Review Rendezvous: 10/5/19


Blackout by Nina Walker
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, romance, dystopian
Medium: eBook
Number of pages: 324
Publish date: April 26th, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

Bound by blood and betrayal, she’ll destroy this kingdom.

Trembling in the wake of devastating treachery, can the Loxely sisters finally bring down the Royals?

United in the cause of saving their kingdom and bringing their family back together, Jessa and Sasha will face their greatest tests yet. Jessa’s wedding is coming at her faster than she can stop it, but it’s Sasha who is running out of time. Things aren’t as they seem in the palace, and the one person who can save them is the one they’ll never trust again.


This is the third book in this series, so if you don’t want to be spoiled for the first two, don’t read this review yet!

If you’re still reading, you’ve read these books already or you don’t care about spoilers (tbh that’s totally me on some books lol)

Anywho, we pick back up with Jessa right after she has been officially engaged to Lucas. Lucas sold out the Resistance’s invading force in order to get his father to sanction his marriage to Jessa. We also get a lot more Lucas and Sasha point of view I felt like, but they were there in the last book too so maybe that’s just me.

Sasha and the girls’ father are in holding being interrogated about the Resistance. I like how the girls were played against each other, Sasha refusing to give in and Jessa, being more emotional, doing whatever she can to protect her family.

There is a lot of freedom with Lucas in this book though, he uses his mystical white magic quite a bit and only encounters any problems right at the end of the book. I feel like it was almost a little coincidental, but maybe that’s setting things up for the last book.

I did like how we got to see Jessa’s anger against Lucas really make a mark. I wasn’t sure for a while if they were actually going back together. But, towards the end of the book she actually agrees to give him a chance at friendship again, and then maybe more later. Of course, this is right before everything goes to hell.

Sasha, on the other hand, strikes me as almost that stereotypical young boy excited to go off to war. She has some redeeming points (no one else in her area can do what she does, and the people fighting against the crown need her), but she also glamorizes things I think. She’s definitely up for a push off her high horse.

I really want to read more of the series, I’m exciting to see where all the threads tie together in the end 🙂

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:


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Review Rendezvous: 9/28/19


Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, contemporary, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 385
Publish date: May 30th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.


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I’m going to start off with saying I LOVED THIS BOOK, so this is going to be a highly biased review. I literally bought it a week after I read it from the library so I could have the actual book for myself and support Zappia. I can’t tell you the last time I bought an actual, full-price book, as the rest of my library comes mostly from Goodwill or Half Price Books.

That being said, if you’re from fandom, you will also highly enjoy this book. I love the depiction of Eliza and her involvement in fandom and with online friends. Many people my age and younger grew up harped on about the notion of online friendship being dangerous. There is something to say about being safe with who you trust online, but certainly people have made great friendships (myself included) that started without seeing someone else in person.

I don’t normally read contemporary, but I couldn’t put this book down. It also has little illustrations of Eliza’s art inside, which was a perfect addition. This book explores the themes of mental health in a realistic way. I have never personally faced the things that Eliza wrestles with, so I can’t say whether or not it’s done accurately, but it seemed so from my outside point of view.

The one thing that I didn’t end up liking about it was how the love interest, Wallace, reacted at about the 75% mark after Eliza’s secret is revealed. He was super entitled and it made me automatically dislike him. He did try to repair things by the end though, so at least there’s that. I did love the rest of the book too much to knock off a star for that, though.

This is the perfect feel-good book you want to read on a sunny afternoon, and I highly recommend it. I’m not sure if Zappia has anything else in the pipeline, but I will be more than happy to check those out if she does!

Rating:


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Review Rendezvous: 7/13/19


The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, contemporary, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 320
Publish date: August 13th, 2019
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

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Moving halfway across the country to Colorado right before senior year isn’t Maya’s idea of a good time. Leaving behind Pratt School for the Deaf where she’s been a student for years only to attend a hearing school is even worse. Maya has dreams of breaking into the medical field and is determined to get the grades and a college degree to match, and she’s never considered being Deaf a disability. But her teachers and classmates at Engelmann High don’t seem to share her optimism.

And then there’s Beau Watson, Engelmann’s student body president and overachiever. Maya suspects Beau’s got a hidden agenda when he starts learning ASL to converse with her, but she also can’t deny it’s nice to sign with someone amongst all the lip reading she has to do with her hearing teachers and classmates. Maya has always been told that Deaf/hearing relationships never work, and yet she can’t help but be drawn to Beau as they spend more and more time together.

But as much Maya and Beau genuinely start to feel for one another, there are unmistakable differences in their worlds. When Maya passes up a chance to receive a cochlear implant, Beau doesn’t understand why Maya wouldn’t want to hear again. Maya is hurt Beau would want her to be anything but who she is—she’s always been proud to be Deaf, something Beau won’t ever be able to understand. Maya has to figure out whether bridging that gap between the Deaf and hearing worlds will be worth it, or if staying true to herself matters more.


My first impression of this book is that I highly enjoyed it. It’s not often you get to see disabilities and chronic illness depicted in young adult fiction, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to read this book. Plus there is the fact that this could be considered an Own Voices novel, as the author is hearing impaired herself.

Some people may see Maya’s attitude as off-putting, especially with how short she is with other people when she first gets to her new school. But as a person coming from the other side of the equation, I can completely understand why Maya is characterized as “difficult” or sometimes even a bit short-tempered. There is only so many times you can handle people babying you because they think you can’t do something, or if someone acts without taking the shortest second to consider your feelings as the disabled person, before you kinda just snap at people instead of being “nice”.

I can’t say that I liked the character of Maya’s mom, who seemed kind of irresponsible in how she was treating her kids. She moved them without seeming to think about her son’s condition, and then left them alone for a business trip? Caring for someone with a chronic illness, especially a child, is not something a seventeen-year-old – deaf or not – can handle by herself.

Overall, a very good book, one that I highly recommend you read for a glimpse into a different type of life.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:


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Review Rendezvous: 5/11/19


Final Girls by Riley Sager
Book stats:
Genre(s): Thriller, mystery, horror
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 342
Publish date: July 11th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

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Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. 

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.


Murder, lies, betrayal. Quite the recipe for disaster. And yet, Quincy Carpenter made it through. Of course, she doesn’t remember anything that happened, but that’s probably a good thing. In the time since her horrific incident, Quincy has made herself a new life and refuses to acknowledge that she is a ‘final girl’ as the media has dubbed her.

On the outside, everything looks good. She’s got a mildly successful baking blog, she’s living with her boyfriend (the one she expects to be upgraded to fiancé at any time), and she’s moved on with life. Of course, when you’re the victim of a mass murder event, life is never going to be that easy for you.

I love slowly peeling back the layers of Quinn. She’s got quite the complex character, which is key for authors to achieve. There’s also quite a few misdirects and red herrings, and this book was a wild ride from beginning to end. You also get snippets of Quinn’s memories from that night, and it all culminates in one vicious night when the memories finally return and everything is out in the daylight.

There’s so much good realization and character arc in here, not to mention plot twists everywhere. I highly recommend this book, if you haven’t read it already!

Rating:


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Review Rendezvous: 3/2/19


My Real Name is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, historical fiction
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 208
Publish date: September 15th, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

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Hanna Slivka is on the cusp of fourteen when Hitler’s army crosses the border into Soviet-occupied Ukraine. Soon, the Gestapo closes in, determined to make the shtetele she lives in “free of Jews.” Until the German occupation, Hanna spent her time exploring Kwasova with her younger siblings, admiring the drawings of the handsome Leon Stadnick, and helping her neighbor dye decorative pysanky eggs. But now she, Leon, and their families are forced to flee and hide in the forest outside their shtetele—and then in the dark caves beneath the rolling meadows, rumored to harbor evil spirits. Underground, they battle sickness and starvation, while the hunt continues above. When Hanna’s father disappears, suddenly it’s up to Hanna to find him—and to find a way to keep the rest of her family, and friends, alive.


This one is tough, mostly because of the topic. I’m not one to read difficult books usually, but showing the minutiae of such horrific events through prose is an important part of keeping history alive, so I applaud Masih in this instance.

Masih brings the story of Hanna to life in such a vibrant and lifelike way. Hanna’s family must flee their home when Hitler’s forces overrun their Ukranian town. I don’t know much about Eastern Europe, so seeing the habits and customs represented in this book was also beautiful.

The depictions of family love and relationships with those outside of the runaway Jews is also beautiful. There is realism and connection evident in each interaction, and it’s one of the reasons that I quite enjoyed reading this.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:


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