Review Rendezvous: 10/21/17

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, contemporary, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 285
Publish date: January 5th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

This is Where it Ends10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

This week we have another book with pretty heavy subject matter. I’m going to preface this by saying I mean no harm to those who have been affected by such violence. I know this is very sensitive and I’m trying my hardest not to overstep my bounds.

I found this book through Booktube yet again, and I must say it was quite the compelling tale. There are a few holes, but I’ll get back into that later. Nijkamp manages to stretch out the entire time of the shooting by head hopping between characters. I can’t say I’m entirely a fan of that move, but in this situation it works so that you can see the many sides of the situation.

The main drawback that I had with this book is that it does not go into the shooter’s motivation. He kinda comes off as the “I’m bad because I’m bad” type of villain. one-dimensional villains like that don’t lend themselves well to novels, and in this setting, it’s fairly insulting. The motivation of a school shooter is not something to be taken lightly, and to demean the situation by not offering more of an explanation is a bit harsh.

I did finish this book quite quickly, as it grips you from the second you open the cover. I do applaud Nijkamp for being able to write about the topic, because certainly authors (myself included) would shy away from the challenge. I would suggest it as a good read, not the best but still very good in my opinion.


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Blog Tour: The Midnight Dance

Today I’m taking a bit of a detour from my usual every-Saturday book review to bring you a review on this lovely piece of literature! It just dropped yesterday, so pop on over to one of the retailers listed below and snap it up! You can also enter a giveaway for a free print copy of the book here!

The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 320
Publish date: October 17th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository – Barnes & NobleiBooksKobo

Midnight DanceSeventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

Dancing, private schools, unreliable narrators, I love it all! Plus that cover is gor-ge-ous! We open on the normal school day for Penny, but then a sense of unease and discomfort slowly sets it. In all honesty, I did get sidetracked from the book because my life experience a crazy two weeks, but if I had hunkered down I would’ve read this cover-to-cover in about 2.5 seconds. As it were I was almost late to work because I needed to finish it ;).

There’s something not quite right about this school, and I loved how the piece slowly unraveled rather than all at once. And Penny grows from a submissive schoolgirl into someone with her own thoughts and voice, which is a very important step for her. We also get flashbacks that set up how the school came to be and give us information on the mysterious “Master”.

I highly enjoyed this one, and would certainly recommend that you read it. There’s a ton going on in the book but it never gets too bad or overwhelming. It’s also interesting because there’s the juxtaposition of a historical setting and newer technology and science. Although to be honest, you don’t get too much historical detail, and the only reason that I really noticed it as past was the constant reminder of what year it was at the beginning of the chapters. Of course, this was to denote flashback and current day, so it’s not all that bad.

I was provided this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


If you liked this book, check these ones out:


When her sister is found murdered, Rose must uncover the truth of that night, even if the truth is not exactly what it seems


Private school + supernatural = lots of crazy stunts, death threats, and maybe even some romance

Six Months Later

One day she’s an average high schooler. The next she’s on track to be valedictorian. But something is missing…











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Blog Tour: Sublime Karma

As part of a blog tour, I have an additional review to bring you this week! If you’re interested in reading it, the ebook is also currently free on Kindle Unlimited! I also have the link to a giveaway below!

Sublime Karma by Peyton Garver
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, romance, mental health
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 277
Publish date: May 28th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository – Barnes & Noble

SUBLIME KARMA HIgh ResWhen Brie’s stepfather moves the family for what he calls a new beginning, it’s not the new beginning the beautiful, yet guarded, senior would have hoped for. Brie is instantly targeted by jealous girls at her new school, and the only available seat on her bus is next to the school’s star wide receiver, Jake, who for some reason, finds her offensive. After a humiliating article and picture of Brie is posted in the online school journal, a demon she thought she’d overcome resurfaces, and her life unravels. A newly compassionate Jake has finally taken an interest in her, but can Brie learn to trust her heart, or will she miss out on the best thing that ever happened to her?
Jake has his own secrets and has built his own walls, but eventually his curiosity about the new girl gets the best of him. Unfortunately, now there is competition: the captain of her cross-country team. Jake’s romantic histories with the girl next door and the school’s queen bee, adds tension to a simmering tempest when all he wants is Brie. Is he strong enough to help the one he loves weave sense into her crumbling new reality while overcoming his own tainted past?

I honestly haven’t read a book set in normal high school for a while. It was kind of refreshing to read something without some fantastical elements in it.

The story that we’re presented with is new girl Brie coming onto the scene when her family moves. It’s supposed to be a clean slate for the whole family, but Brie quickly draws the ire of basically every girl in school. This turns out to have harrowing consequences, as anyone who’s ever seen or heard of high school bullying can tell you.

I applaud Garvey for taking on the theme of bullying and giving it life once again. Yes, I’ve read similar stories before, but at least in this particular book she doesn’t get overdramatic or push things and make them entirely unrealistic. The book itself also pulls you in and hooks you, assuming you make it past the very girly cover. I sat and read this all in one sitting and quite enjoyed the tale.

Honestly, the only reason that I didn’t give this book more stars is that I’m not super into the whole love triangle plot that a lot of teen books have. I’d much rather see a relationship fully develop without the ‘competition’ incentive of another guy trying to get in-between the girl and her love interest.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.


The bus snaked its way through the country roads and then to the lavish development that backed up to the woods behind his house. Upperclassmen from this neighborhood had their own cars. This bus collected the underclassmen: those few who weren’t chauffeured, as minions of the privileged.

Jake leaned back in his seat and folded his arms across his chest, not looking at the kids coming down the aisle. None dared to ask if they could sit in the empty space next to him. They’d sit three to a seat rather than make that request. Just the way he wanted it.

The over-filled bus pulled to a stop midway down Belmont Circle. New stop? Jake looked out his window at the estate with a circular drive. Huh. It finally sold. He watched as a single figure headed toward the bus. What, so now they get door-to-door service? He rolled his eyes.

Seconds later, she stood in the aisle waiting. From his seat, his eyes skimmed up passed her faded jeans and plain, loose sweater, and his breath caught in his throat. Her long blond hair was pulled to the side in a loose braid. Her face? Ethereal. But then, his flustered gaze became an annoyed glare.

Her bleak gray eyes seemed to look right through him before they darted to the space next to him. Did she even register his indignation? She must have. Yet, she stood there in the aisle twisting the loose adjustment strap on her backpack tightly around her fingers.

“May I sit here?” her meek voice broke the silence that had fallen around them.

Noticing the hush of conversation, Jake’s eyes skimmed the crowded bus. There was no doubt he and this new girl had an audience. Not something he relished.

His eyes swept back to her. He could tell she was nervous. He heard it in her quavering voice and saw it in the way she avoided his eyes. He could just say no. But so long as she was standing, the bus wouldn’t budge.

PeytonAbout the Author:
As a child, Peyton called places like Livorno, Italy; Orléans, France; and Augsburg, Germany home. She has since settled in Maryland, where she earned her degree in education at Towson State University, married her sweetheart of two years, and became an instant mother to three spirited young boys before adding another son to the brood. And, with their yellow lab George, it’s no stretch to say she’s outnumbered.

When not writing, Peyton is a full time teacher. Inspired by the individual spirits, heartaches, and triumphs of her students, Peyton has developed characters who resemble real world teens dealing with real issues: relationships, jealousy, bullying, and depression. Her newest novel, Sublime Karma, is a contemporary story filled with emotion, depth, wit, and suspense. Sublime Karma was published in the fall of 2016 by Soulmate Publishing.

When asked if she actually involves her students in her stories, Peyton answered that her stories are completely fictional, but then admitted to an activity in which she does involve them. “One quirky, fun thing I like to do with students who have read my book is develop a dream cast for my characters. That all started when a group of girls were arguing over which actor they thought best fit the character Four in Veronica Roth’s novel Divergent. They then turned their efforts to my manuscript.  I’ve since added those dream casts to my website.”

When she’s not teaching or writing, Peyton enjoys traveling. The Caribbean Islands have become a favorite vacation getaway for Peyton and her husband. “Nothing is better than sitting on a beach, in front of the crystal clear sea, enveloped in the warmth of the tropical sun with a frosty piña colada and a good book that I just can’t put down.”

Giveaway Details:
One (1) winner will receive TWO signed copies of Sublime Karma, one for them and one for the high school of the winner’s choice to be dedicated in their name. You will also recieve $10 Amazon Gift Card, US Only.

A Rafflecopter giveaway


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Review Rendezvous: 10/7/17

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, romance, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 356
Publish date: November 1st, 2011
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

Future of UsIt’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long—at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right—and wrong—in the present.

I read this one a bit ago, but it was interesting enough to stick with me and get a read-over. It poses the question “What would you do if you could see your future?”. Sure, everyone jokes about superpowers and how it would be nice to know, but if you think about it, seeing the future comes with complications.

At first Emma thinks this website is a joke, and though I can’t remember how, she accepts that it’s actually the future. She makes some quips asking why she’d be so open about something like going to the psychologist, which makes you think about the fact that we do overshare quite a bit now, and it has become very commonplace.

It doesn’t take long for Emma to start trying to change the future. She goes after a new boy, changes her situation, and makes friends with the sole purpose of seeing how her future ends up. Josh, on the other hand, doesn’t think this is quite a good idea, and I’d be inclined to agree with him. They eventually get into quite the fight, and Emma begins depending on the information far too much.

Overall, the themes on the dangers of technology and knowledge of the future really stuck out to me. Eventually Emma learns her lesson and lets things be, which shows some good character growth on her. I did enjoy the book, enough to read it twice, so I would certainly suggest it to others 🙂


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Review Rendezvous: 9/16/17

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, dystopia, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 338
Publish date: November 15th, 2011
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

ShatterJuliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

I read the first book of this series a bit ago, but I just went back to re-read it because I wanted to get into the rest of the series. There are so many questions and plot lines to explore that start in this book, I can’t wait to explore them all. But, that’s beside the point.

In the debut novel of this series, we meet Juliette. For some reason, she hurts and even kills people with her touch. She accidentally caused the death of a young boy, which is how she got locked up under the ‘care’ of the Reestablishment, which is the government that has now taken over the world. Juliette doesn’t know much of the outside world, since it’s been several months she has been in captivity and is slowly losing her mind.

I did like that Mafi explored the effects of solitude on Juliette’s character. I’ve seen protagonists bounce back from terrible conditions and imprisonment too fast, so it was nice to see a more realistic portrayal.

The inciting moment when Juliette’s situation changes is when she ends up getting a roommate. At first she doesn’t like this person, but then she begins to open up and get to know him a bit. That is, until she realizes that he was sent there as a test for her and the commander really wants to use her as a weapon. Of course, Juliette was scarred by hurting the little boy, so she downright refuses. And that’s when things get ugly.

There is so much potential in this character and her story, so I’m excited to see where Mafi takes it. I’ll definitely be picking up the rest of the series, and I’m looking forward to seeing if it gets a spot on my favorite books list 🙂


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