ARC Review: THE DARKEST CORNERS by Kara Thomas

Holy shit, guys. I don’t even think this is going to be a review, but more like a deluge of feels.

darkest corners cover.jpgTitle: THE DARKEST CORNERS
Author: Kara Thomas
Pub Date: April 19, 2016 from Penguin Random House–Delacorte
B&N: Pre-order it
Amazon: Pre-order it
Goodreads: ADD IT NOW
Launch event at Books of Wonder on April 19!!!!

For fans of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places and Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars, The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.
Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.
Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

Thanks to Netgalley for granting me an e-arc.

Firstly, this book is some Courtney Summers level of feels. I was not prepared, nor was I expecting to fall in love with this book. I read the Prep School Confidential series, and thought it was just fine. It didn’t blow me away or anything, so I didn’t particularly have high hopes for this book. Then it got me. It just grabbed me right from the beginning.

This is a story of friendship, a broken friendship, where two girls are ripped apart by a single event and then brought back together because of that event. Tessa and Callie’s relationship is the heart of this book. The other heart is the relationship between Tessa, her sister, and mother. For a book all about violence towards women and the violence women do, this book had beautiful, fleshed out female relationships that never made the violence feel gratuitous or scintillating. This is a book about horrible things happening to women, and also about women living and breathing and making choices.

I could tell you I love Tessa and all the complexities that went into the choices she made as a kid and as a teenager. I could tell you I love how big this world was, full of all kinds of people that played major and minor roles in the mystery. I could tell you this is a story of how the world treats and values girls and women, but these would all just be massive understatements.

This would be one also: I absolutely love this book.

THE DARKEST CORNERS is a story about the people you thought you knew and all the ways you can never truly know someone. Gorgeous writing, tightly plotted, and rich characters make this a standout novel and one of my favorites.  

Cover Thoughts
secrets mouth full of colin
Does she not look like she has lots of SECRETS???

Favorite Quotes [from an ARC so check the final print version]
“The only reason they listened to our story as kids was because they needed it. No was ever really listening to us at all.”

“Nice girls are always the ones who get hurt. It’s like the universe gets some sort of perverse pleasure out of taking out the nice girls one by one, while the whole world watches and gets some perverse pleasure from mourning the loss of yet another nice girl.”

“Then the rest of the world forgot about Fayette, Pennsylvania, and all its dead girls.”


Favorite Character
this is insanity

ps I’ve literally just finished this book and am so far into my book hangover that I can’t do anything else but think about this book and want to yell at everyone about it.

Are you excited for THE DARKEST CORNERS?


Waiting on Wednesday: THE WINNER’S KISS by Marie Rutkoski

So many awesome books to look forward to! Here’s what I’m super excited for in 2016.

Waiting on Wednesday Theme: End of a series!

rory i wanted to be cool crying emotional feels doctor who

the winner's kissTitle: THE WINNER’S KISS
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Pub Date: March 29, 2016 by Farrar Straus & Giroux
Amazon: Click click!
B&N: Cliiiiiiiick!
Goodreads: Add it!

I decided not to paste the summary for book 3 since it’s spoilery for the first two books.


Winning what you want may cost you everything you love…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

winner's trilogy

These books are mind blowing. Part of the reason I love them so much is every time you think it can’t get worse, IT DOES. The ending of book one was game changing. The ending of book two was an even bigger twist. Marie Rutkoski is honestly a master at raising the stakes.

We were just talking about #MorallyComplicatedYA last night, and Arin and Kestrel are super amoral characters. They’re in the middle of a war/revolution and every decision is weighted, every choice dangerous. They literally hold lives in their hands. They are grey. They’ve done bad for good. They keep their motives closely guarded–which leads to a lot of angst and:

luke crying sobbing feelsLiterally me reading these books

And anyway, if the deepness didn’t entice you then I don’t know what to tell you. There’s also:

  1. Murder
  2. Tigers
  5. prettyprettyprettycovers
  6. angstangstangst

And if you REALLY need more convincing:

“He did not want her to know.
He did not want her to see.
Look at me, he found himself thinking furiously at her. Look at me.
She lifted her eyes, and did.” -The Winner’s Crime

“There was dishonor, she decided, in accepting someone else’s idea of honor without question.” -The Winner’s Crime

“Right before sleep, he came close to understanding. But he was awake now.” -The Winner’s Crime

“The truth can deceive as well as a lie.” -The Winner’s Crime

“Isn’t that what stories do, make real things fake, and fake things real?” -The Winner’s Crime

Amazing, right? So read The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime in time for the LAST book in the series. And Marie promised there would be kissing!


I CAN’T WAIT FOR MARCH. And! Marie is joining The Fierce Reads Tour next spring!!! *happy dance* Details here! You don’t want to miss this.

Have you read The Winner’s trilogy? Are you excited for THE WINNER’S KISS? What do you think will happen? Can there be a happy ending? AHHHH!!


Check out what I thought about National Book Award finalist BONE GAP by Laura Ruby!

bone gap

Author: Laura Ruby
Amazon: Clicky!
B&N: Clicky clicky!
Goodreads: Add it here!




Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

Reading Bone Gap was a magical experience. I fell fast. I fell hard.

downton abbey happy dance feels freaking out

I was like, “Talking corn! Cats! Magical horses! Badass ladies! Sad boys! GOATS!”

I think you go into this book expecting it’s about Finn and his brother Sean, and then discover it’s really about two women: Roza and Petey. And it’s about society and male gaze and the expectations put on girls. And what happens when people see your worth based on your beauty (Roza and Petey) or your ‘quirks’ (Finn).

The characters made this book. Roza could have easily been the manic pixie dream girl who saves Sean and Finn from their sad life, but she’s not. She’s her own wonderfully fleshed out complex character. This was apparent to me as I read and marveled over it, but more so when I saw Laura Ruby at Books of Wonder last week. She talked about how the myth of Persephone fascinated her, but annoyed her because the story was never about Persephone. Bone Gap is about Roza. The girl who goes missing.

national book awards bownational book awards bow 2

The amazing Children’s National Book Awards Finalists panel at Books of Wonder on Monday November 16, 2015.

I love Bone Gap because of its amazing characters, vivid-heartbreaking writing, and the goat. Its critique of fairy tales, exploration of beauty, and unexpected diversity make it a must read!

Cover Thoughts
i don't know what's going on but i am excited chandler friends

Favorite Quote
I’m sorry, is THE ENTIRE BOOK not a valid answer?

She read and reread all kinds of books for all kinds of reasons. When she was little, someone gave her some weird book called The Wife Store. It was about a very lonely man who decided that he wanted to get married. So he went to the wife store, where endless women lined enormous shelves. He picked himself a wife and bought her. She was bagged up and put in a cart. He took her home. After that, the two of them went to the children store to buy a few kids.

Petey read this book over and over. Not because she liked it, but because she kept waiting for the story to change, kept waiting for the day she’d turn the page and a woman would get to the husband store. She kept waiting for justice. But, of course, the story never changed. She never got justice. If Petey were keeping one of her lists of the things she hated, she wold have to add: the fact that there was no justice. But The Wife Store was still on her shelf at home, if only to remind her that there were assholes in the world who would write such things, believe such things. (page 207)

Favorite Character
If it wasn’t obvious: ROZA ROZA ROZA. Ross sums up my feelings:why do bad things happen to good people

Friday Reads: THE LUNAR CHRONICLES by Marissa Meyer

My Friday Reads is WINTER, the last book in the LUNAR CHRONICLES series!

winter coverTitle: Winter
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pub Date: November 10, 2015 from Feiwel & Friends
Amazon: Here!
B&N: Here!
Goodreads: Add it to your shelves!




The Lunar Chronicles is a fantastic fairy-tale reimagining like you’ve never seen before. It is one of my favorite series, so get ready for a lot of fangirling!

the-lunar-chronicles 1-3

Marissa is a MASTER of pacing! It’s impossible to stop once you’ve started. And she’s a wonderful plotter because–oh my gosh–I’m on the last book and things from Cinder are coming back and even just managing a score of POV characters and all their plot threads in an 830 page book and keeping everything cohesive and amazing… I bow down to you, Marissa.

My favorite aspect of the books are all the fabulous character dynamics. I think every single character interacts with each other at some point in the books. It’s so entertaining! If you’re looking for sass, this is the series for you.

I’m so sad to be finishing this series, but I’m SO HAPPY the last book is AMAZING.

despicable me i'm so happy feels

It totally sucks when the last book is a letdown. Marissa does not disappoint.

She makes these stories feel SO real! She brings back details from the beginning of the books that ground these characters in reality. For example, one character gets kidnapped in book 3, and in book 4 there’s a mention of how her farm is still running despite her not being there to take care of it!

Last Wednesday I went to see Marissa at B&N for her Winter Tour. #WinterIsHere, yo 🙂

marissa meyer

It was Lunar Ball themed, so I wore my Cinderella castle shirt. I figured it was close enough.

There were so many pre-teen and teenage girls with their friends and they were so excited. It made my stone cold jaded college student heart so HAPPY to see girls so unabashedly excited for something. And to see friends reading together.

We were very lucky and got a reading from Rebecca Soler, the audiobook narrator. She read from chapter 2 and did all these voices. It almost felt like what a movie would be. Speaking of, we want a movie! Or a mini series! Seriously, if cyborg Cinderella, hacker Rapunzel, and SPACE doesn’t warrant a movie, I don’t know what does. Hollywood, you have a diversity problem and The Lunar Chronicles might endear some people to you.

Back to the event! Marissa came out and all adorable and said that five years ago today she had signed the contracts for her book deal to publish Cinder. Talk about coming full circle.

She told us the story of Snow White and talked about her love of Disney movies as a kid sparking her desire to retell fairy tales in new and exciting ways. After all, Disney is just one huge retelling.

marissa meyer event winter

winter signed marissa meyer lunar


cinder join the resistance scarlet join the resistance cress join the resistance winter join the resistance

soooo prettyyyy…

There was a pre-order campaign that included swag, but I didn’t join in since I figured correctly I’d have to buy the book at B&N to get it signed. But to my surprise, there was extra swag to take on tour!

timmy winter 2

Note: The cat was not part of the swag.
Note: Cats do not like posing for pictures. They’d rather sniff stuff. See below.

timmy winter

So in conclusion, read the Lunar Chronicles! I’ll be here, sobbing in my corner about the end of this fantastic series.

Seriously, Marissa. Teach me your ways.

vomiting rainbow

ARC Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Check out what I thought about SIX OF CROWS, a YA fantasy novel, by Leigh Bardugo!

six of crowsTitle: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Pub Date: September 29, 2015 from Henry Holt & Co
Amazon: Buy it here
B&N: Or here
Goodreads: Add it to your shelves

Preorder campaign going on here!
Leigh also appeared in Vanity Fair! Cause she’s awesome.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Thanks to Brittany for loaning me her ARC!

Six of Crows quickly became a book I was very much looking forward to after seeing Leigh at BookCon in May with Marissa Meyer and tearing through her Grisha Trilogy recently.

leigh marissa bookconleigh marissa bookcon 2

I don’t even know how to tell you, it does NOT disappoint.

This book has been pitched as Ocean’s 11 for YA. I’ve never seen those movies but I can tell you I’d pitch this as Heist Society meets Leigh Bardugo. It has great team dynamics that are really interesting and all the sass, pain, and creativity from Leigh as you’d expect.

It’s kind of crazy to say this book is told through SIX POVs but it works. I saw another reviewer on Goodreads mention that this book would have failed without Leigh and I think that’s so true. No one else could have allowed their characters to go to extremely unlikeable or dark places and still underpin everything with humanity. I’m trying to be annoyingly vague because this is a story you need to curl up with and devour in its entirety immediately.

Each POV is third person, which allows Leigh’s tone to stay the same, but delve into their unique backstories all while moving the plot along. I can’t fathom how it all works, but it does. It’s a marvel.

The Grisha world expands in ways I didn’t expect. There are lots of easter eggs for fans of her first series sprinkled throughout which make the reading experience all the more fun. One thing I loved about the original trilogy was the relationship between Alina, Genya, and Zoya. Leigh continues to write amazing female friendships, like she does here with Inej and Nina.

Six of Crows is fantastic. When I was reading the Grisha trilogy, I remember noticing that Leigh’s writing was improving steadily over each book. And then Six of Crows happened and I didn’t know her writing could get even better! Six of Crows will introduce readers to new ships (ooohhhmmmmyyygoooddd the ships), amazing flawed characters, high stakes, and an impossible heist only the most badass outcasts will attempt. And you’ll have the best time reading it.

Cover Thoughts
hamtaro happy

Favorite Quote
I don’t even know. Below is a small selection:

-Kaz knew death. He could feel its presence on the ship now, looming over them, ready to take his Wraith. He was covered in her blood. [for otp/ship feels]

-‘I’m a businessman,’ he’d told her. ‘No more, no less.’
‘You’re a thief, Kaz.’
‘Isn’t that what I just said?’

-‘Do you have a different name for killing when you wear a uniform to do it?’

-‘It’s not natural for women to fight.’
She rolled her eyes. ‘It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet here you stand.’

-Better terrible truths than kind lies.

Favorite Character
Inej just squeaks by Kaz and Nina.

Will I make it to 2016?

Series Review: The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Check out what I thought about The Grisha Trilogy (Shadow & Bone, Siege & Storm, and Ruin & Rising) by novelist Leigh Bardugo!


Title: The Grisha Trilogy
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Pub Date: A few years ago WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?
Amazon: Here
B&N: and here
Goodreads: and also here

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.

I am probably the only person in the world who had not yet read these books. I don’t know what was wrong with me. But I do know, once I started, I was hooked. Like, obsessed hook. Like I put books two and three on hold at the same time and rushed to pick them up as soon as they arrived at the library. Like I heard songs and related them to the characters. Like I made an Alina/Darkling mix immediately after finishing Ruin & Rising (oh, yeah, and I also weeped). (And I’ve also pre-ordered Six of Crows.) (I don’t have a problem.) (You have a problem.)

So these books…

this is the best

I want to start by saying I never knew I could love a prologue and epilogue so much. The Before and After sections of these books are probably my favorite parts. They read like a fairy tale. I can’t even explain the feels I feel while reading them.

And now let’s break it down book by book.

Shadow and Bone: Super cool. Alina has such an amazing arc even in book one. This isn’t one of those set-up books where nothing really happens. This book kicks you in the stomach the moment you pick it up and takes you on a ride.

Things to love: Alina’s relationship with the Darkling is so complex and messy and done so well *ohmygosh*. The Fold is crazy intriguing. So is the world-building. After I finished the books, I read something Leigh wrote where she explained why she decided to set the books in a fantastical Russia and it just made me appreciate the series so much more.

One issue I had was Alina being a rather passive character. She’s very quick witted, as are a lot of the characters, and I adore it. But I did have a hard time just reading about her reacting to things and going through the motions instead of driving the plot. But the events happening were enough to keep me hooked and like I said, I appreciated her growth. Which somehow happened even if she wasn’t driving the plot–in my opinion.

Siege and Storm: The book we meet Sturmhond!

pokemon brock lol

aka my love. aka I have so many feels.

Okay but other than the delicious, adorable, perfection that is this man, we have more amazing sass and stakes being raised. I feel like this is the book that really starts to push one of the major themes of the books. The Grisha Trilogy feels different to me because it explores power and greed in a way I haven’t seen other YA books do before. This is the book that sets up the consequences–or rather takes what Shadow and Bone hinted at and makes it bigger.

Ruin & Rising: *incoherent weeping*


Even if you don’t watch or read Game of Thrones, you know it is famous for killing characters. Like major characters. It suddenly dawned on me that this might happen in Ruin & Rising. Like, I actually believed in the threat. And somehow, without any heavy handed lines like “If you think this a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention” in Game of Thrones, I just wondered who was going to make it to the end.

No spoilers. But this book gave me everything I wanted. I don’t even know how to talk about it without spoiling anything because I just want to fangirl over everything.

So I guess I’m going to talk about power and greed.

“What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.” (Siege & Storm)

I actually don’t know how without giving anything away. But it’s so interesting because you have Alina and Mal who start out with no power and no greed. And you have the Darkling who is born with power and his greed grows until it basically consumes him.

Then Alina who gains power and greed and wrestles with wanting her power (and even more power), and trying to fight her greed. And Mal who *so many spoilers.* Then there’s also Stormhund who *way more spoilers.*

And by Ruin & Rising you have these characters that have evolved and finally learn the price of greed and what happens when you try to attain too much power. And I love it.

So basically, read these books because they are hilarious, amazing, and super deep. Oh and there’s a lot of hot guys and sassy girls and magic vs science and greed and power and even religion and unhealthy/abusive relationships. 

Cover Thoughts:
colbert give it to me

Favorite Quote:
This is not a real question. I REFUSE TO ANSWER.
hp crack lold serious
This is basically accurate, though. Like first you’re laughing along and going “OH, THE SASS.” And then shit happens and it’s like “omg what am i going to do. PROTECT THE BABIES.”

Favorite Character:
Alina… or Sturmhond… or Genya? or… Baghra..or Misha…
let me love you3

ARC Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Check out what I thought about EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, a YA contemporary novel from debut novelist Nicola Yoon!

everythingTitle: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Pub Date: September 1, 2015 from Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Amazon: Pre-order me
B&N: Or here
Goodreads: Add me!




This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

I got an ARC of this book at BookCon earlier this year.

everything bookcon ticketeverything signature bookconThank YOU, Nicola 🙂

I was so excited to read this because the premise sounds ah-mazing and so different. A girl who can’t leave her house because she has a rare illness? And a cute love story? I was so ready.

vanessa excitement

This is the kind of book you want to read snuggled up where you can just tear through it. I loved the artwork throughout the story; I feel like it greatly strengthened the book. And now onto the book, itself!

It was freaking adorable. Like, I don’t even know how else to talk about it besides all the warm fuzzies it gave me. Maddie and Olly have the sweetest relationship and it walks a fine line of being insta-love and slow burn all at once. I know, right? I don’t even understand it myself. I was totally rooting for them and also waiting for my Olly to move across the street, bring me a Bundt cake, write messages on his window for me, and IM me at questionable times of night (or early morning). Oh, and he does parkour.

Olly also comes packaged with family angst, which yes, we’ve seen lots of wounded YA boys. But as someone that deals with an alcoholic father, I appreciated how Olly’s family drama was conveyed subtly and affected him deeply without being overly “WOE IS ME.”

I really liked the relationship between Maddie and her mom. I’m ready to play Phonetical Scrabble (and yes, it is what it sounds like)! I also liked her nurse Carla, who was a constant in her life and feels like a friend and second mom. I was happy to see a strong female presence in this book. A+ work!

The only thing I was not happy with was The Plot Twist. I feel like it’s something many, many people are going to be torn over. You’re either going to love it or hate it. But whichever camp you fall into, I believe Everything, Everything is a worthy read for its great characters, different storytelling techniques, and fluffy-ness.

Cover Thoughts
vomiting rainbow

Favorite Line
parks and rec happy

Swoon Level
Hellllllloooooo, Olly.
i love you pixar up

Favorite Character
The Bundt cake. 😉
friends joey great story eat it