Sob-fest: Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

32621710Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
First published in March 2017
Tags: Young AdultContemporary

Source: E-arc (NetGalley)
Rating: three half_zps8cnkrlqd

Can a text message destroy your life?

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?


Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free ebook copy in exchange for an honest review. 

It’s been a hot minute since I finished this book now, but I wanted to get the review up and oh lord, where to start. First off, this is just a downright tragic book. Don’t read this if you don’t want it raining on your face because I swear, you could cry through this entire book non-stop if you wanted. 

I like sad things though, so I enjoyed this reading experience. I felt for Carver and I could truly feel and understand his guilt, even though he wasn’t at fault. And that’s where one of my main issues with this book lie. The premise of this story is that Carver’s three best friends die in a car accident because the driver, Mars, was replying to a text that Carver sent. This somehow spins into an entire case where Carver is being investigated for murdering these teens because he texted Mars even though he knew he was driving at the time. HOW IS CARVER AT FAULT WHEN MARS IS THE ONE WHO WAS TEXTING AND DRIVING. I refuse to believe this would happen in real life, but who knows, I don’t know. 

Apart from me not being able to suspend my disbelief about that, I enjoyed the book. I liked getting to know these boys, who are now dead, through the “goodbye days”. My favorite goodbye days were definitely Blake’s (sob) and eventually Mars’ (sob again). At the time of finishing writing this review, Blake’s is the one I remember most vividly. 

You get to know all of these people, and it hurts that they’re dead. I found the writing truly beautiful, the panic attacks super well done, and I’m looking forward to read Zentner’s The Serpent King, which is apparently set in the same universe as Goodbye Days. I heard a TSK character has a cameo in Goodbye Days, but since I haven’t read it I don’t know who it was. If you’ve read The Serpent King you might enjoy that. 

All in all, a good read, even if I couldn’t bring myself to believe in the main premise. Let me know if this actually has happened in real life though and I’ll eat my words. There are some weird justice systems out there. 

me before you review blog


Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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Another effed up tale: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas [REVIEW]

22907937Title: Dangerous Boys
Author: Abigail Haas
First published in August 2014
Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller 

Source: Purchased
Rating:  photo three half_zps8cnkrlqd.png

It all comes down to this. Oliver, Ethan, and I. Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding. The other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder…? Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together – a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces…


 

Okay, so last year I read Abigail Haas’ Dangerous Girls. It was one of my favorite reads of the year and I knew I had to get my hand on this one again. I have a thing for stories about messed up teens that mess with your head. The two books are not connected whatsoever despite their similar titles, the only common ground is the fact that they’re both thriller novels about teens where someone’s dead but we don’t know why or how. 

We have the narrator Chloe, who’s just graduated and dreams of getting out of the town and go to college like all her friends. However, her mother suffers from severe depression (which was written very well, I thought) and Chloe realizes she has no choice but to stay home and take care of her. Enter Ethan, a sweet and handsome boy she quickly becomes attracted to. They start dating. And then, enter Ethan’s older brother, Oliver. He’s  what you could call a typical “bad boy,” who seduces and gets under your skin even though he’s a giant jackass. Pretty sure Oliver is a sociopath. 

What we know from the beginning is that Chloe’s pulling one brother out of a burning lake house, while the other one is left to die inside. Now, why were they at the house? Which brother’s dead? Was it an accident or was it murder? 

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A+ characters, C+ plot: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray [REVIEW]

3682A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Series: Gemma Doyle #1
First published in December 2003
Tags: Young Adult, Historial Fiction, Fantasy

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N

Source: Library
Rating:  photo three stars_zpsohkkn6ww.png

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy—jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order.


I’d heard a lot of good things about this, but it didn’t quite reach me even though it was good. 

So this is a young adult series from before YA was cool, i.e. before Twilight. Nice. It’s set in the Victorian era (although it’s probably not the most historically accurate book ever) in an all girl’s school. The atmosphere is kind of gothic, which I enjoyed. 

We meet Gemma, who grew up in India but after her mother’s death (which she foresaw in a mysterious vision) is sent to England to go to school. There she meets three girls; Felicity, Pippa, and the outcast Anne, and together they stumble into a world of magic and powers. 

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Just as beautiful as the last: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater [REVIEW]

17370618The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater
Series: The Raven Cycle#2
First published in September 2013
Tags: Young Adult, Fantasy

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N

Source: Purchased
Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

This series, guys. This series. This is the type of thing I wish I could write. 

I don’t know what to say about this to be honest, because a lot of it will just be echoing my review of The Raven Boys, because the plot is still just as fantastic, the writing is just as stunning, and the characters are just as lovable. I don’t have any superlatives left. 

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I’m not crying, you’re crying: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt [ARC Review]

orbiting jupiter reviewOrbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
Published on December 31 2015
Tags: Contemporary, Middle Grade, Young Adult

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N 

Source: ARC  (NetGalley)

Rating:  photo four half_zpszfonypqk.png

A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.

What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.

I received a free ARC ebook copy from Penguin Random House UK via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I was so happy to find this NetGalley even though it was published over a year ago, as it’s been on my TBR for quite some time now. I had wanted to read this book because I kept seeing reviews that talked about how it made them ugly cry and it intrigued me. 

I WAS STILL NOT PREPARED.

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Could have been better: And I Darken by Kiersten White (ARC review)

and i darken reviewAnd I Darken by Kiersten White
Series: The Conqueror’s Saga #1
My edition was published in June 2016 by Penguin Random House UK
Tags: Young AdultHistorical Fiction

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N 

Source: ARC 

Rating: and i darken review

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.


But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

I received a free ARC ebook copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

I was so disappointed in this book. The premise sounded fantastic. What this is is basically a re-imagination of the life of prince Vlad III, also known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula. He’s believed to have inspired Bram Stoker’s character Dracula. In And I Darken, Vlad is a girl called Lada. So I was intrigued. A young adult book about a female Vlad the Impaler??? Count me the hell in.

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Good, but not memorable: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab [Review]

23299512This Savage Song by Victoria (V.E.) Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity #1
First published in June 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Tags: Young AdultFantasy

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N 

Source: Purchased

Rating:  photo three stars_zpsohkkn6ww.png

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.


Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

I don’t know how long this review will be, because I honestly don’t have that much to say. I have a very on-again-off-again relationship with V.E. Schwab. I gave Vicious a glowing 5 star review, it’s one of my all-time favorites and everyone should read it, but A Darker Shade of Magic bored me to tears. 

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