Author: Chelsea (Peril Please) (page 1 of 88)

BOOK REVIEW: What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

BOOK REVIEW: What to Say Next by Julie BuxbaumWhat to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
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Synopsis:

Two struggling teenagers find an unexpected connection just when they need it most.

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

 

 “What are we going to do with you?” she asks, and my stomach clenches. Freshman year, when I would find myself in trouble at school on a biweekly basis, Principal Hoch would pose this question, which is both idiomatic and rhetorical. What are we going to do with you? Like I was a group project.
Just once I’d like the answer to be: nothing.
Just once I’d like the answer to be: You are just fine as is.
Just once I’d like the question not to be asked in the first place.

Not so long ago I read and fell in love with an amazing book by this very author. It had a secretive, fun romance that stole my heart. It was laced with family drama and new relationships. It was brimming with the realities of what happens when you move to another state and start making new friends…all while your best friend is way back where, making new friends, as well. In short: It was a story that touched on many different levels with me and I devoured it within days (again, this is great for me lately lol).

It doesn’t matter whether you call me an Aspie or a weirdo or even a moron. The fact remains that I very much wish I were more like everyone else.

So, naturally, I saw this book and knew I just HAD to read it as soon as possible-but I didn’t. I saved it, waiting for that perfect moment when I could finally pick up a book by a new promising author I loved, thinking that, of course, this book would bring forth the same amount of emotion from me as her first novel did. And, for many, it accomplished that feat. As for me? I was left wondering how this could possibly be the same author.

Your outsides match your insides better now, Kit said earlier, but she was wrong. No, now my real insides are all on the outside for everyone to pick apart and laugh at. I’m like roadkill. I’ll be looked at, examined, but I won’t even be eaten. I’m not worth that much.

Sure, it was cute enough. It was interesting. It was sweet…and it even had some of the same quirkiness that her first book did. But, that’s just it-I’m reaching here, trying to grasp onto things that don’t really exist. Yes, it had its moments where I’d gear up and think, well here we goooo!, almost immediately finding that it was going in a direction I couldn’t stand behind.

Here’s the thing about making a friend that I didn’t understand before I started talking to Kit: They grow your world. Allow for previously inconceivable possibilities.

I suppose, in part, this is my fault. I had extremely high expectations and wanted another win. I wanted to fall in love as hard as I had previously, wanted my expectations exceeded. Instead they fell flat.

Miney does that sometimes, though she accompanies it with the words Can I get a woot woot? I never oblige. I have no idea what a woot woot is.

I didn’t much care for the characters. I think this is the base of my emotions. The main girl is fine, and I think she really did like David (I loved David, naturally), but it made me more mad than happy most of the time. I almost felt like it wasn’t authentic, that she was judging him the whole time. And this is a big contradiction for me-Don’t we all judge those who are we dating? I mean, yeah, of course! But….but. Seeing as he is, well, I can’t say, I just, my feelings were hurt for him on more than one occasion. And yes, that’s the way its meant to be taken-buuuuut not always. The type of sadness I felt sometimes was off, like I was sad for the wrong reasons. Anyway, back to my point- He can’t help the way he is, and I don’t know. I hurt. I hurt a lot while reading this…and I don’t quite think this is what the author had intended.

I stop listening. No, this isn’t fixable. I see that now. Reading my notebook is like opening up my brain and exposing to the uncaring world all the parts that don’t make sense. The parts that make me a freak or a moron or a loser or whatever words people like to throw at me.
The parts to them that make me other.
The parts to me that make me me.

Don’t get me wrong, I signed up for this and normally I devour these stories. This just didn’t work for me. I didn’t like the school and how they only were nice to David once he changed his look, and I don’t believe those are the reactions he’d get for what happens half way through, and, honestly, I just didn’t believe any of it-and I’m not one that is bad at suspending disbelief, so you know its off.

Catty mean girls, bully jocks, and a girl who is going through a sad time but inspires our main man…for me, there just wasn’t enough story or enough something to keep me interested. More issues than likes, I have to sadly say this book didn’t work for me. It made me, more than anything, depressed. And I wanted so badly to love this story-the guy was just so sweet. But, as they say, a spade is a spade….I just didn’t enjoy anything much about this book. Hopefully her next will be better for moi.

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BOOK REVIEW: Dating-Ish (Knitting in the City #6) by Penny Reid

BOOK REVIEW: Dating-Ish (Knitting in the City #6) by Penny ReidDating-Ish (Knitting in the City #6)
by Penny Reid
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris:
1) She’s fed up with online dating,
2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and
3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of human kind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:

Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?
But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different—and crazier—solution to her dilemma . . .
As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

 

I won’t lie and say I just read this and remember everything…because I don’t. But looking back I can vaguely remember the main reasons I both liked and disliked this story.

Likes:

-Matt was super sweet- I really enjoyed his quirky character
-The tone of the story-fun, but not too over the top
-The cute jealousy from him
-The way he always shooed other men off
-How he was always there for her on each new adventure, no matter what-even when she asked for space lol
-His surprising, ahem, sexual prowess

Dislikes:

-Frankly, I found this a bit of a contradiction. They were trying to be so politically correct in the way they handled each other’s feelings, yet they both beat around the bush AT EVERY TURN. I realize there wouldn’t be a story if not for miscommunication, but come on. They clearly liked each other early on….JUST ASK ALREADY if you seek clarity!
-The technical robot talk
-The Knitting group. Like…okay…we know you love to knit-STFU
-The main girl-something about her annoyed me. I don’t know. Maybe she came off a bit like…too perfect?? HA look at me calling someone a Mary Sue when all I ever do is fall in love with Mary Sue’s ha
-The repetitive mistaking of what was actually going on between them. ALWAYS.
-The fact that apparently Penny Reid and I just don’t gel. Or Mesh. She just isn’t for me, I don’t think.

Perhaps the problem is I’m angry because this woman (and this could be the MC or even the author I’m referring to. Hell I don’t know!) totally has my humor but everything surrounding it is severely misplaced so I can’t even enjoy the book as a whole! And I’m sure there’s more…but honestly, I don’t care to explore it any further. MERP.

Here are all the quotes I would have used had I written a real review:

“What is the purpose of your study? To piss off as many women in Chicago as possible?” “No,” he ground out, mirroring my eye-squint. And wasn’t that just the kicker? Him. Squinting at me.

“Um, let’s see. Have you heard of dry humping professionals?” He gasped, his hand clutching his chest. “Are you shitting me?” “Nope.”

“I’m not.” I grinned as I assured him of my veracity. “And I made an appointment at an OM studio.” “What’s an OM studio?” He looked petrified. “Orgasm Meditation.”

“I’ll never say this to you again, so listen up. You’re pretty badass, Marie.” Abram interrupted my thoughts, leaning forward like he was telling me a secret. “You’re wicked smart. And cool. And drama free, which is a huge deal. Drama free is at the top of my list these days. You can be intimidating.” “Me? But I’m a Hufflepuff.”

Matt looked at me like I was cute and weird. “No.” “It’s not even a little bit hard?” I didn’t know why I was pushing. I thought I heard him mumble something like, “It wasn’t hard with her for years.” “Pardon?”

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink the water that will allow it to enter into a happy, fulfilling relationship. Maybe the horse likes being dehydrated. Or maybe you weren’t that horse’s type. Step back from the stupid dehydrated horse .

“I don’t care about celebrity clients,” Matt said, picking up my hand and tangling our fingers together. He continued to scan the airport and I thought I heard him mumble under his breath, “I only care about you.”

“You like that guy, you tell him flat out. You just lay what you want and everything out there. Don’t waste time not saying things that need to be said. He’ll always be in your mind, wrecking the possibility of things with other people, because your heart can’t move on until it knows for sure a door is closed.”

Why are you crying, Marie? I didn’t know. I honestly had no idea. Feelings? Whoremones? Maybe a nearby, but as of yet unseen onion?

His eyes moved over my face and he clenched his teeth. “Is this funny?” “Listen, just listen to me—” Abruptly, he sat up, shaking his head. A flush had appeared high on his cheeks. Jeez, he’s really pissed. . . . Yay!

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BOOK REVIEW: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalco

BOOK REVIEW: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri ManiscalcoStalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1)
by Kerri Maniscalco
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

 

 “Didn’t your family warn you against sneaking around at night alone?” he asked. “Dangerous things linger in the dark.”

Halloooo therreee. It seems I’m catching up and producing enough reviews to halfway feel like myself again!!!! And it. Is. GLORIOUS. And I’m so happy to be reviewing a book my dear friend, Brittney, has been unflinchingly begging me to read for ages. It’s not often I’ll pick up a book that has creepier tendencies, but when I do, they sometimes become my absolute favorites (a la Jazz from I Hunt Killers).

But where this book was strong in its witty writing and intriguing characters, there were also some flaws that I couldn’t help but to be bothered by (and the matter gets worse in book 2…but I wouldn’t let that effect the rating of this installment, of course!). As I always like to repeat: Let’s start with the sour, then we’ll get to the sweet. And oh, let me tell ya, Thomas was as sweet as it can get.

I stood, and Thomas joined me, eager to move onto our next mission.
“Hurry along, then,” I said, grabbing my orchid and securing it safely in my journal. “I want to sit by the window.”
“Hmm.”
“What now?” I asked, losing patience.
“I usually sit by the window. You may have to sit in my lap.”

I know this is going to get me kicked in the teeth, metaphorically speaking, for saying this, but I found that Audrey Rose really, really loved to get haughty about being a woman who deserved the same equality as a man. Now

I’m not sayiiinnngggg women shouldn’t be treated equally-I NEVER said that-howeverrrr, when a point is repeated, well, repeatedly, it begins to lose its importance. Just let the dead horse lay, as they say, and stop beating it. Like I said, I noticed it here in this book, but it didn’t really get on my nerves TOO BAD until book two. Or maybe I’m just confused because I read them so close together….either way, girl needs to stop. She’s said it enough I’m sure even the corpses she’s operating on got it through their thick, dead skulls.

“…the dead speak to those who listen. Be quieter than even them.”

Secondly, I was so SOOOO excited and into her and Thomas’s banter. From the beginning (this is a plus) my heart went into overdrive when they first met, because Thomas was just an outspoken little soul who couldn’t help but to get under her (and everyone else’s) skin. But, again, being inside Audrey Rose’s head just kind of got….annoying. NOT BADLY SO, but enough that I balked near the end when she’d proclaim what a fiend and a scoundrel Thomas was. I ADORE Thomas, but sometimes saying things so much just ruins the whole effect-such is the case with her repetitive proclamations-both about Thomas’s idiosyncrasies and being a wholly capable woman who is able to handle herself just as the men do.

I was determined to be both pretty and fierce, as Mother had said I could be. Just because I was interested in a man’s job didn’t mean I had to give up being girly. Who defined those roles anyhow?

NOW. Onto the pleasant and sweet-Which far surpassed the sour.

All in all this story was super addicting. I loved the fast-paced feeling, yet it was handled in a manner in which you didn’t feel rushed. It was day-to-day and we were constantly on the lookout for Jack the Ripper. Shrouded in mystery, each page had me guessing who near Audrey Rose could possibly be the killer. You just knew it was someone she was in close proximity with, yet she was missing key clues to really pin it down. Was I right in the end? Yes and no. Was it somewhat obvious? Not particularly. But I did like how the author handled everything so that we constantly questioned everyone’s intent, were constantly second guessing ourselves, and really how it made me feel like a damned fool because I was like a chicken running around with its head cut off.

This story was also quite creepy-not in the way you will feel if you continue onto the second (castles and secret tunnels and creepy creepy crawlers, oh my!), but enough that it had me looking over my shoulder. Who said alleyways aren’t creepy? As the book came to its haunting conclusion, I began shaking in a way that I haven’t for a book in…I don’t know how long. I’m talking stomach flutters of actual TERROR, people, a dread I couldn’t grasp onto. Reading each page slower than the last not to savor, but because my fear had grown so immeasurable I could hardly breathe, for I didn’t know what horrors each new page possessed. That alone deserved 4 stars! However, this book caused loss of breath for two reasons, and one isn’t so scary as the last…

Thomas held a hand up, shaking his head. Fine. “What makes you sure I even need a partner? I’m quite capable of doing things on my own.”
“Perhaps it’s not you who would benefit from our partnership,” he said quietly.

Thomas. Thomas Cresswell. Be still my heart…sweet, cocky, and socially inept, this boy stole my heart INSTANTLY. It wasn’t so much that he was different or special or anything, but I suppose it’s just his mannerisms, the way he handled himself. I love that he knew he wanted to be with Audrey, so he went for it. He went in for the kill at each present opportunity, never once allowing her to believe he had any other intention. He knows what people say about him, and he knows what they think, but never once does he let it bother him…or is it more that he didn’t let his insecurities show? I think this defines Thomas to a tee-outwardly cocky, but a soft, insecure, unsure of himself boy who is fiercely loyal and only wishes to be accepted by those he loves. And….I simply adore him. What else is there to say? He’s simply marvelous and he would literally do anything to win Audrey Rose’s heart. He’d do anything to protect her, and his love is genuine. You can’t ask for more than that.

Without lifting his head from his own journal, he said, “Not having any luck figuring me out, then? Don’t worry, you’ll get better with practice. And, yes”—he grinned wickedly, eyes fixed on his paper—“ you’ll still fancy me tomorrow no matter how much you wish otherwise. I’m unpredictable, and you adore it. Just as I cannot wrap my massive brain around the equation of you and yet adore it.”

This book was a nice little surprise-whenever you repeatedly hear something about a story, you really can’t expect much lest the hype monster devour you. But with this story I was pleasantly surprised and pleased beyond words. With a clever mystery, enrapturing characters full of banter, and nail-biting suspense, your heart will surely break for these spell-binding characters. And, if I’m being completely honest, I do have a soft spot for our MC because, well, her name is scary close to my baby girl’s name-Aubrey Rose. OOPS. So…there you have it. I’m biased and refuse to relent…and it doesn’t hurt that the author knows what she’s doing.

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BOOK REVIEW: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW: Letters to the Lost by Brigid KemmererLetters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

 

So…I’m not going to lie-I read this before my daughter was even born. And, if you don’t follow me or my life (Which I’m sure I many many people do not), that happened in the middle of March. Yeah. I know. Shame on me. Because this book? It was SO SO good. It deserved all the pre-praise it could possibly get and I failed it. I got the ARC, loved it, devoured it, even, and didn’t get a chance to write this review (as my baby girl was born-oops (and YAY)). But, instead of giving it up because I read it so long ago, I’ve always known I’d come back and (eventually) write a review for it-I respected it THAT much. I’ll warn you, though-this is as far back as I’m going for reviews of books when I was too pregnant and too tired to write reviews. I cut it off here.

Anyway, onto the book. I’ll be candid here-When I received this I was not only shocked but…disappointed? I hadn’t really looked into this much and was not expecting to be granted access, and frankly I was behind on way too many reviews-I wasn’t being as picky as I should have been for as slow as my review output was. But the minute I finally picked this up…it immediately drew me in. And damn if I wasn’t shocked.

What starts out as a young girl working through her grief by writing letters to her mother’s grave becomes a heartfelt story about being heard, understood, and, ultimately, not so alone once a boy who works in the cemetery writes back to Juliet on her note. Understandably our MC is upset that someone invaded her personal privacy by writing back to her, but after responding through an angry rant, she and this mysterious person begin an online friendship (HA. SEE. I’m HOPELESS for these types of books) that makes them closer than ever through their shared grief. What they don’t know is: They literally are each other’s worst nightmare, in real life.

Total opposites, these two grow closer and closer, not realizing that the person they crave talking to most every day is one of their worst enemies. Dark, misunderstood Declan and popular, uppity, miss goody-two-shoes (so he thinks) have found the ultimate connection. But in real life, they continue to clash.

Declan takes every opportunity to push Juliet away when she tries to let him in. See, he is the dark, broody guy that everyone whispers about when he walks by, but she starts to run into him more and more (literally…ha) and tries to be nice, to let him in, but he isn’t having it…at least, not at first.

I can’t even begin to explain how wounded Declan is, how tough he tries to act, but he’s that total package guy who would do anything for you-just a completely misunderstood guy-but it’s not like he helps himself. Juliet tries to be nice to him continually, but he always ruins it by snapping at her, by judging her before understanding her, knowing her…but then he begins to see there may be more to her than meets the eye-and is there a connection between her and his dream girl he’s been chatting with day and night?

They both begin to see little similarities, never really knowing who they quite are falling in love with online, but don’t want to ruin what is blossoming between them at school, at Rev’s house-they like each other, but what if they lose their pen pal in the process?

I’m tired and not doing this review justice, but just, I really loved this, okay? Declan and Juliet were beyond cute-I was obsessed with them, especially Declan. He was dark and broody, but utterly loyal. He was tortured and lonely (Besides his one good friend, whom I ADORED) and just wanted a real connection, to be away from his asshole stepfather and to be understood for who he really is. He made mistake after mistake concerning Juliet, and he does pity himself a little too much (if I am remembering correctly) but he gets his shit together and he made me swoon like no other-not like I wasn’t before that, but that’s beside the point. And Juliet had her issues, too, like not seeing that some things aren’t what you want them to be, that reality isn’t always as pretty as the dream, but she was fun and sweet and relatable. And we need more YA heroines like her. She had ambition and I admired her for that-so pick this book up. I think its more than worth the read.

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BOOK REVIEW: Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin

BOOK REVIEW: Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan GraudinWolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1)
by Ryan Graudin
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Her story begins on a train.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

From the author of The Walled City comes a fast-paced and innovative novel that will leave you breathless.

 

 
You must never forget the dead.
Remember and be rended. Be rendered.
Look straight, where the danger is.
Inhale.
Exhale.
Reach the bottom of the breath
                                                                                                              And shoot.

Wolf by Wolf challenged me in ways I can’t even begin to explain. But maybe this is a good start:

There’s this hilarious moment in the Grinch with Jim Carrey (what part ISN’T hilarious with him in that movie?) when he says: ‘Kids today: So desensitized by movies and television.’

And I think that applies here. I believe with my whole heart I’ve had my blinders on. I’ve had one EXTREME soft spot since I was a child (though, I have [and always have had] MANY because I’m an extremely empathetic person), and they are of the furry, four-legged variety. But any animal, really. My point is this: I have read so many fucked up books throughout my life, but the only books that have ripped at my heart and pissed me off most have centered on animal abuse, dogs dying or being murdered, etc.. You get the picture.

And I’m not blind. I know what goes on in the world-But I’ve always turned my head in the other direction. Does that make sense? I’m one of those people who tries to see the good in everyone, who wants to believe all these bad things aren’t happening, who was always SO naïve, and still am, really, and just…I wanted to shut all the bad things in the world out. I don’t want to know about it. I don’t want to hear about it. I don’t want to cry-especially with animals.

And like I said-I’ve never not known what goes on…I just turn a blind eye or a deaf ear. And then something miraculous happened: My little girl was born. Now I am so beyond sensitive to the world and it’s issues and I CRY. ABOUT. EV-ER-Y-THING. I just can’t turn a blind eye anymore and it all kills me inside. I swear, I’m a depressed, swirling tornado of sad feels…all because of one amazing little human.

Live? In a world of fangs and lonely?
Or die. In a cage of smoke and needles.

So when I picked up this book, this book that would have just been so epic before Aubrey girl…I didn’t expect how much the graphic content would disturb me. Now, it didn’t effect my rating-you know, hearing about the concentration camps…because, honestly, it made me care, and isn’t that the point? But, I guess what I’m saying is that this book hit me hard in the gut…and I wasn’t expecting it.

Not alone. It was a cruel irony that this was the message she had been chosen to deliver. She, the loneliest of all. The girl without a people. Without a face. The girl who was no one. Who could be everyone.

This book may have been fiction, but it was so much stronger than that. And I by no means am glorifying this heinous event-in fact, it’s quite the contrary. It made me so much madder, because, frankly, it’s so easy to learn about the past and then choose to forget about it. It caused me to remember all I have learned and I understand the weight so much more now that I’m older and am choosing to process this.

Adele didn’t beg. Her eyes were ice and slit. She stared past the gun, straight at Yael. “Who are you?”
Not What do you want? or What are you doing here?
Who are you? Who? Who? Who?
Why, of all questions, this one?

But onto the story-

Yael’s mission is to assassinate Hitler. It’s her job to join the Axis Tour and win so she can attend the Victor’s Ball where she will follow through with her mission to end his reign. In this altered history, Hitler won and what we see is his glorified horrible idea of what is perfect and what happens to those he deems unworthy. Yael is a part of the resistance, she’s a survivor of one of his concentration camps and vows to end his life to save countless others-to avenge those she loved and lost before, to honor their memories.

Yael swallowed. But the tangle stayed.
Did it matter? One life. A drop in a vast, vast ocean of hundreds, thousands, millions.
Yes, pounded the hollow of her heart. Yes, cried her wolves.
It mattered. All of them mattered. All of the hundreds, thousands, millions. Vast, vast…
Would it ever end?

But during the race, she must defy the odds while battling with other hungry previous victors, all the while pretending to be someone who knows her past indiscretions, secrets, allies…and love interests.

She thought she was ready for this mission. Ready for anything.
But not this. Not relationships.
This wasn’t something she could fake.

I saw from some of my friends they weren’t huge fans of Luka, but I’m inclined to disagree. I found him to be some of my favorite moments of the story-especially near the end. His hurt is palpable, his desperation to win Yael/Adele over-it broke my heart. But, more than that, their flirtations and banter were by far one of the most lighthearted things about this novel-I absolutely loved how they interacted with one another….even though Yael is falling head over heels for a guy who doesn’t even know she exists.

“Sometimes I miss this. You. Me. Secrets. Stars.” His words curled out with the smoke—wisps of burning air that actually looked pretty. “I thought I was invincible. Before you.”

Love, lies, betrayal, and loyalties…they are all tested in this race of all races. Yael is tangled in a web of lies, deceit, and power-hungry opponents-but who can she trust among them and who will help her reach her ultimate goal? She went into the race knowing these men were monsters…but is there more to them than meets the eye? And though she thinks herself to be a monster, can she defy her internal struggles and break free of the restraints and heartbreak her whole life has been constructed around? Can she avenge all her loved ones?

This story is a good one, but being as tired as I am I can’t read it all together, so I had to read it in bits and pieces, so I really can’t say if this should have been five stars [instead of my 4] or less. I’m going with my gut and saying something was missing for this to have been perfect, but it was extremely entertaining and continually broke my heart. So that counts for something.

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