Book Birthday: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (+ Giveaway!!)

“An intricately plotted, compulsively readable novel that explores not only fascinating crimes
but also the mysteries of anxiety, the creative process, contemporary fame, and so much else.”
— John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down

Happy new book Tuesday! There are so many amazing releases today (Once a King by Erin Summerill, Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare, Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst, to name a *few*). I wanted to take a moment to highlight the release of the amazing book Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson.  This book came out this past January, and it was absolutely incredible. I even posted a review on it.

This book is coming out in paperback today, and I highly encourage you all to go get yourself a copy if you haven’t already! It’s perfect for that last minute holiday gift 🙂

Here’s a little more info on the book:

New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.” Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

Truly Devious returns in The Vanishing Stair

Did you know that the sequel to Truly Devious is coming out in January 2019? You definitely will want to snatch up this follow up novel. I just finished this book on Sunday, and YOU GUYS IT WAS EPIC!!! I’m dying to read book three already!!! Here is the link to the Goodreads page. (I would include the description, but it includes spoilers for Truly Devious!)

Giveaway

Thanks to the publisher I’m giving away a copy of Truly Devious! The giveaway will end on December 11, so make sure to enter by then! U.S. and Canada only please.

Be sure to follow the link to the Rafflecopter! 

Happy reading, Sophie 🙂

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Posted in Blog Tours, Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Blog Tour: Your Own Worst Enemy by Gordon Jack Review + Giveaway

Hi there! Let’s start off the day by welcoming this awesome new book into this world!

Your Own Worst Enemy

by Gordon Jack
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 13, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis:
Three candidates, three platforms, and a whirlwind of social media, gaffes, and protests makes for a ridiculous and hilarious political circus in Gordon Jack’s second highly satirical novel. Perfect for fans of Andrew Smith and Frank Portman.

They say that with great power comes great responsibility. Unless you’re student body president at Lincoln High School. Then you get all the responsibility but none of the power. And the three candidates running for president know all about that.

Stacey Wynn is the front-runner, but she didn’t count on Julia Romero entering this race. Julia is challenging Stacey for the title while also putting the moves on Stacey’s campaign adviser and only friend, Brian. And then there is Tony Guo, the way outsider. Tony is usually oblivious to the school’s political campaigning, as he’s oblivious to anything that isn’t about getting high and drinking all the Space Cow chocolate milk he can stomach. But when his favorite beverage is banned at school, a freshman political “mastermind” convinces Tony to become the voice of the little guy. But what kind of voice is that, really?

If this were an ordinary high school election, the winner would be whichever candidate was the most popular. But this year, each candidate may have to sink to a new low to win an election that could change the course of…very little.


About the Author

Gordon Jack always wanted to be a writer. In third grade, he put that on his “What I want to be when I grow up” list, just behind astronaut and professional dog walker. While working towards this goal, he had jobs as an advertising copywriter, English teacher, librarian, and semi-professional dog walker.The Boomerang Effect was his first novel. He lives in San Francisco with his family.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 


Review

I really enjoyed this book, and I really enjoyed all the different voices represented in this novel. The cast of characters were engaging and dynamic, and they had their own motives for acting the way they did in the novel.

The very beginning was really good, and it hooked me until the end. The more I read, the more I wanted to know more about them. I didn’t really like Stacey and Tony, but I think they were still dynamic characters. They had a lot to grow from. I didn’t really connect to them on a personal level.

I think Julia was one of the most relatable characters. Her feelings of not fitting in because of her culture and the way she looks was something I feel many people can understand. I think it’s important to note that she resisted a lot of the racialization that people did of her.

The premise of the student government was really well done. I really enjoyed reading about the different strategies used by each candidate. I think they really represented different approaches used by politicians today.

Overall, this was a fun read. I wish I had had more time to read it at a time!


Tour Schedule

November 5th

Pink Polka Dot Books– Welcome Post

November 6th

November 7th

November 8th

The Reading Corner for All– Review & Favorite Quotes
BookCrushin– Guest Post

November 9th

November 12th

November 13th

Clairefy– Review

November 14th

November 15th

November 16th

Vicky Who Reads– Review & Guest Post

Giveaway

  • 2 signed copies of YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY by Gordon Jack w/ book swag
  • US Only
  • Please read the rules in the Rafflecopter before entering
  • Visit any of the tour stops to enter

Here’s the link! https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86329/


Please check out the rest of this awesome tour!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Hi, and welcome to a rainy Sunday here in Michigan! I hope you’re having a good weekend so far. It has been quite busy here around campus with Halloween coming up. I’m changing it up here a little to bring you a review of a book that came out this past month. Thank you to The Novl for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected the way I read and review it.

Title: Phantom Wheel

Phantom Wheel (A Hackers Novel)
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Tracy Deebs

Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR

Release date: October 16, 2018

Source: ARC

My rating: 3/5 Goodreads stars

Believing they have been recruited by the CIA, six teen hackers arrive in LA for a hacking aptitude test with the promise of a college scholarship and a job with the CIA after graduation. But one of the teens, Owen, walks out, refusing to participate. The other five decide to stay and complete the tests. When they finish, they leave feeling equally accomplished and unnerved.
Then silence-until they receive a text from Owen: You’ve been played. He’s uncovered evidence that the hackers created “Phantom Wheel,” the most devastating virus ever made. Jacento, the corporation behind it all, plans to use this virus to gain unprecedented access to personal data. And that’s just the beginning of the devastation. Can the teen hackers stop Phantom Wheel-and protect their own secrets from being revealed-before it’s too late?


This book starts a little slow, but it picks up after the five remaining hackers perform their hack. It is heavily plot driven and full of action. This was probably the best part of the book — it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

It’s told from three perspectives, and while this is really nice to see inside their heads, I felt that their voices bled together a little. I got a little lost trying to figure out who was telling the story sometimes. Overall, they were compelling and fun to get to know. I wish I had gotten to hear from the other characters too, but I can see being six voices being hard to keep track of.

I loved the setting and how detailed it was. I felt like I was right there with them as they untangled the web of lies.

As compelling as the story was, it wasn’t quite the right book for me. I wanted to like it more than I did, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it.

I highly recommend this to people who love sci-fi and high stakes. It was a fun read nonetheless.

Happy reading,

Sophie

Book Review: Phantom Wheel by Tracy Deebs

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

Happy new book Tuesday everyone! I have to say that behind Friday, Tuesdays are my favorite days of the week. There is always something new to be had on this day! I absolutely love finding new reads on these days. Today I get to bring to you the amazing new book co-written by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. They are so amazing, and this book is DELIGHTFUL. Thank you so much to the publicist for sending me a copy for review! This in no way affected the way I read and reviewed this book.

giphy1

 

What If It's Us
Goodreads | Amazon

Title: What If It’s Us

 

Authors: Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: October 9, 2018

My rating: 5/5 Goodreads stars

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?


THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE I GOT TO READ IT AHEAD OF TIME I COULD HAVE DIED!!!! I really need everyone else to read this so we can scream together.

I love the beginning of the book. It starts off with Arthur enjoying New York and being the biggest nerd ever about it. I love how unabashedly he has no chill. It reminded me of myself a bit. (I’m quite horrible at having chill at most things, and it was refreshing to read about someone who is just like that.) I feel like Arthur wouldn’t know what chill is if it hit him in the face. BUT THAT IS OKAY.

Ben was a really good character too. He struggles a lot with feeling accepted in different communities, and I could relate to him a lot on that. He’s a great balance to Arthur’s character. He’s got a lot of surface level chill, but underneath he has about as much as Arthur. I love how complex he is, and it shows through the little gestures and thoughts.

All of the side characters were also awesome. I loved Dylan and Ben’s relationship. It reminded me of my best friend. They’re a great duo. Even their parents were fun. I loved them all. I loved this whole book with my whole heart.

The dates were definitely something that would have happened to me, but the meet cute was something that would never. IT WAS SO CUTE. You could tell how much they liked each other by how many times they kept forgiving and trying to work on it. Usually people give up after two dates if they go sour. They’re so hopeful, and that made me rooting for them the whole time.

This was truly excellent. I had a lot of fun reading about everyone in this book. I wish I got more in the end, but I don’t anticipate a sequel with the ending they have. (Not a sad ending!) You need to go read this right now!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Review: Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

Happy new book Tuesday! I’m wanted to wish everyone letting a book into the world a happy book birthday!!giphy

I’m sorry, I had to put this in there. (It is, after all, the day I’m going to see BTS IN CONCERT!!)

ANYWAY! I’m here today to talk about Damsel by Elana K. Arnold, which is a really important book to talk about now more than ever. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy! This did not in any way impact the way I read and reviewed this book.

Title: Damsel

Damsel
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Elana K. Arnold

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Release date: October 2, 2018

My rating: 4/5 Goodreads stars

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.


I was really excited to read this book when I got it in the mail. I had just seen it coming across my recommended lists in Amazon.

The first part of the book was pretty eerie. It chronicles how Emory saves Ama and defeats the dragon. I thought it was strange how everything was characterized, and I knew immediately I wouldn’t really like Emory.

The further the book carried on the more I got anxious for Ama. (I just want to say I had a feeling, referring to the end.) I was enraged for Ama the more Emory got controlling (not that he wasn’t at the very beginning). The more Ama dug into her surroundings in Harding, the more the mystery grew and the more self-aware she became. I loved how much she grew throughout the year. It was amazing to see her empower herself.

I didn’t know how to feel about Emory’s mother. There’s a lot she had to contribute to Ama finding herself, but she also didn’t really encourage Ama to leave the toxic environment.

The ending, finding out what the third weapon was, and seeing what ultimately happened was pretty epic. I was satisfied that we got to see Ama become herself. I knew that it would be a happy ending for Ama.

This highlights the important topic of how we build these kinds of happy narratives about the knight in shining armor. Emory genuinely doesn’t do anything wrong in the book, but he does! He does really terrible things, and they find it excusable.

I sincerely hope you read this book, because it’s so empowering.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Sneak Peek Sunday: The Perfect Candidate by Peter Stone

Hello there and happy Sunday!! I’m happy to be here again with another book that will come to you this Tuesday. Thank you to the publicist for sending me an early review copy! This in no way affected how I read and reviewed this text.

The Perfect Candidate
Goodreads | Amazon

Title: The Perfect Candidate

Author: Peter Stone

Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR

Expected release: October 2, 2018

My rating: 3/5 Goodreads stars

From debut author Peter Stone comes a heart-stopping, pulse-pounding political thriller that’s perfect for fans of Ally Carter and House of Cards.

When recent high school graduate Cameron Carter lands an internship with Congressman Billy Beck in Washington, DC, he thinks it is his ticket out of small town captivity. When he lacks connections and Beltway polish he makes up in smarts, and he soon finds a friend and mentor in fellow staffer Ariel Lancaster.

That is, until she winds up dead.

As rumors and accusations about her death fly around Capitol Hill, Cameron’s low profile makes him the perfect candidate for an FBI investigation that he wants no part of. Before he knows it—and with his family’s future at stake—he discovers DC’s darkest secrets as he races to expose a deadly conspiracy.

If it doesn’t get him killed first.


This book was pretty good overall, but slow paced in the beginning. It was really hard to get into at first, so I think that’s why I rated it lower than a four. I had a hard time getting used to Cameron’s voice, and I didn’t quite mesh with it.

This story starts right away with Cameron taking a taxi into Washington D. C. I really liked that Stone included a character from Cameron’s past so it threw a potential ally to him. Right away you could tell that Cameron was an outsider to this world. Something that confused me was why he arrived later than his housemates. Right away I liked his housemate Zeph. I could tell he would be a fun character throughout the novel.

The mystery portion of the book doesn’t start until a few chapters in, and I was curious to see how things would go down. I was sad to see Ariel go because she was a cool character, but I knew going into it to not get too attached to her.

I feel like the investigation portion of the book could have been more compelling. I wasn’t as invested as I felt that I should be. I think part of it could have been that I didn’t really connect with Cameron’s voice.

Something really surprising was the ending. I think this leaves the opportunity for a sequel in the least, if I got the final reveal correctly.

Overall, this book wasn’t too much for me, but I really think this could be a good book for someone else. I recommend you give it a try!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Sneak Peek Sunday: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Hi!! I know I haven’t been very active, but I’m breaking my silence to talk about this truly incredible book I read. Minutes ago I finished reading A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh. This is the author’s contemporary being released this October. Let’s jump right into it!

Title: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A Very Large Expanse of Sea
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: HarperTeen

Expected Release: October 16, 2018

My rating: 5/5 Goodreads stars

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.


Wow, I don’t even know how to begin to articulate how much I love this book. It is one of my tops reads this year for sure. It is incredible and raw and nothing I’ve read before in my life.

Shirin is a character I fell in love with right away. Sure, she could have handled her relationship with Ocean much better, but to be frank, I’m not sure I would have done much different in her position. It’s very hard to get out of your own head a lot and to have to do it while facing so much prejudice is harder. I know that Shirin acts immature, but isn’t that the point of the story? Isn’t she supposed to grow from the events in the story? She’s also only 16. She’s had to deal with a lot in those years, and it’s not getting any easier throwing in the hardships of being a teenager in general. She’s someone you can relate to even if you don’t directly identify with her background and heritage.

Ocean was a lovely character contrast for Shirin. He was constantly breaking down her barriers which forced her to rethink the way she viewed the world. It was great seeing how their interactions pushed both characters to face things they were afraid to. For Shirin, it was her anger at the world. With Ocean, he had to see the uglier side of the world that he hadn’t been privy to from his place of privilege.

The breakdancing aspect of the book gave space for Shirin to be herself and let go of things. I know it’s something the author loves deeply and it is conveyed well through Shirin.

This story was very personal, and you can tell by the rawness of the emotion and how real they felt. That’s not to say that every story isn’t personal to the author, but this one especially shines through as one.

I can’t wait for you all to read it this October! Make sure to go pre-order yourself a copy and give them both a lot of love!!!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Hi guys, and happy new book Tuesday! Today I’m bringing you a newly released book — Meet the Sky by McCall Hoyle. This book was sent to me for review, however this has no bearing on how I read or reviewed the book. Thank you BlinkYA books for sending a copy!

Title: Meet the Sky

Meet the Sky
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: McCall Hoyle

Publisher: Blink

Release date: September 4, 2018

Source: Hardcover, US

My rating: 3/5 Goodreads stars

It all started with the accident. The one that caused Sophie’s dad to walk out of her life. The one that left Sophie’s older sister, Meredith, barely able to walk at all.

With nothing but pain in her past, all Sophie wants is to plan for the future—keep the family business running, get accepted to veterinary school, and protect her mom and sister from another disaster. But when a hurricane forms off the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and heads right toward their island, Sophie realizes nature is one thing she can’t control.

After she gets separated from her family during the evacuation, Sophie finds herself trapped on the island with the last person she’d have chosen—the reckless and wild Finn Sanders, who broke her heart freshman year. As they struggle to find safety, Sophie learns that Finn has suffered his own heartbreak; but instead of playing it safe, Finn’s become the kind of guy who goes surfing in the eye of the hurricane. He may be the perfect person to remind Sophie how to embrace life again, but only if their newfound friendship can survive the storm.


I feel very neutral about this book. It was good in some parts and okay in a lot of it. I think the reason I couldn’t really invest in the book was because the voice of the main character, Sophie, didn’t speak to me. I couldn’t sympathize with her very well, and I couldn’t invest in her as a character.

The plot of the story was well done. I liked learning more about a hurricane and how Sophie deals with it. I grew up and live in the Midwest, so I’ve never experienced a hurricane besides the storms that blow in north which is nothing compared to the real thing. I was wondering how the author would work out getting Sophie on the island without her mom and sister, and the way it happened seemed very natural.

Something I liked about the book was that Sophie grew. There were a lot of points in the book where she changed and became someone different. Despite this I still couldn’t feel a personal connection with her. I think the non-risktaker-turned-free-spirit trope isn’t really working in this book very well. I do appreciate character growth and change though.

Overall, I rated this book a 3 because there was still a lot of good story to it. It just didn’t work for me, which doesn’t mean it won’t work for you! I really encourage you to try this out and develop your own opinion on this. It might be your new favorite book. I know there are a lot of people out there who really love this book, and you might be one.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Review: Meet the Sky by McCall Hoyle

Hey there! I’m here again with a review of a book I read earlier this summer, but didn’t quite vibe with. Thank you to the publisher for sending a copy my way. This has no influence on the way I review and read the book.

Title: Final Draft

Final Draft
Goodreads | Amazon

Author: Riley Redgate

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

Release date: June 12, 2018

Source: Hardcover, US

My rating: 2/5 Goodreads stars

The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.


This book didn’t work out for me the way I hoped it would. I have heard many great things about Redgate’s books in the past, so I was curious to read this one.

I think what I struggled with in this book was the tone and style of the writing. I didn’t feel like Laila would speak and act like this. I’m not much older than 18, and I feel like it wasn’t quite a representation of life as a high school senior in general. Reading it, I felt like she should have been a younger character than she was (maybe earlier in high school).

There are many beautiful lines within the book. I feel that there were a lot of great moments and scenes, but they didn’t connect well. It was almost there, but not quite.

All of this being said, I don’t think my opinion is the end all be all. It’s exactly that — an opinion. I think you should still give a book a try if you think you’ll like it. This may just be the book you fall in love with!

Happy reading,

Sophie :)9

Book review: Final Draft by Riley Redgate