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Hands Up by Stephen Clark – Spotlight

About the Book

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.

About the Author – Stephen Clark

Stephen Clark is a former award-winning journalist who served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and as a politics editor for the Washington, D.C. bureau of FoxNews.com. As a reporter for the Utica Observer-Dispatch, he won a New York Newspaper Publishers Association Award of Distinguished Community Service for his investigation into the financial struggles of nonprofit services. He also won a Society of Professional Journalists Award for Investigative Reporting at the Stamford Advocate for his series exposing an elderly grifter’s charity organization. Stephen grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now lives in North Jersey with his wife and son. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Arcadia University and a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

Buy the Book

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Wido Publishing

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Another Day by David Levithan – Review

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Title: Another Day
Author: David Levithan
Series: Every Day #2
Release date: August 25th, 2015
Rating: 5/5

**SPOILERS Y’ALL**

It has been a hot minute since I read a book that I genuinely thought I should write a review about, so here we go.

As a refresh of book one, Every Day is told from the perspective of A. A wakes up every morning in the body of a different person.  It’s all they have ever known. Then, Rhiannon comes along. And for all of my Fleetwood Mac lovers out there, you know it changes everything.

Book two is Every Day but from Rhiannon’s perspective. Now, it has been a good long while since I read the first book, but 4 pages in I was already caught up and hooked.

Let’s just take a second to put yourself in A’s shoes. A new body, new life? Sure, why not? Then you start to realize “Well then who do I talk to every day? My family? My friends?” This is exactly why my heart twists for poor A and Rhiannon just doesn’t make it any better.

Right away, we are thrown into her relationship with her boyfriend, Justin, and he is just…so unlikable. It’s one of those moments where you wish you could reach through the pages and grab Rhiannon by the shoulders, shaking her, and yelling “You cannot fix this!” Professionally, I don’t think it is technically considered domestic abuse, but it’s clear that she’s grasping at straws to be with him.

The concept of a person like A is my favourite aspect of this series. The part that keeps echoing in my mind is when A finally tells Rhiannon that he jumps from body to body every day and she asked: “Are you a boy or a girl?” And A just kind of frowns: “I don’t see myself as either.” Don’t mind my completely paraphrased quotes, but it’s such a forward way of thinking that, as a reader, also causes me to think about how I would respond in that situation. A new body every day means different genders, different nationalities, different races, different body types, and poor A, who seriously deserves a break at this point, just can’t seem to grasp why it matters to her what the body looks like when it’s just A on the inside. That is heavy and poetic.

But it does matter, doesn’t it? We all just see the outer surface, never looking past the shell and looking at the person on the inside. Be careful, a book like this might actually make you a better person! And seeing Rhiannon’s preferences actually have an effect on A and how he/she feels about the body he/she is in is earth-shattering.

The ending is where this all gets a little iffy. Rhiannon can’t be with A, because it’s too complicated (too cliche?) and because she can’t connect with some of the bodies A has (wears?). And A is such a delicate being that needs to be guarded and protected, because no matter how heartbroken and torn down he/she feels about their “breakup”, he/she goes completely out of their way to find a guy he/she finds suitable for Rhiannon.

This book is just so good. Seriously, it left me thinking so much and I have no one to talk to about it. Someone, please talk to me about it.

Another Day is all about being better/caring more about yourself and accepting those around you for who they are. In reality, personality is all that should really matter to ANY of us! And it is all about breaking free from those people that are holding you back from being the best you you can be.

*casually adds book to Goodreads “favourite” shelf*

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The Rose Society by Marie Lu – Review

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Title: The Rose Society
Series: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Rating: 5/5

Okay, to sum it up, I’m very dissatisfied with the steps that were taken throughout the novel. Beware of spoilers, because I have a lot to say about this.

I do not like what happened to Enzo. I can understand that it was for plot and character development. As well as the whole “telling from the perspective of the villain” idea. I get it, really. But I shipped Adelina and Enzo sooooo hard and, regardless of the things that happened in this novel, I still freaking do. Magiano is great. He has a good vibe and I think he has great chemistry with Adelina that I would love to see more of in the next book.

I just don’t understand why Adelina can’t just explain what happened. Why can’t she get the Daggers together and calmly explain to them and Enzo what exactly happened when he died. Maybe then they could work together again. Or perhaps I misread entirely and no one was willing to hear her out, but me thinks it’s more because she craves the power to herself. Either way, I find it upsetting.

It probably seems like I’m just spewing a bunch of hate, but while I don’t agree with the course of things, I can’t deny that this was still an amazingly written book. The ending especially is what finally convinced me that this was a five star book. No matter how much I hate Violetta, I can’t turn away the fact that she does have a point about what’s happening with the Elites and while my fondness of Raffaelle has turned rotten and sour, it won’t blind me to the fact that he has discovered a genuine problem. I can’t wait to see how Lu decides to execute this in the last book.

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – Review

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Maybe 4.5

Great way to start off the year! Beginning was a little slow, but amazing once it picked up!

Okay, after further reflection, I decided I should go a little more in depth about the first book I read for 2017.

I absolutely, positively, with out a single doubt in my mind, hated Helene with a burning passion to the point where I can’t even explain why without it sounding fake. She tries…way to hard to be tough. And I get it, she is, and in a world full of boys that aren’t necessarily trained with boundaries and respect for women, she is forced into taking on a tougher persona even more than she would have. Yet, from the minute we met her I just knew she was a bad seed. And the way she interacted with Elias was just not okay with me and my disinterest in her and her life just went all the way through the ending and will probably carry into the next book.

Elias. Dear, poor soul. I did get a little tired of his ‘taking the high road’ personality where he looked down on basically everyone, but I got over it. He and Laia…I love it. I’m not blind though, I see the instalove, I can’t ignore it, it’s there, but it doesn’t change the fact that I love them so much. I’m excited to see them in the next book without Helene there to interfere with my little mental image of the happy ending (Is that even a thing?).

Laia.
Honestly, not that sure what to say about her. Well, if I had one thing to tell her I would say “Your mother doesn’t seem that great.” Am I the only one that thought that? Based on what I know about her, she seems to have had a god complex, while her father was the real caring, smart one. Laia must take after him a lot, but her courage is probably from her mother’s side. To a degree, I would compare Laia’s mother to the Commandant. But enough about the mother. I like Laia. She’s tough and on more than one occasion I was genuinely scared for her, but dang she can be stupid. For reasons that I won’t bring up because I don’t want to spoil, but if you read it, you know what I mean.

Overall, it was a great book. Truly. Quite excited to read more.

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Just a Few Inches by Tara St. Pierre – Review

Title: Just a Few Inches
Author: Tara St. Pierre
Format: Paperback
Pages: 306
Rating: 4.5/5

25636813To see my interview with Tara St. Pierre, go here!

I received a review copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my review.

Carrie Roberts is your normal teenage girl that has something completely abnormal happen to her. She’s shrinking…in height. After taking some weight loss pills to fit into a dress for the school formal, Carrie loses a little more than ‘just a few inches’. Soon, Carrie finds herself shrinking almost an inch every day. The problem? She doesn’t know how to stop it. The doctors don’t know how to stop it. And even if they stop it, they don’t know if they can reverse it. And every one starts asking the question. What if Carrie never stops shrinking?

This book was spectacular. In the beginning, I found it a little slow going. I didn’t particularly like Todd and I found the small interactions between Carrie and her friends tedious at times. As for her feeling the need to lose the extra weight, that just made me mad. She’s a cheerleader and is obviously popular at school with friends that care about her and her boyfriend is practically a star in the eyes of the school, yet, basically out of spite, she buys a dress she knows won’t fit her, just to prove a point?! Ugh. I can understand wanting to aggravate your mortal enemy, if even a little, but ladies, please don’t do harm to your bodies to prove a point, you are worth more than that and you all look beautiful.

Carrie doesn’t notice that she’s shrinking right away, until she notices that she’s looking up at a friend she’s usually level with and level with a friend she’s used to looking down at. If you’re like me, then you’re already barely five foot tall and wouldn’t notice losing another inch or two (but what I wouldn’t give to have an extra three inches, eh?), but for a 5′ 8” Carrie, this is a drastic change. Carrie’s shrinking puts into perspective of who her true friends are and who she really wants in her live. Once things get more serious, you start to wonder if Carrie will ever stop shrinking…but I’ll leave it to the reader to figure that one out.

There’s this one part near the end of the book that really showed the real danger that Carrie got herself in. Being about the size of a doll and a little sister with little friends that don’t believe in people Carrie’s size…you can understand how quickly things can go wrong there. My heart started pounding and I was flipping the pages so fast I thought I might rip a page. This ending is amazing and, while it scared the crap out of me, was probably my favourite part. Certainly a must read for someone looking for a fun, quick read.

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With Malice by Eileen Cook (ARC) – Review

Title: With Malice
Author: Eileen Cook
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Pages: 320
Rating 5/5

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**I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

When Jill Charron wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of the past six weeks, her life is in ruins. The accident that put her in the hospital also killed her best friend, Simone. The worst part? Jill was the one driving and everyone seems to think that the accident wasn’t really an accident. Soon, Jill finds herself facing reporters and the harsh people on the internet that all seem to have one thing in common. Everyone thinks that Jill killed Simone. If only Jill knew what really happened. Was Simone’s death really an accident?

First thought after finishing With Malice? “Oh. My. Gosh.”

Pulling you in from page one, With Malice shows not only the struggles of Jill and how she has to deal with foreign police, her own injuries, and a blog that’s basically dedicated to trying to prove her guilty, but also the side of crime that I think many books leave out. About half of the book is dedicated to the reports given by the police, friends of Jill and Simone, random locals that witnesses the accident, and people they met along the way while in Italy. Giving these point of views really helps bring out how words and events can be twisted around. From people wanting the spotlight to honest misreading of the scenario, With Malice has it all.

Let’s talk characters.

Victim or not, I didn’t like Simone from the start. She seemed like the kind of person to trip someone in the hallway just so she could have a laugh or the kind of person to get someone else in trouble for something she did, because it would suit her better to play innocent all the time. Her character just sat wrong with me from cover to cover and I stick to that.

I felt bad for Jill, but I almost felt bad for feeling bad. Dealing with memory loss has to be awful, but when put in a situation where everyone’s asking “What happened?!” it certainly has to be worse. Especially since everyone thinks she was the one to blame for the accident, most people probably thought she was pulling the memory loss card just so she doesn’t have to tell her side. I think that’s awful. But with the lingering “Was is really an accident?” question floating around, I didn’t want to feel bad for her just in case she was to blame.

Nico. I didn’t trust him. No good looking foreign smart guy has good motives. Not to mention he’s obviously a flirt. And the very thought of committing murder-suicide for the likes of him (or any guy in general) should be unthinkable, but in this day and age, there’s just no way to know for sure.

I picked up With Malice with the promise of a fast paced, electrifying story that I wouldn’t be able to put down and I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. Cook knows exactly what the reader wants, mixing in mystery, violence, friendship, and romance in a way that’s just right for the story. With Malice keeps you guessing from the very start, causing you to try and make connections with outlandish theories and assumptions that keep you hooked from start to finish and leave you wanting more.

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I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (ARC) – Review

Title: I Let You Go
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Pages: 369
Rating: 4/5

26026062Goodreads Excerpt:
I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past. At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.

There’s not a lot I can say about I Let You Go without giving away half of the plot. What I can say is that this is the first suspense/thriller book I’ve read that actually gave me that thrilling feeling, like the plot kept building and building until I finished the book. At first I thought this would be a standard mystery book. The whole “Who Did It?” kind of thing where you take the pieces and put them together within the first one hundred pages. However, around the 100 mark, I realized just how wrong I was. I Let You Go is a terribly heartbreaking novel that fixates on loss and pain, but in a way that constantly throws your guesses in the wrong direction. This book shows more than one side of the story, breaking it up into three major viewpoints. The viewpoint of Jenna (the main character), the police force, and closer to the middle of the book a special someone that I can’t talk about without spoiling. I Let You Go is the perfect tragedy novel with a little something that sucks everyone in at some point. The constant twists and turns keep you guessing and once the story picks up, it’s hard to put it down.