Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.
We love getting new books and seriously can't wait to dive into them.
How about you? What new books did you get?

City of Ghosts Snow in Love The Simple Wild Blind KissFight or Flight A Very Large Expanse of Sea  Consumed (Firefighters, #1)
The Light We Lost The Great Alone Cracked Kingdom (The Royals, #5) 
Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (Almost) Everything Wrong In This Moment (The Baxter Family, #2) Baby Teeth Always Never Yours

Book Review: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

The Cheerleaders
Title: The Cheerleaders
Author: Kara Thomas
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Pages: 384
Format: ARC Paperback
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Suspense Thriller/Mystery

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook. First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost. That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all. There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.
I read somewhere that Kara Thomas loves for her readers to feel that her books are all kinds of messed the best way possible. And man, that's how I felt as I finished this book. My heart was pounding, it was that intense.

Now for some trigger warnings! This book has them - ALL of them, so if you can't handle (sexual) assault, gore, murder, etc., then I highly advise to stay away from this one. That's as much detail as I can give without spoilers.

Monica Rayburn lives in a town that has seen its fair share of tragedy. Five years ago, five young cheerleaders died in different ways - one of them being her sister. After that, Sunnybrook High School did away with cheerleading. Since they are coming up on the anniversary of their death, Monica is asked to help with the memorial to honor the memory of the girls. But Monica isn't really interested because, at the start of the story, she's distracted, in a major and complicated way. And as soon as she learns a bit of information which sheds a different light on her sister's death, Monica is on the hunt to find out what really happened all those years ago and to bridge the link between the deaths.

I must admit, Monica is not a likable character but despite that, I empathized with her. She's flawed and she's faced tragedy at a young age which has taken its toll on her and her family. And her family isn't that great either. As a matter of fact and as the synopsis suggests, you absolutely cannot trust anyone you meet on the page (except for maybe her 10-year-old brother, but even then). What I really liked were chapters told from the point of view of her sister, which helped inform the story and points out the missing details people can miss when you only have witness accounts and crime scenes. 

And maybe it's because I don't read in this genre too often, but I thought the twists and turns were well thought out and I couldn't guess what the real story was until the last page. This is my first Kara Thomas novel and I can't wait to dig into her other stories. It was fun as much as it was anxiety-inducing - kind of how roller coasters make you feel.

One more thing: this would make such a great movie, to be watched sometime during the fall season. The story is told during the month of October, there's tons of suspense and mystery, and even the town of Sunnybrook elicits Buffy the Vampire-type feels. The setting/time plays a role as major as the plot. Super creepy and what I love to read during the summer when it's absolutely sunny and scorching outside. I highly recommend!

As always, happy reading. 

Book Review: The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando

The Opposite of Here
Title: The Opposite of Here
Author: Tara Altebrando
Release Date: June 5th, 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Pages: 256
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

There's no hiding on a cruise ship - not even from yourself.

Natalie's parents are taking her and her three best friends on a cruise for her seventeenth birthday. A sail-a-bration, they call it. But it's only been a few short months since Natalie's boyfriend died in a tragic accident, and she wants to be anywhere but here.

Then she meets a guy on the first night and sparks fly. After a moonlit conversation on a secluded deck of the ship, Natalie pops down to her cabin to get her swimsuit so they can go for a dip. But when she returns, he's gone. Something he said makes her think he might have . . . jumped? No, he couldn't have.

But why do her friends think she's crazy for wanting to make sure he's okay? Also, why do they seem to be hiding something from her? And how can she find him when she doesn't even know his name? Most importantly, why is the captain on the intercom announcing the urgent need for a headcount?

I've found myself picking up more thriller/mysteries in the summer time, so when I read the synopsis (which sounds so unique to me!) I immediately put in a request for this one at my library. This was such a good weekend read, it's short and I found it hard to put down since I really wanted to know what was going on. 

I flew through this book because of the plot. I never want to say too much because I find thrillers are more fun when you know little and just dive in and take it page by page. This was really well done in that way. I feel like there was a subplot with the way that Natalie would talk about her past and this area felt to me like it was underdeveloped. Though I do see how it played into the story, I wanted to hear more about it. 

The plot always had me guessing. I didn't know where things were going to go and there were some surprises along the way. It wasn't predictable, but it didn't really seem feasible in some ways. Rather, it felt sort-of over-the-top in parts. It's hard to explain without delving into the plot but I want to emphasis that nothing about this book made me want to stop reading, the drive to find out what happens next was most important. The story was completely unique to me and as a reader of mystery/thrillers, I always appreciate a unique plot. 

This was a good one to read in the summer and especially by the water. It was quick, it was unique and it was one that made me want to just keep reading. If you like mystery/thrillers and this plot sounds intriguing to you, give this one a shot!

Happy Reading from me to you!

Waiting on Wednesday: Star-Touched Stories (The Star-Touched Queen #2.5) by Roshani Chokshi

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.
This week pick is:

 Star-Touched Stories (The Star-Touched Queen, #2.5)

Star-Touched Stories

Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Expected Release: August 7th 2018

Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram's new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?

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