Book Review: Teen Killers Club By Lily Sparks

Can you hear that? It’s the sound of me rubbing my hands together after finishing a satisfying, if unbelievable, tall tale about a Teen Killers Club! Best of all, I smell a sequel (please let there be a sequel)!

In this one, the MC is in jail for her best friend’s murder. She doesn’t remember killing her friend, but her friend wasn’t always so nice to her and she blacked out, so . . . when she gets an offer from a shady government agency to free her from prison if she agrees to go to their camp, she takes it. Even if it lands her in the middle of a pot of hot teenage killers who DO remember committing their crimes. Not just that, but they’ve all tested psychologically as the worst of the worst! EEK! Now be a good camper, turn out the lights and go to sleep. Fast paced and a lot of fun!

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From Goodreads:

Framed for the murder of her best friend, a young girl joins a super-secret society of teenage assassins to avoid a lifetime behind bars–and discovers her own true self–in this mesmerizing debut novel.

Seventeen-year-old Signal Deere has raised eyebrows for years as an unhappy Goth misfit from the trailer park. When she’s convicted of her best friend Rose’s brutal murder, she’s designated a Class A–the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profile. To avoid prison, Signal signs on for a secret program for 18-and-under Class As and is whisked off to an abandoned sleep-away camp, where she and seven bunkmates will train as assassins. Yet even in the Teen Killers Club, Signal doesn’t fit in. She’s squeamish around blood. She’s kind and empathetic. And her optimistic attitude is threatening to turn a group of ragtag maniacs into a team of close-knit friends. Maybe that’s because Signal’s not really a killer. She was framed for Rose’s murder and only joined the program to escape, track down Rose’s real killer, and clear her name. But Signal never planned on the sinister technologies that keep the campers confined. She never planned on the mysterious man in the woods determined to pick them off one by one. And she certainly never planned on falling in love. Signal’s strategy is coming apart at the seams as the true killer prepares to strike again in Teen Killers Club.

Book Review – The Girls Save The World In This One by Ash Parsons

I totally chose this one for it’s title! 🙂 It’s not the kind of book you read if you’re looking for beautiful prose. You shouldn’t choose this one if you’re looking for deep literary insight. And if you want a very factual, true to life tale, this isn’t for you.

But if you’re looking for a fast paced, funny good time, this book is it!

Three friends attend ZombieCon only to have – you may have guessed it – the Zombie Apocalypse break out at the conference. While fighting for their lives (and the lives of others) these BFFs discover the strength, ingenuity and self-confidence they need to survive. Big on girl power, friendship, and self discovery, with a bit of romance on the side, this book is a perfect, lighthearted summer read!

From Goodreads: June’s whole life has been leading up to this: ZombieCon, the fan convention celebrating all things zombies. She and her two best friends plan on hitting all the panels, photo ops, and meeting the heartthrob lead of their favorite zombie apocalypse show Human Wasteland.

And when they arrive everything seems perfect, though June has to shrug off some weirdness from other fans–people shambling a little too much, and someone actually biting a cast member. Then all hell breaks loose and June and her friends discover the truth: real zombies are taking over the con. Now June must do whatever it takes to survive a horde of actual brain-eating zombies–and save the world. This is a hilarious and heartfelt horror comedy, an ode to zombies, friendship, and girl power that readers are going to love. 

Book Review – The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

This is the third book I’ve read by Acevedo, though it’s the first she wrote. There’s no denying she’s a powerful writer, invoking a strong sense of place, culture, and emotions with her beautiful prose.

In this book a teenage girl finds her voice, learns to accept herself and her body, comes to terms with the differences between her and her family – it’s a complete coming of age tale told in free verse that flows as easily as water from the tap. A quick read that shouldn’t be missed (With The Fire On High is by far my favorite by this author).

From Goodreads: A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This was definitely a #BlameItOnLitsy choice. Despite being published almost 20 years ago, it’s been getting a lot of attention – and good reviews – lately. So much so that when it showed up as a Kindle daily deal, I had to snatch it up. It was definitely suspenseful and interesting, but, to me, it felt like the author took the long way around. Heavy on the court drama and the did she/didn’t she. The twist at the ending did blindside me, but I felt a bit underwhelmed. If you like legal mysteries, this one’s for you.

This book was described as “an homage to 1980’s slashers and mall culture,” How could I resist? The short answer is that I couldn’t. It was a quick, fast paced, fun read. That said, it was rough in some areas and seemed almost as much of a social commentary on consumerism as a teen slasher. It took an odd, unexpected turn that I felt detracted from what was promised. Definitely campy, but that’s the point. 3.5 stars rounded up.

Thanks to NetGalley, the Publisher and the Author for an advanced copy for review.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This novella was a quick, down and dirty slice of horror by the author of “Clown In A Cornfield”. The MC is a grocery store worker by day, a horror movie director by night, and was developed in a way that felt true to life. But what happens when one of the actors takes things too far? It’s interesting to see the evolution of a writer’s style and talent from their earlier works. This one was a bit rough in places, but it kept my attention more than several more polished works have lately. I understand what Cesare was going for with the ending, and I like it, but I felt it needed just a little bit more, a page, maybe two, to give the reader the payoff they deserve.

This book is a modern day, YA retelling of some of Edgar Allan Poe’s works, and OMG does the author throw references to enough of them in here – I lost count. I am a HUGE McGinnis fan, and a Poe fan, so my expectations were really high for this book. But whereas McGinnis’s characters usually feel deep and developed, in this book they felt kind of shallow and flat. We get slices of the story from both MC’s perspectives, but even though all the reasons are there to feel for the girls, I didn’t. And there’s motivation, sure, but not enough to explain why things would be taken so far. It ends on a cliffhanger that feels more like the book just stopped in the middle. There is a sequel in the works that will hopefully wrap up the loose ends and answer all the questions, but the way it ended with really nothing to satisfy the reader who just spent 370 pages with the book was frustrating. Good, but not as great as I was expecting.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

There’s so much going on it this book! A teenage boy struggling to reconcile the wild stories his grandfather told him with reality after his loss. A mysterious island where he meets mysterious children that give him a glimpse into his grandfather’s past. And . . . Nazis? Yeah, Nazis. But the author does an excellent job of weaving all the threads together, making the outlandish and impossible seem quite sane and able. I found myself accepting even the paranormal-ish aspects of the book without question. An enjoyable adventure!

I’ve read several of White’s books before, and can usually count on her for a good thrill. This one felt different from the start, though. Usually her books center around the suspense of who will be murdered, but this one starts with the murder and switches between what led to the crime and the trial. Still a compelling read, but it didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat quite as much as I’d hoped. It did, however, wrap up with a nice twist!

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This book has such an exciting premise! Drawn by her dreams into the past, the MC joins her relatives on the Titanic – but someone may be trying to keep her there! Full of suspense, this one didn’t have me reading with quite the urgency as Mather’s other stories, but it kept me hooked! I’m officially a fangirl of this author!

This book! The MC is sent to spend the summer with her uncle who works for a circus on a remote island in Louisiana after he summons for her – only he didn’t. And it’s not just called the Circus Of The Dead – people actually die there, sometimes as part of the acts. Once on the island, she’s desperate to find a way to escape all the ghosts and danger and . . . boys? I really liked this book, but the MC was a little too boy crazy for my taste. Also, while I expected a cliffhanger ending since this is part of a series, I didn’t expect such a sudden and unfulfilling end.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This was a really interesting book. The author creates a work of fiction while also drawing on her own family roots based on being one of Cotton Mather’s descendants. She parallels the Salem Witch Trials to modern day bullying in high school while also weaving in a some ghosts and modern day witches. It was fun and suspenseful, with likeable characters, witty dialogue, and plenty of action. I enjoyed this one so much I already bought the sequel!

I’m quickly becoming a big fan of Weiland’s books on the craft of writing! They’re full of useful information, they’re entertaining, and with the many examples she gives using both popular books and movies, they’re easy to understand. I’ve always focused on plot when writing because while reading, even a book full of characters I hate can keep my attention if the plot is good enough, but after reading this I’m going to work on making my stories deeper by developing my character arcs!

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This was definitely an interesting book. Three sisters being raised as extreme ‘Preppers’ encounter issues with other members inside their group, which is paralleled by another storyline that would give too much away if I revealed it. I enjoyed reading about the survival skills, gear, acronyms preppers use, etc., and found several of the characters likeable. Humor helped to balance out the tense subject matter, but this in no way detracted from the suspense. An enjoyable read.

In this book, two half sisters learn about each other and their dad’s secret other life after he dies in a plane crash. I’d heard good things about this book, and really liked the other work I’ve read by this author, but was hesitant to give it a try because it’s written in verse. IDK why I thought this meant it would rhyme and be awkward to read but it didn’t and it wasn’t. I liked the characters, the plot, and the heart in this book. Not my favorite by Acevedo, but still a stellar read and worth a try.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This book is strange and weird but also kind of wonderful. It wasn’t the crazy spoof I was expecting – it’s about a pair of twins who spontaneously catch fire. There are so many ways that plot could veer towards the absurd. But rather than being silly, it was touching and full of heart. I think the author does a great job in the way he crafts this story and his characters. I’d definitely read more by him.

This is about a girl who attends a prestigious school on scholarship, is inducted into an elite social group, and whose bestfriend is murdered freshman year, but doubts about the identity of the killer arise her senior year.

This one was good, but I wasn’t really feeling it. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and thought certain aspects of the plot were a bit too far fetched. I did want to know what happened, and there were just enough red herrings to keep me reading and guessing, but it was always going to be one of two suspects. I wanted more.

I just started:

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