true north.

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true north is book numero two in the true born trilogy. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ TRUE BORN (BOOK 1) STOP RIGHT NOW AND GO READ THAT. seriously. 100% not kidding. this is not a stand alone sequel. you simply must read book 1 or you will be struggling to make connections and fill in gaps in the story.

so, that being said, i previously reviewed true born. i really enjoyed true born so i jumped into true north with pretty high expectations. i was not disappointed.

true north was exactly what i needed it to be as the second book in a trilogy. some loose ends from book one were tied up and some excellent groundwork was laid for book three!

true north taps into a little more of the science of Dominion and can get a little tedious at times, but it isn’t tedious to the point of boredom. at no time was i ever bored with this book!

if you love a good futuristic adventure with some genetic splicing and romantic tension – you’ll really dig this series!

4/5 stars from this girl!

Want to win a copy? Click https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>here!

Want to read the first 6 chapters? Click here!

about the author

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L.E. Sterling

I was a voracious devotee of sci-fi and fantasy novels all through my childhood, so I suppose it doesn’t come as much of a shock that I’ve returned to the genre with a vengeance. 

For a while I turned my back on the genre in favour of ‘high-brow’ literary texts. Ironically, it was my doctoral degree that saw me circling back. There’s something about the way postmodern literature plays with the arcane that had me utterly fascinated, and it wasn’t long until I fell headlong back into my old ways and haven’t looked back since.

My first novel, which isn’t in the Urban Fantasy or Fantasy genres, isn’t high literature, mind you, even if it tangles with some serious statements about politics and the way our western world runs. My editor described it as something between Charles Dickens and The Catcher in the Rye: Serious Fun, in other words.

My second novel, Pluto’s Gate, is where I’ve come home to myself: it’s a contemporary retelling of the Demeter-Persephone-Pluto story from Greek mythology. Folded into the mix is a Shaman-in-training, a magical book, Underworld Gods, a world covered in ice, a three-headed dog, and one lousy ex-boyfriend.

But I’ll tell you this much: I believe in the power of words and stories to transform our inner worlds. Whether the characters be vampires or vagabonds, a good narrative sucker punches so-called reality anyhow.

i love 13 reasons why.

warning: i talk about rape, suicide, and swear a bit.

so. 13 reasons why.

i’m just going to lay it all out there. i’m so sick of reading people’s pissed off diatribes about the netflix original series and jay asher’s book.

i was admittedly pretty excited when i learned that netflix was turning this book into a series. i read the book a few years ago while working at the local middle school and i know i couldn’t put it down and that i absolutely loved it.

to be clear, never ever is this book described or presented as a 100% accurate representation of suicide, high-school life, or how to navigate being a teenager. this book is FICTION. say it with me – FIIIIIIICTION. now, i’m assuming if you’re reading this you know what fiction means. because if you don’t, then i don’t really want you reading my blog anyway because i literally review FICTION like 99% of the time.

and to be clear, the above sentiment stands absolutely true for the netflix series as well.

so, get over it. this show wasn’t a manual for how to appropriately handle teen suicide. nor was it meant to be some medically accurate portrayal of depression.

were there things that bothered me about the book/show? you bet. i wasn’t a huge hannah fan in general. i gave her mad props for utilizing cassette tapes to show the people who had failed her exactly how they’d failed her. i thought she was petulant and childish and honestly GET OVER IT HANNAH. yes these people all failed her in some way. but we all have friendships that change, most of us have a friend that ended up dating/hanging out with/going out with one of our exes, in all reality – even the rapes in the book are not as uncommon as people would like to think. i know people who have fought through some real heavy shit. i’ve been though some real heavy shit. and i wake up every morning and get my ass out of bed and handle the shit that needs to be handled. i could go on and on about mental health and therapy and the power of the mind, but that isn’t for this post. so yeah, as someone who made the choice 20 years ago to handle my shit EVERY SINGLE DAY, i didn’t buy into all of hannah’s woe is me crap.

a majority of what hannah talks about on the tapes is stuff we’ve all probably dealt with but the rapes are no joke. i’m in no way trying to downplay the severity and traumatic repercussions of rape. on that note though, i have seen a lot of complaints about the rape scenes and how they are triggering (um, hello, they’re rape scenes) and unnecessary to the show. first of all, they’re part of everything that leads up to hannah’s suicide, so i’d say they’re pretty relevant and necessary. secondly, it literally warns you before the episode that there will be graphic depictions of sexual assault. so you actually get a warning. you know it is coming at some point in that episode. it isn’t some crazy, out of left field, sneak attack rape scene. and it is literally pretty real as fuck. i mean, i guess i don’t know what an accurate rape should look like, or if the actual problem people are having with the rape scenes is that they decided to show jessica and hannah being raped and we don’t like to see rape because then we have to acknowledge it is a real thing.

i’ve also seen a lot of complaints about how the show doesn’t address the actual issue of depression and hannah’s mental health. well guess what? it doesn’t have to because that isn’t what the book and subsequent show were about. the book isn’t meant to be a guide for how to help your friend who is depressed. it isn’t a blueprint for how to appropriately deal with teenage angst and depression and it sure as shit isn’t meant to be some suicide hotline PSA. so chill out people. seriously.

i loved this book and this series for exactly what it was. people are shitty. teenagers are some of the most awful people out there. i was a teenager. i was pretty awful on more than one occasion. i stole a boy out from under a friend’s nose, i used people and took people for granted and walked away from situations when i should have stayed. i kept my mouth shut when i should have been the one to speak up.

i will say though, 13 reasons why has been added to my list of books/movies/shows 14 year old kids should have to watch/read before starting high school. audrie & daisy, a girl like her, the hunting ground, bully, cyberbully, and hate list are all on this list as well. i think kids need to fucking see how serious their words and actions can be taken. slut shaming, cyberbullying, rape – they aren’t just problems that happen somewhere else to someone else’s kids. they literally happen right here. right in your backyard. social media has made it incredibly easy to destroy another person without ever having to look them in the eye. that was what this story was about for me. did i think hannah was a brat? yes. would i have killed myself over anything on those tapes? no. but i was fortunate enough to be a teenager sans social media. i would not have wanted to navigate the toughest years of my life with a facebook account. that is for goddamn sure.

so. there’s a really all over the place rant about people ranting about 13 reasons. chill out. i loved both the book and the series and have continued to love them because i’m not trying to turn them into anything more than what they are.

if you haven’t read/watched 13 reasons yet, i recommend doing both. if you have a teenager i recommend letting them read/watch and having an open dialogue about depression, suicide, and bullying.

and if you read/watch it and hate it, that’s cool too. but really, i loved it.

pretty fierce.

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pretty fierce by kieran scott was a great quick read.

i loved that this wasn’t a typical helpless girl/heroic boy YA novel. our protagonist, kaia, literally does not NEED anyone’s help it would seem – until she does, but that is not til waaaaay late in the book! i loved pretty much everything about kaia and her supporting cast.

the plot was fast paced, fairly believable, and pretty well developed. i thought there were a few details that seemed a little rushed or came as a surprise, but it wasn’t enough to bother me or deter me from reading the rest of the book!

while i love, love, love a good YA love story, i really appreciated that this was a rough-and-tumble adventure with a kick-ass heroine.

i would absolutely read more books with kaia as the heroine and think this could definitely be book 1 in a series.

4/5 stars from this girl!

excerpt:

KAIA

“How did you find me?”

His thin lips curled into a sneer. “Word is out, liebling. You should thank me because I’m going to make your death nice and quick. Others will be coming for you and they won’t be as kind as I intend to be.”

Others? The very word sent a spiral of fear down my spine.

“What did you do to Henry and Bess?” I demanded.

Slowly, the visitor walked past me, slipping the side of his knife across the placket of his gray pinstriped jacket over and over again. My blood left tiny red hash marks in the fabric. He came to a stop behind my chair.

“To who? Those trolls you call protectors? I’m sure they’ll find their bodies before the end of the month.”

A real sob welled in my throat. “You sonofa—”

He grabbed me by the hair. Before he could bring the knife to my neck, I drew my arms forward, then yanked my elbows back as hard as I could into his gut. His knife hit the

floorboards as he doubled over and I kicked it away. He was as good as dead, but knives were not my style. I was a gun girl, born and raised. I yanked the shotgun off the mantle—the one Henry had told me he always kept loaded in case of emergency—turned around, and whacked the guy across the chin with the side of the stock so hard even I saw stars. I was going to have to thank Bess for making me keep up the kickboxing training—for keeping me strong. If I ever saw her again.

Please let this guy be lying about what he’s done to them. Henry and Bess had become my family over the last year and a half. They were the only family I had left. I couldn’t lose anyone else. I just couldn’t.

The impact from my blow had laid the German out, and I brought my foot down on his neck, choking off his air supply.

Shotguns leave a serious mess, and they can be painful as hell to fire, but you can load the shell from the magazine into the chamber with one hand. Click clack. It’s pretty badass. I aimed the gun at his face and looked down the sightline at the man’s quivering, bloody upper lip.

“Please, kid,” he rasped. “Please. I’m only doing my job.

“Not anymore,” I said.

See? Badass.

But then I started to sweat. My throat tightened, and my vision went fuzzy. I didn’t want to do this. Not really. Not again. But I had to. If I didn’t kill him, he was most definitely going to kill me.

I had this sudden, vivid memory of my uncle Marco frying ants with a magnifying glass when I was about five. When I’d burst into tears, he’d looked over his shoulder at me, his glass

eye glinting, and sneered. “Survival of the fittest, baby.”

“Please kid,” the guy choked out now. “Please.”

I clenched my teeth. My finger twitched on the trigger. Before I ended him, I needed to ask him who’d sent him here. It was what my parents would have done.

Kaia?

I blinked. The screen door creaked open, and Oliver was there, staring. Oliver Lange. My boyfriend. His unruly blond curls were slicked back with water from his postpractice shower, and his solid soccer bod practically filled the doorway. Oliver was the love of my life. The only person left on this godforsaken earth who gave two shits about me.

“What’re you doing?”

He looked, understandably, like he was about to throw up, and suddenly I was reliving, in vivid detail, the day just over a year ago when Oliver and I had met. I’d dropped my books all over the floor in front of my locker when Oliver’s soccer ball had hit my shoulder—an accident that felt like the icing on the crapcake that was my life. It was my second week at South Charleston High School—the first normal school I’d ever been to, and hardly anyone had said a word to me. I’d spent every night for three months not sleeping, searching the internet for any sign of my parents, waiting for a text or a call or an email, and afraid of the nightmares I had whenever I closed my eyes. I was so exhausted that when my books hit the floor, I’d almost lost it. Yes, I’d almost cried over spilled books.

But then Oliver was there, helping to gather up my things, looking directly into my eyes. And unbelievably, what I’d seen there was understanding.

“Hey,” he said. “It’s gonna be okay.”

“Is it?” I asked.

“I’m Oliver,” he said.

“I’m Kaia,” I replied.

He offered his hand to shake, and when our fingers touched, I knew nothing would ever be the same.

Kaia?” Oliver said again in the here. In the now.

I blinked.

Behind him, a black SUV careened around the corner into view. No plates. It didn’t belong here. We were about to have more company. And Oliver was in their line of fire.

No. Hot desperation welled inside my chest. Not Oliver.

He was everything good and pure in this world. Broken, yes. But to me that made him all the more perfect. And he loved me. Almost every single detail I’d told him about myself had been a lie, except for the fact that I loved him too. That was 100 percent true. And I wasn’t about to let him die.

I flipped the gun around, brought the butt down in the center of Picklebreath’s forehead, and snatched my canvas backpack from the floor. My eyes lit on the German’s duffel, tossed carelessly next to the front entry.

“Grab his bag,” I ordered Oliver.

“What?”

I groaned, leaned past him, and picked it up myself. Brakes squealed outside.

“Get inside!” I shouted to Oliver as I grabbed his arm and dragged him into the house.

“What the hell is going on?”

“Oliver, I swear I will explain everything!” I shoved him ahead of me, through the kitchen toward the back door. There was blood all over the floor—Betty and Henry’s blood—and he slipped in it as he reached for the handle. I swallowed hard and held my breath to keep from throwing up. Outside, a second set of brakes screeched, and a car door popped, then another, then another. “Please! Just run!”

about the author:

KIERAN SCOTT is the author of several acclaimed young adult novels, including the Non-Blonde Cheerleader trilogy, the He’s So/She’s So trilogy, and Geek Magnet. She also wrote the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Private and Privilege series under the pen name Kate Brian. She is a senior editor at Disney/Hyperion and resides in New Jersey with her family. Visit kieranscott.net.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Kobo | iTunes | Indiebound

giveaway: click https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js” target=”_blank”>here!

the secret billionaire.

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i will admit that i had no idea what to expect when starting this book. the summary was intriguing and i love the cover. so here i am.

it is unfair to label this book as young adult, this is a book that transcends age groups and would definitely be enjoyable to readers of any age. this book has action, excitement, intrigue, suspense, and danger – all without resorting to frequent profanity or sordid love affairs.

if you’re looking for a book that will take over your brain and transport you to another place – this is it. if the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe and harry potter had a baby, it could be this book.

shahabi has a very impressive self-published debut here and should definitely be proud of his work.

5 stars from this girl!

want to win a copy? click https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

read the summary below and pick up a copy for yourself on amazon at the link below:            The Secret Billionaire

About the Author

Teymour Shahabi was born in Paris in 1985 of Persian parents. He moved to the United States to study Comparative Literature and Mathematics at Harvard University. He currently lives in New York City, where he’s spent the last few years among serious grownups who probably have no idea he’s doing this. The Secret Billionaire is his first published book.

You can watch (and help) him try to figure out writing and life at www.youtube.com/PageWingChannel.

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The Secret Billionaire
by Teymour Shahabi
Genre: YA Mystery
Release Date: September 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

1960s — March 24. Billionaire Lyndon Surway takes off in his private plane and never returns.

His will leaves the entirety of his wealth—one of the largest fortunes in history—to his “dear friend Lucian Baker.” Only there is no trace of anyone by that name. And the fortune itself is nowhere to be found.

Andrew Day knows nothing of wealth and privilege, but he won a scholarship to study at the most exclusive school in the country, in the town where the mystery, decades later, remains unsolved. There he discovers friendship and danger with the aristocratic Cameron and the beautiful Olivia. But watchful eyes follow him everywhere… Until, one night, he comes across a secret that will change his life. As he begins to unravel what really happened to the Surway fortune, the question remains: who is Lucian Baker?

so you’re looking for a good book.

okay.

i read lots of books.

and it makes my heart super-duper happy when i recommend a book and someone reads it and loves it.

so, i’m going to make a little list for anyone who actually reads this little blog.

in no particular order, here are some books i think you order, download, or check-out from your local library!

if you give any of these a read, let me know what you think!

happy reading!

in a dark, dark wood.

oh my goodness. ruth ware. seriously. this girl has earned a spot in my top 5 right now.

i will be the first to admit that i first checked this book out because of the cover. this cover:

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i’m very happy to tell you that the pages lived up to the cover! ruth ware has a phenomenal twisty thriller here.

adequate amounts of booze and some maybe not so friendly rivalries at a hen weekend set the stage for this delightful read. (a hen weekend is a bachelorette party) we’re taken back and forth between our protagonist in the hospital as she recovers from wounds she can’t remember getting and the events of the hen weekend that have landed her in the hospital. a well crafted web of characters make this book easy to slip into.

i devoured this book and immediately purchased it as a gift for someone and read the girl in cabin 10 because i wasn’t ready to be done reading ruth ware just quite yet! i can’t wait for her next book and am excited to see that this is being made into a movie!

seriously. 5/5. loved it!

dead letters.

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as much as i love a mindless good read, i really love a book that is like a mental jigsaw puzzle. dead letters by caite dolan-leach is the best puzzle i’ve read in a long time.

dead letters weaves a tale of 2 sisters through a series of emails, a present day scavenger hunt of sorts, and childhood memories. when ava learns of her identical twin sister zelda’s death she returns home and gets led on a goose chase by the very sister she thought she was preparing to bury.

i was certain i had figured everything out more than once but was pleasantly surprised by how the sordid story of these two sisters unfolded. caite’s level of intricacy and attention to detail in both her character development as well as her story line made dead letters sublime to read.

this is a 5/5 for sure. dead letters is available for pre-order on amazon!

true north cover reveal.

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About True North (True Born, #2):

Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year- old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something- more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price.

In Russia, there’s been whispered rumors of Plague Cure. While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.

Want to read more? Pre-order your copy of True North (True Born, #2) by L.E. Sterling today!

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About the Author:

L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and romance to which she remained faithful even through an M.A. in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature – where she completed a thesis on magical representation. She is the author of two previous novels, the cult hit Y/A novel The Originals (under pen name L.E. Vollick), dubbed “the Catcher in the Rye of a new generation” by one reviewer, and the urban fantasy Pluto’s Gate. Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent most of her summers roaming across Canada in a van with her father, a hippie musician, her brothers and an occasional stray mutt – inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Pre-order True North here!

where they found her.

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where they found her is a wonderfully constructed story by an author whose books i find myself devouring the same way i did dark places, luckiest girl alive, and the girl on the train.

mccreight crafts this dark story in a shockingly delicate way. decades of secrets are unraveled as our protagonist, Molly – an arts/entertainment reporter for a local paper, is given the assignment of covering the discovery of the body of an infant found in the woods near the local private college.

the story is an opportunity for Molly to get out there and prove she is more than a features writer. the story is also the push Molly needs to conquer some of her own demons after the loss a child and her struggles with motherhood in the face of paralyzing grief.

through the voices of Molly, Sandy (high school dropout w/a junkie mother), and Barbara (police chief’s wife and blissfully ignorant mother) secrets are revealed that unravel decades of lies that the idyllic suburban life in ridgedale has been built on.

if you like books that keep you up well past your bedtime because you just have to read one more chapter than this book is for you.

where they found her gets 4/5 stars from this girl!

pick up your own copy of Where They Found Her on amazon and let me know what you think!