Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review: 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough


13 Minutes

by Sarah Pinborough

Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 320
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication date: October 3, 2017
Suggested tags: young adult, mystery, thriller



From Goodreads:
"Natasha’s sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn’t try to kill her?

Natasha is the most popular girl in school. So why was she pulled out of a freezing river after being dead for thirteen minutes? She doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal.

Now Natasha’s two closest friends, who are usually her loyal sidekicks, are acting strangely. Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before, to help her figure out the mystery.

At first Becca isn’t sure that she even wants to help Natasha. But as she is drawn back into Natasha’s orbit, Becca starts putting the pieces together. As an outsider, Becca believes she may be the only one who can uncover the truth…which is far more twisted than she ever imagined.
"


Wow. That was a ride. Also my first Sarah Pinborough book - where have I been?? WHAT HAVE I BEEN MISSING???

Summary: I'm not sure I can summarize it any better than what's above without giving something away... and this is one of those where you don't want to know too much ahead of time.

What I liked: From start to finish, I kind of had an idea about where things were going or who was involved... but then everything changed and all my ideas were proven wrong and I had to start all over. I love books that do that to me - make me feel like I know what's happening and then rip the rug out. This one was kind of like a slow build-up, rather than an abrupt rug-ripping, which I enjoyed.

I mean, come on, you have to love the Mean Girls vibe that runs through most of this. The Natasha-Becca-Hayley-Jenny thing was just so strained and uncomfortable. The barbs they throw at each other, both subtle and not, were so fierce. I mean, I don't miss that part of high school and I certainly don't want to have any drama like that in my life ever again, but I'd be lying if I said I don't love reading about it.

And I really, really loved what I felt was the tipping point... the part in the theater (SPOILER - highlight to read: where Becca's new friend (crap I already can't remember her name) is killed by the light falling on her and Natasha is like "I REMEMBER" and you're like WAIT THIS SEEMS SUSPICIOUS and it all unravels from there)... *shudder* yeah that was good.

What I didn't: It was maaaybe just a little too long? I got halfway through the book and there's like a faux-reveal where it seems like everything's resolved but you know obviously it's not because you've still got a chunk of book left in your hand... and part of me was kind of wishing I didn't have that much left. Granted, it turned out to be exciting and fast-paced, but at the time I was feeling a little "ugh" about having that much to go.

And while I don't usually mind too much about smoking or partying or tasteful sex scenes in my YA, in this one the smoking scenes are written so it's almost glorified, to the point where I as a very-much-non-smoker found myself thinking, "Is it really that great? What am I missing?" It's written in just such an incredibly alluring way... So if you or the teen you plan to recommend this to are sensitive to being influenced, that's just something to keep in mind.

TL;DR: This is my first Sarah Pinborough book, but it definitely won't be my last. I'm really getting into YA thrillers lately and this was a great one.


Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars


{ Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a review copy. My reviews are honest and my opinions are my own; your reading experience may vary, so give it a read and see what you think. :) }


{ Follow Sarah Pinborough }

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Good to Be Back!!

Hello, my fellow readers!

I can't believe the last time I posted was 2015... that's crazy! Life went a hundred different ways for me all at once and I unfortunately had to put blogging aside. I got accepted into grad school, I got a new job in a library, and then my husband and I welcomed a baby boy into our lives! I'm still working on finishing up my MLIS, and I'm stay-at-home-mom-ing for a bit with our little dude. Things are still crazy, but I feel like I can handle the craziness better now. :D

So I'm back to blogging! Things will be a little different... I won't be doing the New Release Round-Up posts anymore, because those took me FOR-EV-ER to put together and I just don't have that kind of free time anymore. (Finding time for both a shower and a load of laundry in any given day is a win.) I'm going to try to read and review as much as I can, and I want that to be the focus of my blog. I'll work on any other fun posts that I can in between reading and reviewing.

Thanks for reading! So glad to be back to book blogging! :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

New Release Round-Up: April 20-26, 2015

Young Adult


99 Days
by Katie Cotugno

Release date: April 21, 2015
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 384
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Suggested tags: young adult, romance, contemporary



From Goodreads:
"Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.
"


Things We Know by Heart
by Jessi Kirby

Release date: April 21, 2015
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 304
Publisher: HarperTeen
Suggested tags: young adult, romance, contemporary



From Goodreads:
"When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn't want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they're connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.
"

Other YA new releases for this week:



Middle Grade


Castle Hangnail
by Ursula Vernon

Release date: April 21, 2015
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 384
Publisher: Dial
Suggested tags: middle grade, fantasy



From Goodreads:
"From the creator of Dragonbreath comes a tale of witches, minions, and one fantastic castle, just right for fans of Roald Dahl and Tom Angleberger.

When Molly shows up on Castle Hangnail's doorstep to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the castle's minions are understandably dubious. After all, she is twelve years old, barely five feet tall, and quite polite. (The minions are used to tall, demanding evil sorceresses with razor-sharp cheekbones.) But the castle desperately needs a master or else the Board of Magic will decommission it, leaving all the minions without the home they love. So when Molly assures them she is quite wicked indeed (So wicked! REALLY wicked!) and begins completing the tasks required by the Board of Magic for approval, everyone feels hopeful. Unfortunately, it turns out that Molly has quite a few secrets, including the biggest one of all: that she isn't who she says she is.

This quirky, richly illustrated novel is filled with humor, magic, and an unforgettable all-star cast of castle characters.
"

Other Middle Grade new releases for this week:

Monday, March 30, 2015

New Release Round-Up: March 30-April 5, 2015

Young Adult


Solitaire
by Alice Oseman

Release date: March 31, 2015
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 368
Publisher: HarperTeen
Suggested tags: young adult, realistic fiction, contemporary



From Goodreads:
"In case you're wondering, this is not a love story.

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that's all over now.

Now there's Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don't know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don't care about Michael Holden.

I really don't.

This incredible debut novel by outstanding young author Alice Oseman is perfect for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and all unflinchingly honest writers.
"


The Start of Me and You
by Emery Lord

Release date: March 31, 2015
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 384
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Suggested tags: young adult, romance, contemporary



From Goodreads:
"Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics
The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?
"

Other YA new releases for this week:



Middle Grade


Anywhere but Paradise
by Anne Bustard

Release date: March 31, 2015
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 288
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Suggested tags: middle grade, historical fiction



From Goodreads:
"Moving from Texas to Hawaii in 1960,12-year-old Peggy Sue faces a difficult transition when she is bulled as one of the few haole (white) students in her school. This lyrical debut novel is perfect for Common Core classroom connections.

It's 1960 and Peggy Sue has just been transplanted from Texas to Hawaii for her father's new job. Her cat, Howdy, is stuck in animal quarantine, and she's baffled by Hawaiian customs and words. Worst of all, eighth grader Kiki Kahana targets Peggy Sue because she is haole--white--warning her that unless she does what Kiki wants, she will be a victim on "kill haole day," the last day of school. Peggy Sue's home ec teacher insists that she help Kiki with her sewing project or risk failing. Life looks bleak until Peggy Sue meets Malina, whose mother gives hula lessons. But when her parents take a trip to Hilo, leaving Peggy Sue at Malina's, life takes an unexpected twist in the form of a tsunami. Peggy Sue is knocked unconscious and wakes to learn that her parents safety and whereabouts are unknown. Peggy Sue has to summon all her courage to have hope that they will return safely.
"


Rutabaga the Adventure Chef
by Eric Colossal

Release date: March 31, 2015
Available as: hardcover, paperback
Pages: 128
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Suggested tags: middle grade, graphic novel, fantasy



First in the Adventure Chef series. From Amazon:
"In a world where there are dragons, wyverns, and haunted squash, you’d figure someone would have recipes for them, right?

Rutabaga and his magic cooking pot, Pot, join young adventurers Winnifred, Manny, and Beef on a quest to defeat a dragon, discover new ingredients, find monsters to have for and/or to dinner, and to save the day through cooking. Rutabaga will dare any danger to uncover new tastes, and there’s a whole world full of food to try—from roasted mud leech to spider soup to peanut butter on crackers. His heroic recipes combine real ingredients, fantasy ingredients, and real ingredients that sound fantastical.
Rutabaga the Adventure Chef is the perfect adventure for any kid grossed out when something weird shows up on the dinner table."

Other Middle Grade new releases for this week:

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Release Round-Up: March 16-22, 2015

Young Adult


Under a Painted Sky
by Stacey Lee

Release date: March 17, 2015
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 384
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Suggested tags: young adult, historical fiction, 19th century



From Goodreads:
"A powerful story of friendship and sacrifice, for fans of Code Name Verity

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.
"


The Wrong Side of Right
by Jenn Marie Thorne

Release date: March 17, 2015
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 400
Publisher: Dial Books
Suggested tags: young adult, realistic fiction, romance



From Goodreads:
"Fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick will enjoy this smart debut young adult novel, equal parts My Life Next Door and The Princess Diaries—plus a dash of Aaron Sorkin.

Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?

Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, this is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be.
"

Other YA new releases for this week:



Middle Grade


Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions
by Sheila Grau & Joe Sutphin

Release date: March 17, 2015
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 288
Publisher: Amulet Books
Suggested tags: middle grade, fantasy



First in the Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions series. From Goodreads:
"Welcome to Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions, the premier trainer of minions for Evil Overlords everywhere. No student is prouder to be at Dr. Critchlore’s than Runt Higgins, a twelve-year-old werewolf. (At least he thinks he’s twelve. He was abandoned at the school as a baby, so he can’t say for sure.) Runt loves everything about Dr. Critchlore’s. He loves his classes—like History of Henchmen and Introduction to Explosives. He loves his friends—like Darthin the gargoyle and Syke the tree nymph. And he loves his foster family, who took him in when his wolf pack couldn’t.

But not everyone loves Dr. Critchlore’s as much as Runt. After a series of disasters, each worse than the next, it’s clear that someone is trying to shut the school down. It’s up to Runt, who knows the place better than anybody, to figure out who’s behind the attacks . . . and to save his home, and Dr. Critchlore himself, from total destruction.
"


If You Find This
by Matthew Baker

Release date: March 17, 2015
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 368
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Suggested tags: middle grade, adventure



From Goodreads:
"Mixing mystery and adventure in the tradition of Louis Sachar, Avi, and E.L. Konigsburg, If You Find This is the story of unlikely friendships, unexpected bravery and eleven-year-old Nicholas Funes's quest to prove his grandfather's treasure is real.

Nicholas is a math and music genius with no friends and a huge problem: His father has lost his job, and they'll have to sell their house, which holds the only memory Nicholas has of his younger brother. Just in time, Nicholas's senile grandfather arrives, filled with tales of priceless treasure he has hidden somewhere in town--but where?

With the help of misfit classmates, two grandfathers, a ghosthouse, hidden messages, séances, and an uncanny mind for numbers, Nicholas stages a nursing home breakout, tangles with high schoolers in smugglers' tunnels, and gets swept up in a duel with the biggest bullies in the neighborhood. Will it be enough to find the treasure and save his house?
"

Other Middle Grade new releases for this week: