameron is a mix of the Bianca and Kat characters and I suppose Brendan is somewhat like Patrick, but really, it is very loosely related. This retelling really focuses on a popular girl, a nerdy gaming boy and a whole cast of side characters.

I just want to start off by saying I love Cameron Bright. She is one of my favorite MC in YA books, all genres. She says exactly what she’s thinking to almost everyone (except her dad, but more on that later), and has no problem with people seeing her as a bitch. She has several close friends and is well-known around school. However, being from a lower social economic family than many of her classmates, Cameron strives to be the best at anything she does and controls what she can, as not everything in her life, especially her family life, does she even have an ounce of control.

After an unfortunate incident at a party involving Andrew and Paige, Cameron is desperate to show the school, and Andrew, that she is indeed not a bitch and goes out of her way to make up for past incidents. This starts with Paige, the girl who was part of the incident at the party, and her brother, Brendan.

As you can probably guess, as Cameron begins to hang out with Paige’s friends (and Brendan), her priorities in life start to shift. She begins to see other possibilities for her future, which she struggles to accept. She also struggles to balance her old life and this new one she is creating, and it ends up creating more conflict in life, even as she’s trying so hard to help and be nicer to everyone. Of course, she stumbles and reverts back to her natural tendencies, but Cameron never apologizes for being herself or realizing there are areas she could improve.

I don’t remove my hand. I follow him into the market, wondering for the second time what this is to him. He was just talking about going over to another girl’s house, I remind myself. But the way my hand feels in his, I’m having a really, really hard time convincing myself this isn’t a date.

I’m really happy how slowly Brendan and Cameron’s relationship came together. There were a lot of wonderful small moments that built into something beautiful. I especially loved their bonding after his father speaking to him about his grades. It really showed how both of them felt compelled to go a certain way in life due to family expectations, even if it wasn’t what they wanted at all. And speaking of families, my heart broke for Cameron regarding the relationship with her parents. Cameron is so desperate for any scrap of attention for her father, who knowingly and cruelly denies her. In her anger, Cameron often takes it out on her mother, who is battling her own issues. It’s heartbreaking all around and I was happy to see the seriousness of it juxtaposed with the rest of this happy book.


Overall, I really enjoyed this book and definitely liked it more than Always Never Yours. As I said before, I absolutely adored Cameron and liked so many of the other side characters. I was a little disappointed there wasn’t a lot of resolution with Cameron and her “popular” friends at the end, but sometimes that’s how life is I guess. If you are looking for a funny and cute YA contemporary with not-quite-enemies-but-not-friends to lovers theme, this is a book for you.

“I’ve been trying this week not to pressure you into anything you didn’t want. But I’ve known what I want for a long time. Don’t ever doubt this, Cameron. I’m crazy about you. You, with your fierce intelligence and extraordinary talent. You, with your uncompromising opinions. And I want you to know it. I’m desperate for you to know it.”

Older posts

© 2019

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: