ARC REVIEW: Are You Still There by, Sarah Lynn Scheerger

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~ Synopsis ~

After her high school is rocked by an anonymous bomb threat, “perfect student” Gabriella Mallory is recruited to work on a secret crisis helpline that may help uncover the would-be bomber’s identity.

Gabriella Mallory, AP Student and perfect-daughter-in-training, stands barefoot on a public toilet for three hours while her school is on lock-down. Someone has planted a bomb and she is hiding. The bomb is defused but the would-be-bomber is still at large. And everyone at Central High School is a suspect. The school starts a top-secret crisis help line and Gabi is invited to join. When she does, she is drawn into a suspenseful game of cat and mouse with the bomber, who has unfinished business. He leaves threatening notes on campus. He makes threatening calls to the help line. And then he begins targeting Gabi directly. Is it because her father is the lead police detective on the case? Is the bomber one of her new friends? Could it be her new boyfriend with his complicated past? As the story unfolds, Gabi knows she is somehow connected to the bomber. Even worse she is part of his plan. Can Gabi reach out and stop him? Or will she be too late?

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REVIEW

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Are You Still There is a young adult novel about Gabi’s experience through a lock-down of her high school – and the affects it has on the student body as a whole. It’s a horrific experience, and one we see in too many headlines in the news these days. But reading it from Gabi’s first person perspective, while hiding in a bathroom stall – feet on the toilet, hoping she can’t be seen in case the assailant comes in… the sheer panic as she hears footsteps down the hallway…. the fear when the door to the girls bathroom opens and she knows this is it. Luckily – it wasn’t.

But this is just the beginning.

What turns into one of the most scariest experiences of Gabi’s life – turns even sinister as the would-be-bomber starts leaving creepy little clues for Gabi. And like the synopsis says… she has no idea who the bomber is, or why he’s targeting her, but it turns into a very cryptic cat-and-mouse chase for Gabi to figure out who it is, before they have a chance to do something else.

As kids are picked for a secret crisis-line, Gabi starts breaking out of her perfect-student-daughter shell. She’s hanging out with new friends, even meeting boys for the first time in her high school existence. She’s actually taking herself out of the norm and putting herself out there and that’s very brave for a girl her age. Because nothing is more scary when you’re in high school than diverting from your norm. And I loved Gabi for that – she has guts.

I was going through a YA phase when I received this book and it did not disappoint. It’s not the usual theme of YA I’m used too and it was a definitely a great change of pace. There is suspense without being graphic, the story gave me the chills more than once and left me more than a few times with the heebeegeebees (yes that’s a word.)

But it’s not just suspense, behind this cat-and-mouse chase to find out whose responsible for the failed-bombing, and cryptic messages left for Gabi, it’s also about a girl whose finding herself for the first time – letting loose and allowing herself to have a life outside of her studies and volunteer work. To say Gabi is the perfect child is an understatement – and she deserves to enjoy what time she has left in high school before she gets swallowed up into college and adult life.

There are a lot of stories going on throughout this story – from Gabi’s POV and from the would-be-bomber. It’s scary to see things from that perspective and very emotional. To read the pain they’re experiencing…. and hoping someone will notice? It will definitely make you think… and feel.

Check it out!

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About the Author, Sarah Lynn Scheerger

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Sarah lives in Ventura County, California, with her husband and children. She loves cheese pizza and anything that combines chocolate and peanut butter. She still keeps a pair of tap shoes tucked away—just in case. (via the author’s website)

ARC REVIEW: Did I Mention I Love You? (The DIMILY Trilogy #1) by Estelle Maskame

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PRE-ORDER LINKS – OUT DECEMBER 1st 2015!

Amazon * B&N * iBooks

~Synopsis~

When sixteen-yeah-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Eden’s parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she’s about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego. Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler’s group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can’t understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t – her step-brother.

Throw in Tyler’s clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there’s secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler?

Did I Mention I Love You is the first book in the phenomenal DIMILY trilogy, following the lives of Eden Munro and Tyler Bruce as they try to find their in an increasingly confusing world.

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REVIEW

I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

– I’m giving this 3 Stars –

I liked the sound of the blurb – I’ve been on a young adult kick for the last month or so and found this on NetGalley. Eden, like the synopsis says is in Santa Monica California for the summer visiting her estranged father – she hasn’t seen or barely spoken to him in three years when he walked out on she and her mother. Now, he’s re-married and giving Eden three step-brothers, a built in new family Eden hasn’t even met yet. The eldest, Tyler is your typical brooding bad boy – and there are secrets he’s keeping close to him, not letting anyone too near for fear they’ll find out – find them real Tyler.

Eden is introduced to the crowd Tyler runs around with – all soon-to-be senior’s in high school, they’re determined to show Eden a good time on her summer vacation – but what does this good time entail? A LOT of drama! Parties – boys – fights, your typical teenage experience, but Eden is new to the Santa Monica game and she’s leery and anxious at every turn. But as time passes, she and Tyler forge a strange little bond that turns into something …. different.

Did I Mention I Love You is a YA/NA book that is well written, but with a heavy dose of teenage angst – sometimes so much I was choking on it. I did find myself loathing most of the girls within the book, not one of them having even an ounce of depth to them. Estelle Maskame has developed a typical teenage experience – a 16 year old girl dealing with 16 year old girl problems – the bad boy in the equation just so happens to be – her step brother.

But I found myself scanning a lot un-necesary details and drama. I know a lot of people love that, but I just wasn’t hooked into it – the book is very well written, just a lot of it was not my thing. If you’re looking for an easy read chalked full of drama – and some pretty steamy taboo-ish scenes, grab it – you will enjoy it.

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About the Author – Estelle Maskame

Website * Goodreads * Twitter * Wattpad

Estelle Maskame started writing at the age of 13 and completed her DIMILY trilogy when she was 16. She has already built an extensive and loyal fanbase for her writing around the world by sharing her work in installments on the digital platform Wattpad. Estelle’s trilogy will now be available for the first time in book and ebook formats. 

The DIMILY Trilogy has more than 4 million hits on Wattpad, and Estelle tweets to over 126,000 followers as @EstelleMaskame. (via the author’s website)

ARC REVIEW: The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by, Max Wirestone

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PRE-ORDER LINKS: Out – October 20th 2015!

Amazon * B&N * KOBO * Audible

~ Synopsis ~

For fans of The Guild, New Girl, Scott Pilgrim, Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars, or anyone who has ever geeked out about something.

The odds of Dahlia successfully navigating adulthood are 3,720 to 1. But never tell her the odds. 

Meet Dahlia Moss, the reigning queen of unfortunate decision-making in the St. Louis area. Unemployed, broke, and on her last bowl of ramen, she’s not living her best life. But that’s all about to change.

Before Dahlia can make her life any messier on her own she’s offered a job. A job that she’s woefully under-qualified for. A job that will lead her to a murder, an MMORPG, and possibly a fella (or two?).

Turns out unfortunate decisions abound, and she’s just the girl to deal with them.

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REVIEW

I received an ARC From NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Oh Dahlia Moss – what have you gotten yourself into?

I found this book browsing around NetGalley and the cover peeked my curiosity, the synopsis too – because I myself have geeked out on quite a few things in my 37 years (still do).  I gave it a 4 star rating  on Goodreads, but it was a toss up between 3 – 3.5 – and 4;  because although I did really like it, and even laughed out loud in many parts, I did get lost in the geekdom – there’s a fine line between geeking out and full on falling down the rabbit hole of another universe. The universe in this book is Zoth – a MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) think World of Warcraft.

Dahlia is flailing through her existence at the moment – a unemployed college graduate basically living of her roommate. Just when Dahlia thinks things can’t get any worse – Jonah comes in with a job offer, one that will land Dahlia head first into the world of Zoth. Jonah offers her a large sum of money to help recover something that has been stolen from him within the land of Zoth and Dahlia is still just trying to figure out how Jonah thought to ask her? She’s not a private detective, she’s not even a member of Zoth – how in the hell is she going to find his precious?

Games like this take on a life of their own – the players very, VERY much into it and their characters – quests and what not, and that’s the thick of this story. Jonah hires Dahlia to help recover something that’s been stolen from him – but before she can even get the answers as to why he chose her to solve this crime – Jonah is dead. Thus starts a very strange and yet engaging story about a girl trying to find something that was stolen, and in the midst of it possibly finding herself as well.

Max Wirestone has written a very clever and hilarious story about a girl whose self-deprecating humor will instantly make you love her – you’ll care for her and root her on as she weaves through the realms of fae and dragons to try and figure out what the hell she’s even doing “playing” private detective. it is a who-dun-it in a far-stretch path of both fantasy and reality, and though I did get lost in some of the geekdom, I came out at the end with a massive smile on my face and curious if there will be more miss-adventures for Ms. Dahlia Moss.

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About the Author – Max Wirestone

Website * Email * Goodreads * Twitter

Max is a graduate from the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science and has a degree in English from Washington University in St. Louis. Max spent his twenties as a librarian-nomad, crossing the United States, and shelving (and reading) a lot of books along the way.

After moving to New England, Max became the director of a small-town library, where he could unite his love of books, mysteries, and geekery. Since then, he’s taught a lot of small children how to dust for fingerprints, helped tens and tweens build competitive Lego robots, and has become the town’s definitive source on how to correctly pronounce character names in Games of Thrones. 

Max cleverly married an editor, he and his husband have a 4-year old son. They live in a 135 year old house in Concord, which is filled with toys, games, and blasts of  cold air.

Currently, Max is busy working on Dahlia Moss’s next adventure. That, or he’s just playing Hearthstone. (via the author’s website)