they’ll never catch us ARC review

Hello everyone! My name is Jan and welcome back to another blog post  ◝(ᵔᵕᵔ)◜ ♥

Lately, I’ve been on a reading (what’s the opposite of slump? surge?) surge for the past week now it feels weird if I don’t read for at least an hour before I go to sleep LOL. It doesn’t matter if it’s on my phone or with a physical book in hand, I just NEED to read before I go to bed.

With that being said I actually can’t believe I’ve actually been completing my ARCs? I’ve been trying to do my best to read with my friend Trin at night and I think that it’s really made me more productive with my reading so tysm Trin :3

This week I have brought to you another ARC review and it is by Jessica Goodman, the author who also wrote They Wish They Were Us, a murder mystery at this preparatory school where everyone is a suspect. Check out the goodreads link above if you’re interested!

Jessica Goodman has brought us ANOTHER murder mystery and I’m vv thankful for Penguin Teen for sending me a copy to read and give an honest review 🙂 ❤

Without further ado, let’s get on with my review!

Title: They’ll Never Catch Us

Author: Jessica Goodman

Publishing Date: July 26th, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary

Rating: ☆☆☆

Goodreads | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

From rising star Jessica Goodman, author of They Wish They Were Us, comes a new fast-paced thriller about two sisters vying for the top spot on their cross-country team–the only way out of their stifling small town. But their dreams are suddenly thrown into peril when a new girl threatens to take away everything they’ve worked for… until she disappears.

Stella and Ellie Steckler are only a year apart, but their different personalities make their relationship complicated. Stella is single-minded, driven, and she keeps to herself. Cross-country running is her life and she won’t let anything get in the way of being the best. Her sister Ellie is a talented runner too, but she also lets herself have fun. She has friends. She goes to parties. She has a life off the course.

The sisters do have one thing in common, though: the new girl, Mila Keene. Both Stecklers’ lives are upended when Mila comes to town. Mila was the top runner on her team back home and at first, Ellie and Stella view her as a threat. But soon Ellie can’t help but be drawn to her warm, charming personality. After her best friend moved away and her first boyfriend betrayed her, Ellie’s been looking for a friend. In a moment of weakness, she even shares her darkest secret with Mila. For her part, Stella finds herself noticing the ways she and Mila are similar. Mila is smart and strong–she’s someone Stella can finally connect with. As the two get closer, Stella becomes something she vowed she’d never be: distracted.

With regionals approaching and college scouts taking notice, the pressure is on. Each girl has their future on the line and they won’t let friendships get in their way. But then, suddenly, Mila goes out on a training run and never returns. No one knows what happened, but all eyes are on the Steckler sisters.

So… I did want to like this book.

It was just okay in my opinion.

I didn’t really like Jessica Goodman’s other book, They Wish They Were Us but I thought that since this story had a sisters dynamic and this common prose of cross country “murderers” in this small town that has a history of being Murderville, I thought I would like this!!!

It was just okay LOL.

However, I really did like this book much better than They Wish They Were Us !

This book really put into perspective how women really aren’t taken seriously when they’re speaking about something and I’m glad that Jessica Goodman pointed that out in a realistic fashion in this book. “We all know teenage girls are capable of lying” that quote physically made me mad and my heart literally stopped for a second because of how true that is? Not in the sense that we do teenage girls are capable of lying, but the fact that teenage girls, women in general, are always perceived in this way that they’re never right or telling the truth and once they try speaking up for themselves, they get shut down.

Stella Steckler is competitive. It’s in her nature to strive to be the best because she knows that she is the best. She doesn’t want anything to get in the way of her full potential. Last year had been rough enough on her, with the whole scandal she had going on that cost her scholarship opportunities in Georgetown, She just wanted to focus on herself and get herself in Georgetown with her talent in cross-country. However, once new girl Mila comes into town, Stella doesn’t only worry about beating her sister in a race, but she also has to keep an eye out for a new ace. Someone who will surely take her spot.

Ellie Steckler, just like her sister wants to get out of Edgewater (or Deadwater, if you will) just as badly. She wants to beat her sister in at least one race. But with Mila in town too, she had to add another girl to the list of people she needed to outrace. But when Mila goes missing, all eyes look at the Steckler sisters.

I was genuinely surprised with the sister dynamic of this book, you can clearly tell who the two different Stecklers are, and even though all eyes are pointing at the Steckler Sister’s for Mila’s disappearance, no matter if they both don’t know each other’s secrets, all in all, they still have each other’s back no matter what.

I read this all in one sitting because I felt like I was watching beef happen right before my eyes LOL. If you’re interested in a family dynamic book, small-town murder mysteries and competitive teenage girls willing to do anything to save their ass, They’ll Never Catch Us is definitely for you.

Thank you for coming to my review! I hope you’re all staying safe 🙂

Jan ❤

the taking of jake livingston ARC review

Hello everyone! My name is Jan and welcome back to another blog post  ◝(ᵔᵕᵔ)◜ ♥

Thank you once again to Penguin Teen for sending me this ARC copy of The Taking of Jake Livingston in exchange for an honest review!

Please be on the lookout for further ARC reviews in the future by Penguin Teen as I’m one of Penguin Teen Influencers for this year! Let me know what kind of content you want to see! More booktube content or more blog posts :3

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Title: The Taking of Jake Livingston

Author: Ryan Douglass

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Release Date: July 13, 2021

pre-order and get ~spooky~ goodies for 10% off!

goodreads | book depository | barnes & noble |

Synopsis

Get Out meets Danielle Vega in this YA horror where survival is not a guarantee.

Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.

Content Warnings: racism, school shooting, death (graphic), violence (graphic), mentions of suicide attempt, physical and emotional abuse, mental illness, parental and medical negligence, sociopathy, sadism, attempted rape, revenge porn, gore, homophobia, bullying.

note: Ryan Douglass is an amazing human being and I’m so glad that I was able to read this ARC copy :3 ❤

Two words. BLACK. HORROR.

LBGTQ+ rep! Horror! BIPOC characters! What more could you ask? Halloween came early with The Taking of Jake Livingston.

This has been one of my most anticipated reads for this year and I can’t believe I got an ARC! Once again, thank you PenguinTeen for providing me with a copy!

The plot was very interesting and I definitely felt the horror aspect of this book come through! As most of you guys know, I don’t really do well with horror but I was greatly surprised at how I was getting goosebumps as well as getting creeped out as I read this book.

First of all, I want to talk about the pun in Jake’s name. Jake Livingston? The kid that gets possessed by a ghost? The kid that fights an undead ghost and lives to tell the tale?Amazing. Superior. Awesome.

When I first dove into this book blind, I thought I was going to get something different. From the cover I suspected an anxious teen who probably had a lot of bad things happen to him fight a ghost in the middle of this large dark academic school where secrets unfold.

Well, there wasn’t a dark academic school, but I was pleasantly surprised with this book! I loved the aspect of a possessing ghost looking for revenge and a witty queer bipoc teen fight back while going through his first ever crush. It was simply… everything.

When I first got my copy, I was surprised with how short the book was but I felt like the pacing was well done and the only thing I was disappointed in was that it wasn’t longer.

We got our medium Jake, a teenager who can see spirits deal with the ghost of Sawyer Doon, a who used to live in their town commit a terrible act on other students before eventually ending his life himself. The plot was well done and everything came full circle, starting with Jake, diving back into the backstory of Sawyer Doon and why he’s seeking revenge, and ending it back with Jake.

The only other characters I enjoyed reading were Allistar and Benji, I didn’t really care for the others but I wish I got more scenes w them towards the climax of the book!

(There are some really graphic scenes that everyone should be aware of before diving into this book and I’ve put all warnings at the top of this post!!!)

It was truly a thrilling book to read and I can’t wait to see everyone thinks about The Taking of Jake Livingston.

Thank you all for stopping by! I hope you’re all staying safe ❤

Jan

hello (from here) ARC review

Hello everyone! My name is Jan and welcome back to another blog post  ◝(ᵔᵕᵔ)◜ ♥

I’m trying to update on my blog and my channel more so pls keep an eye out for more content from I’m working on it I promise T_T

Today I am back with another ARC review! If you didn’t know I am a part of Penguin Teen Influencers Program and I am so excited to share my reviews on these upcoming books! Please keep an eye out for reading vlogs and further ARC reviews for more content like this!

Without further ado, let’s get on with the review.

Title: hello (from here)

Author(s): Chandler Baker & Wesley King

Rating: ☆☆☆

Release Date: May 11, 2021

goodreads | book depository | barnes & noble |

Synopsis

A witty and thought-provoking YA love story set during the COVID-19 quarantine, written by two NYT bestselling authors, with shades of Five Feet Apart and Anna and the French Kiss .

Maxine and Jonah bump into each other in the canned goods aisle of the grocery store just as the state of California is going into lockdown, when everything changes completely. Could there be a worse time to meet? Max’s part-time job at a supermarket is about to transform into a hellish gauntlet. Jonah’s preexisting anxiety is about to become an epic daily struggle. As Max, Jonah, and their friends live together but apart through hijinks, humanity, and heartbreak, Hello (From Here) cuts across urgent matters much bigger than a teenage crush. Differences of class, privilege, mental health, and sacrifice are thrown into stark relief by the profound and personal stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. As thoughtful, probing, and informed as it is buoyant, romantic, and funny, Hello (From Here) looks at the first two months of the quarantine and adds falling hopelessly in love to the mess.

 

Thank you Netgalley and PenguinTeen for giving me an ARC copy in exchange for a review!

This book made me somewhat sentimental about when we were on the verge of the pandemic. The stocking of toilet paper, the way everyone was confused with no idea what to do or where to begin because we’ve never been faced with such a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic before. Reading this made me actually… nostalgic? For those times. When the world was fighting for toilet paper, when people were rushing home from their study abroad trip in Europe, when people were making tiktoks after tiktoks from boredom and making dalgona coffee and just being… home. This book kind of made me… miss all of that.

I feel like hello (from here) was a different concept and very different from every contemporary I’ve read before since it not only reflected a very serious pandemic, but it touched upon what we went through when COVID-19 was on the very tip of the ice berg and we didn’t know what to do.

I did like the characters, I found them endearing and actually very relatable. I think we could see a lot of ourselves in Jonah and how he dealt with his constant anxiety and how it peaked over these unknown times. I liked Maxine as well and I liked how very… real her relationship was with her family and her friends, how they talked over Zoom and how she still had to work with her job as a groceries attendant.

The plot was nice and all but it seemed to lack some sort… substance? It seemed very… empty, I guess you could say. Half of it was plot, and half of it was these two teens trying to build a kind of romance over Zoom which I must say was very different and I liked the concept a lot but I think the way it was executed was not for me.

However, I do think that now with everyone’s gotten to learn to live during the pandemic and how we’re all very used to it, it would make everyone nostalgic for those times when we were just beginning with COVID-19. I think that teens would enjoy this book, especially when COVID-19 is over, future teens can get a glimpse of what we lived like during those times :))

That’s all for my review! Thank you so much for stopping by and I promise to upload more content in the future ❤

Stay safe and stay healthy! I appreciate you all 😀 ❤

Jan

playing cupid by sc alban ARC review

What do you do when you run over a Cupid? Do you call State Farm insurance? Sing, “like a good neighbor state farm is there?” Well, in Playing Cupid, when you run over the mystical being, you get to be cupid instead. And if you suck at the topic that is love just like our main character Megan Cooper– well, all I can say is good luck, Charlie.

Title: Playing Cupid

Author: SC Alban

Publication Date: February 23, 2021

Rating: ☆☆

Synopsis

For the past five years, seventeen-year-old Megan Cooper has built a wall around her heart with little room to experience true feelings. However, her entire world shifts the moment she hits Cupid with her car driving home from finals. With his shooting arm significanting injured, she has no choice but to take his place.

Now, as Megan races to find Cupid’s final three love matches in order to meet his quota by the start of the new year, she comes face to face with the very emotions she’s been pushing away for so long.

Caught between what her head is saying and what her heart longs for, Megan must face old wounds, find forgiveness, and track down the perfect match for the one boy she can’t stand.

Thank you NetGalley for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Playing Cupid follows seventeen-year-old Megan Cooper, a recluse in her senior year of high school before graduating early and going to college for early admission. She has a sort of rocky relationship with her dad and basically people in general. Following the death of her mother, her relationship with her father ceased to exist to the point where he can’t even face her anymore because she reminded him so much of his first love. During finals week, Megan is paired up with her school’s hottest jock, Jay Michaels, although nice, polite to teachers and massively attractive, he flakes out of every school assignment ever.

After driving home from her Home EC final, Megan is angered with the audacity that Jay Michaels have, flaking out on her when all she wants to do is get her last assignment done with so that she can be done with high school. Driving at a horribly fast rate, Megan runs over an unseen figure in the road– that figure turning out to be the love god himself Cupid.

Image result for cupid gif

Now with the task to do Cupid’s job for him since his shooting arm is broken, can Megan find love for other people, including herself?

This book was an easy light-hearted, humourous and very heartwarming read. After reading this book, I was left with a nice feeling in my chest and I definitely felt the loving mood that it gave me. It finally felt like was February 💖 .

However, even though I do love good fluff and cute romantic tropes in books, Playing Cupid was a solid 2/5 stars for me.

The plot itself was okay. It was simple, really. Ran over Cupid? He can’t do his job of making people fall in love? No problem! Megan Cooper is right here, and she’ll get the job done! I thought that the idea of the plot was interesting and cute, we even got to see the Cupid (Amadeo) and Megan form a kind of relationship together which I found really sweet and wholesome. But, alas, this book just added another character onto my “mcs that I can’t stand” list.

Mainly why this book fell flat for me was because of the main character Megan. For some reason I just couldn’t connect with her throughout the entirety of this book. Her personality just didn’t click with me, and I found myself cringing and rolling my eyes at almost everything that she was thinking/saying/doing.

Image result for you're annoying gif

What irritated me the most was her “I’m not like other girls” personality. I’m okay with the trope/characteristic, but the fact that the book brought up that she wasn’t like other girls all the time is what annoyed me the most. The fact that there was written dialogue by her and the main love interest saying that she wasn’t like other girls made my fingers physically curl up because of how much I cringed.

Image result for not like other girls gif

The only character that I felt that I genuinely liked was Amadeo. The Cupid Megan ran over. His character was witty, sarcastic and downright entertaining. He was the only one that got me to continue the book.

Overall, I found Amadeo and Megan’s adventure of trying to find matches all over town to be entertaining and very fluffy! It’s definitely a read for February to get in the loving mood.

I hope everyone is well! Thank you for coming by ❤

Stay safe

Jan.

bunny by mona awad review

Title: Bunny

Author: Mona Awad

Publication Date: June 11, 2019

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

SO… that…. THAT was… something…

If you follow me on Twitter you probably were already aware of me freaking out over this book because I had gotten almost a third of it in when I realized… it was horror….

Call the circus.

This book was amazing, weird, downright confusing up to the very last page and yet I still ate it up. I knew about this book from my very good friend Mari over @ macnbooks and I just thought it was going to be a dark academia/witchy/underground cult going on underneath Warren University until I got up to page 76 and realized that it was indeed not that.

This book had many WTF moments, many what is going on, and many oh my god my brain moments as I continued reading.

We follow our main character Samantha who is a graduate student at New England’s Elite Warren University and she has a passion for writing and yet doesn’t really write (like me??). She really only sticks to one person during her years of Graduate school and that is her very best friend Eva. At the beginning of the book they are at this gathering for the start of the school year and both Samantha and Eva see this cohort group of girls that call each other Bunny and we see right away how weary they are of them.

The Bunnies’ small group is called The Smut Salon and while Ava is cringing and saying how weird the Bunnies’ are, Samantha catches their attention at the event, and waves at them.

The next day Samantha gets an invitation from the Bunnies to meet with them for the very first time at their famous Smut Salon and all hell breaks loose from there.

I don’t want to say too much and spoil the fun for other people (I’m also working on my own book talk video for my channel so look out for that) but after Samantha gets involved with the Bunnies at their very first meaning, some weird shit happens.

Like. Really. Weird. Shit.

Have you ever heard the burning of a tea kettle? And the whistling sound slowly getting higher and higher as it gets hotter and hotter? That was the same feeling I kept getting as the more I read. I got to page 76 when I began getting really creeped out.

Definitely gave me Zimzalabim vibes.

Image result for zimzalabim gif

At last came the point when the Bunnies went and invited Samantha’s old fling from high school to their beloved Smut Salon and that’s when weird things really start going down.

Let’s just say a few bunnie conjuring, heads exploding, cult gathering scenes later I finally digested that this book was indeed a horror book. I even got so creeped out that I bothered five of my friends to play iMessage games with me because of how scared I was.

I would say read this book if you enjoy narratives from a unreliable narrator like in The Yellow Wallpaper and if you just want to get mind-fucked in every way possible. You could not stop reading this book because of how weird it was and how Samantha just kept falling deeper and deeper into this rabbit hole with the other Bunnies…

This whole book was enjoyable to read and just made me have a lot of ???? moments which I don’t doubt other people have had also and because of the ending which still has me like…. REALLY??? THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED???

mood after reading bunny

Bunny by Mona Awad definitely was a trip down a really weird rabbit hole and had me on the edge of my seat and shoulders hunched up because of creepy it was. If you enjoy horror and a very sarcastic and relatable main character who doesn’t like people (like me) then this book is perfect for you.

Until next time,

Jan.