“Sadie” by Courtney Summers

IMG_0235It’s no secret to those who know me — I love a good mystery. I enjoy true crime books, shows, and podcasts (My Favorite Murder 😍), not to mention mystery books and detective stories, be they true or fiction.

So at BookExpo in May, when I heard about a YA mystery called Sadie, I was all in.

The story follows two threads:

The first thread is Sadie’s story, in which she vows to avenge her younger sister Mattie’s unsolved murder. Growing up in a trailer park with an addict mother, Sadie was neglected early in life. When Mattie was born, Sadie took over the role of mother, promising herself that Mattie would have a loving childhood to look back on.

The second thread follows a podcast called The Girls that reminded me of Serial and Up and Vanished. The host, West McCray, does his best to track down Sadie, doing research and interviewing those who knew her before, as well as those who meet Sadie on her quest for justice. Another cool thing to note: the podcast is actually real — it’s called The Girls: Find Sadie (find it anywhere you listen to podcasts). It follows the first several “podcast chapters” in Sadie, and man, is it chilling and well-done.

Sadie is equal parts thrilling, tragic, fascinating, and horrifying. There’s a murder, all kinds of abuse, road trips, new friends, new enemies, and ultimately, a mystery that you won’t be able to put down.

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Buy the book here.
Listen to the podcast on Apple here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“The Book of Essie” by Meghan Maclean Weir

91nZ-OBPoRLTold in three perspectives, The Book of Essie is the story of what happens when a Christian reality TV family finds out one of the daughters is pregnant. They will go to any length to protect their reputation, celebrity, show, and ultimately — power and wealth.

Essie, 17, is pregnant. Her parents have decided that the best way to deal with the situation is to marry her off quickly and pretend the baby belongs to the husband. Essie doesn’t like her life in the spotlight and disagrees with what her parents are doing. She knows how fake everyone is in her world and is generally disillusioned with the world, ready to escape her small town.

Rourke, a year older at Essie’s high school, is “chosen” to be Essie’s husband. He is appalled at what his parents are willing to do to save their business and be set for life. But at the same time…he really wants to go to Columbia. And he wants his parents to be financially stable. But he really also doesn’t want to be a celebrity, and he really doesn’t want to marry Essie and be a part of the strict, religious family he’s grown up watching on television and in real life.

Liberty Bell, now a journalist, earned her spotlight for being an escaped member of a cult. The cult leader is not only in jail now, and has Liberty’s mom petitioning for his release, but Liberty hates him with everything she is because he is responsible for her sister’s death so many years ago. Essie knows about Liberty’s story, and she asks to be put through interviews on Liberty’s show to give an “inside look” to the viewers before her whirlwind marriage.

Full of twists, shocking moments, and horrifying revelations, The Book of Essie is one of the most bingeable books I’ve picked up this year. I initially got it as my June Book of the Month, but ended up listening to the audiobook. The audiobook has amazing narrators and I could not turn it off!

If you like celebrity drama, teenage angst mixed with real problems, journalistic investigations, and a real, down-to-earth American story, this one is for you.

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Buy the book here.

Sign up for Book of the Month here. I love it so much!

[It should also be mentioned that there are a few content warnings: rape, homophobia, murder, general bad treatment of children. However, these things are not condoned in the book.]

Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“Sky in the Deep” by Adrienne Young

34726469New Release Tuesday! Eelyn is a Viking warrior from the Aska tribe. Their mortal enemies, as decreed by the gods, are the Riki. Every five years the two clans must meet each other in battle to honor their gods.

Five years ago in battle, Eelyn saw her brother Iri fall in battle, rolling down an unreachable ravine. So when she sees her brother fighting with the Riki five years later, she assumes she’s seeing his spirit. The battle rages on, and Eelyn is shot through the he shoulder and taken hostage—by her brother and his new Riki family. There’s Fiske’s curious little brother, Inge, the village healer, and Fiske. The rude, bull-headed young man who shot Eelyn.

Eelyn must learn to survive while she waits out her escape once winter ends. Along the way, she makes new friends, new enemies, and realizes the Riki are much more alike the Aska than they are different. What follows is a great political and savage story where it seems like it may be hopeless—where everyone Eelyn knows might perish.

Another great thing about this story is that it is a standalone story. Everything is wrapped up at the end and you don’t have to wait tortuously for the sequel. If you like badass warrior women, Viking fierceness, and a fast-paced story, Sky in the Deep is definitely for you.

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Buy the book here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“Ace of Shades” by Amanda Foody

30238163New release Tuesday! Take a card and stake your soul with Ace of Shades, book 1 in The Shadow Game series.

Enne (pronounced like the letter “N”) has no choice when her mom, Lourdes Alfero, doesn’t come back from her trip. She has to go to New Reynes to find her. With her handy tourist guidebook, she sets off to find Levi Glaisyer, the only name her mother left behind.

New Reynes is called the City of Sin for a reason. The South Side of the city is considered “safer” — this is where rich tourists go to vacation. The North Side, where Levi is the Lord of the gang called the Irons, is dangerous. There’s other gangs (the Scarhands and the Doves), plus notorious mafia casino families. Enne’s guidebook strongly advises not going to the North Side. But she must.

Ace of Shades switches from Enne’s and Levi’s perspectives. While Enne needs Levi to help her find Lourdes, Levi needs Enne to pay him for his help in order to pay off a large debt that if left unpaid, will cost him his life.

Told over the 10 days Levi has to pay back his debtor, we follow him and Enne through this magical, dangerous, Vegas-meets-carnival adventure. If you liked Caraval, and want more of the same, you have to pick this one up.

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Buy Ace of Shades here.

I also highly recommend Foody’s debut, Daughter of the Burning City – click this link to buy!

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“Moxie” by Jennifer Mathieu

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THIS BOOK GOT ME PUMPED. Moxie Girls Fight Back!

Vivian is sick of the sexist teachers and students at East Rockport High School. When she finally hits her breaking point, she begins distributing copies of Moxie. Moxie is a zine she creates to bring together the girls in her school to fight back in simple ways, like drawing stars and hearts on their hands to show solidarity. This movement eventually builds into something that will change not only Vivian, East Rockport High School, but people all over the world.

This book is absolutely filled with girl power, feminism, discussions about what is right and wrong, and other deliciously *moxie* things. I love this book so much! Read if you need a massive dose of girl power in your life (even if you’re male!!!).

I mean, when something is endorsed by Amy Poehler, you know it’s good. “Moxie is sweet, funny, and fierce. Read this and then join the fight.”―Amy Poehler

Buy the book here.

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I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“I Stop Somewhere” by T.E. Carter

29751533._UY1678_SS1678_(Content Warning: murder, rape, sexual assault)

New Release Tuesday! I Stop Somewhere is a very emotional, sad, and gripping book. In the vein of novels like The Lovely Bones, we follow Ellie as she watches her murderer from the afterlife as a ghost of sorts. Where it differs, is that this book alternates between the past leading up to Ellie’s murder, and the present as she watches girl after girl be assaulted just like her, unable to do anything to help.

Finally, one of the victims speaks up. It isn’t easy, as the two assailants are the sons of the most powerful man in town, the one buying up all the foreclosed houses and remodeling them to keep the town from shriveling up and dying. Ellie watches as the girls struggle with the repercussions of their attacks, the boys scramble to save themselves from prison, and the police struggle to solve Ellie’s now long-cold case.

This book is very graphic, but it is also very addictive. I flew through it, pausing to reflect on how sad the story was, getting pissed at the bad guys, and wishing I didn’t have to do real life things instead of reading.

Here is an excerpt of the Walt Whitman poem “Song of Myself” that the title was taken from:

I depart as air—I shake my white locks at the runaway sun;
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeathe myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love;
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am, or what I mean;
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;
Missing me one place, search another;
I stop somewhere, waiting for you.

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I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman (Arc of a Scythe, Book 2)

33555224I read an ARC of Scythe by Neal Shusterman last year, and it absolutely blew my mind. It is on my list of top favorites of all time. Check out my gushy ramblings about book 1 here. Obviously if you haven’t read Scythe, you will not understand all the spoilers for book 1 below. Come back after you’ve read Scythe and you’ll thank me!

Just as a refresher, when we left off last time, Citra had just been named the newest Scythe in Mid-Merica. Her first task was to glean Rowan, but due to her brilliance, he got away.

Enter Thunderhead, the second book in the trilogy. The Thunderhead is the all-knowing being that controls and regulates everything on earth, with one exception—anything dealing with the Scythedom. The main theme through the entirety of the book is whether it’s right or wrong for the Thunderhead to police the Scythedom, especially with the rise of the New Order Scythes. They love to cause pain, fear, and revel in their celebrity and immortality.

Citra has continued her fellowship with Scythe Curie, now as her new identity: the Honorable Scythe Anastasia. They continue to glean as they are required, and always ensure they perform the grim duty with dignity and humility. When there’s a shake-up at the Mid-Merican conference, they are both thrown into deep political drama.

Rowan, meanwhile, is cavorting around as Scythe Lucifer, all dressed in black like the grim reaper. He has taken on the task of hunting down, gleaning, and burning the bodies of the Scythes who have gone bad. He makes one mistake, and definitely suffers the consequences.

The rest of the plot will just absolutely blow your mind. It is literally unreal and haunting. I sat catatonic for quite an embarrassing amount of time when I finished reading.

So anyway, this series is incredible and you are missing out so hard if you haven’t picked it up yet. It has amazing characters, enchanting world building, puzzling moral questions, and twist after twist after twist.

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Buy the book here.
Buy Scythe (Book 1) here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.