Sadie by Courtney Summers

Look. I’m about to suggest a book to all of you lovely people out there and it’s going to make you angry. It’s going to make you so incredibly sad. But it’s also going to keep you reading ferociously until the very last word.

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Title: Sadie {311 pages}

Genre: Young Adult

Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Summary:

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. 

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Review:

I love podcasts. My love for them began as a want to love audiobooks, but I just couldn’t do it. I don’t know what it is, but audiobooks can’t keep my attention. But podcasts. Oh man, those things can keep me going for hours. Sadie combines my two biggest loves – books and podcasts – into one sad, fascinating novel.

On one side of the story, we have Sadie Hunter, a nineteen-year-old girl who has left home after the death of her sister, thirteen-year-old Mattie. Sadie knows more about her sister’s murder than she’s told anyone, and she’s not about to let the Cold Creek police – if they even have any – take over. Her story takes us across the United States, from small towns to larger suburbans, in a quest to find the person responsible for her sister’s murder. Sadie Hunter is on the road to revenge, and she won’t stop until she gets exactly what she wants.

On the other side is West McCray, a host at a radio station who decides to report on Sadie’s story after Sadie’s surrogate grandmother begs him to hear her out. From May Beth’s words, West creates the podcast The Girls, part Sadie’s story and part his own, but he doesn’t know that yet.

The first book of Courtney Summers’s that I read was All the Rage. I won it from Goodreads and was like, what the heck, let’s give it a try. It ended up ruining me for a good month. I then devoured all of her other books, and those ruined me pretty good, too. Sadie is no different. The kind of writing that comes from Courtney Summers is ridiculous, because I’m falling in love with this tiny hamlet of people through a podcast, and I’m wanting to physically reach through the book to get Sadie out of danger. Summers just makes me care so damn much to the point where I’m like, you know what, this hurts too much to read, let’s put it down. But I don’t. I read Sadie in a day. I refused to put it down until I found out what happened to Sadie.

If you’ve read any other Courtney Summers books, then you’ll know exactly why I waited so long after the ending to write this.

I don’t even know how to handle my love for this book. I got a copy from NetGalley, and the moment I finished reading it, I preordered a copy. I read that one, too, just because I wanted to. Sure, some foolish part of me thought that maybe certain events were different in the finished copy, but it wasn’t too big of a part of me. Jut my whole heart.

I love Sadie, and even that feels incredibly inadequate to say. This book hit me deep in my soul, and I know this is the part where I tell you how hard I cried and all that, but I didn’t cry. Not once. Mainly because I was too frozen by what Sadie and Mattie went through, because it’s something that girls go through all the time. This book is fiction, but it’s also not. And that’s why I’m probably going to read it again, and that’s why I’m going to recommend it to everyone I come across, and that’s why I’m going to pass this book down my daughter if I ever have one.

We should talk more about Courtney Summers because she writes stories that are too important to keep silent.

So, go off, what are you waiting for? Buy Sadie, curl up with a blanket and an animal {real or stuffed, whichever}, and read. Read until you reach the end and then flip back to the first page and read it again.

Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller

All right, let’s start a week of too many book reviews. Like I said, I’ve read some really great books in my absence, and now they’re all building up inside of me and I’m ready to explode.

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Title: Ruin of Stars {416 pages}

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Summary:

The thrilling conclusion to the Mask of Shadows duology that weaves a tale of magic, shadows, and most importantly, revenge.

As one of the Queen’s elite assassins, Sal finally has the power, prestige, and permission to hunt down the lords who killed their family. But Sal still has to figure out who the culprits are. They must enlist the help of some old friends and enemies while ignoring a growing distaste for the queen and that the charming Elise is being held prisoner by her father.

But there’s something terribly wrong in the north. Talk of the return of shadows, missing children, and magic abounds. As Sal takes out the people responsible for their ruined homeland, Sal learns secrets and truths that can’t be forgotten.

Review:

So. No one told me that this was the final book in a duology. I WAS NOT READY.

Our scrappy Sal is back, and now that she’s the official Opal, she has all the resources necessary to exact her revenge on those who took her land and her family from her. She hunts them down until she finds a tangled web of lies and deceit. Her beloved Elise is being held captive by her father, one of Sal’s targets, and now Sal only has a few people that she can rely upon. Then Sal stumbles into something bigger than her, something that could have the power to ruin the entire world. Refusing to give up on her original plan, Sal takes the blows and tumbles that are dealt, and she becomes the hero that everyone needs.

Sounds epic, right? I don’t even do it justice here.

There is so much happening in this book. Sal is the Opal now, but she doesn’t waste time on courtly living or what it means to be the Queen’s Right Hand. She heads out right away to find the people who she promised to kill, and she brings dread and destruction wherever she goes. There is the little problem of missing children, as well as the fact that the kingdom does not take kindly to people like Sal: people who cannot be separated into one of two categories, ma’am or sir. Magic, that elusive beautiful thing that has been banned since the Queen has taken the throne, is suddenly back, or has it ever really left? Sal even comes across someone she has prayed to in another life.

Like I said, there’s a lot happening.

In trilogies, we have plenty of time to get to know characters and form a bond with them. It almost feels like one of those friendships that you curate through high school, the friend that turns into your best friend by the end of those four years. By the time the third book/movie rolls around, we feel like these characters are our friends, our family. In a duology, it’s the same deal, but the bonds that we form with the characters are made quicker, but they feel stronger. Imagine duology characters as the friends you make in college: it might have happened one drunken night, but you two are welded together for life. Even if we only get to know them within a few chapters, suddenly that one character is our new best friend. Which makes it even more devastating when that characters is yanked away from us.

No spoilers. That was just to prepare you.

If you came here today because you were wondering if Ruin of Stars is really worth it, let me be the one to tell you: it definitely is. This was the perfect ending to Sal’s story, and even though I was angry while reading the ending, I get it. Sal’s life could have gone no other way. Linsey Miller is now one of those authors that is on my immediate read list. She’s so good at weaving a story and keeping you in it until the very last word.

So definitely read both Mask of Shadows and Ruin of Stars. Just don’t start crying and then say I didn’t warn you.

I Do Not Trust You by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

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Oh, come on, you know I had to.

But it has been about a thousand years since the last time I posted. I’ve read so many great books since then and I’m trying to get them all up here. Give me this weekend and then you’ll be sick of me, I promise.

I’m back today for I Do Not Trust You, a world-travelling adventure story that combines mystery, fantasy, and a little bit of romance. My favorite cocktail.

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Title: I Do Not Trust You {320 pages}

Publication Date: September 11, 2018

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller/Adventure

Summary:

Memphis “M” Engle is stubborn to a fault, graced with an almost absurd knowledge of long lost languages and cultures, and a heck of an opponent in a fight. In short: she’s awesome.

Ashwin Sood is a little too posh for her tastes, a member of an ancient cult (which she’s pretty sure counts for more than one strike against him), and has just informed Memphis that her father who she thought was dead isn’t and needs her help. 

From the catacombs of Paris to lost temples in the sacred forests, together they crisscross the globe, searching for the pieces of the one thing that might save her father. But the closer they come to saving him—and the more they fall for one another—the closer they get to destroying the world.

Review:

Look, The Mummy used to be one of my absolute favorite movies because it was action and hot guys and sometimes some cheesy dialogue. Take out the cheesy dialogue and insert a girl who knows what she’s talking about, and you have I Do Not Trust You. When M’s father is revealed as being alive and being held hostage by crazed archaeologists – how Ash describes them to the first time, which I loved – her entire world is turned upside down. M and Ash must scramble around the world trying to find pieces of Set, the Egyptian god, before an evil cult finds them. This trek takes them from the United States to Egypt to Bali to Thailand to the deepest jungles of South America. M and Ash only have their wits – and M’s mysterious friend Mike – to guide them. Along the way, they learn that they must trust one another if they’re going to save the world.

Plus, maaaan, are M and Ash adorable together.

I love history. I love people digging up old things and then telling me about them, because it’s absolutely insane to me that our world is millions upon millions of years old and we can just stumble across bones of people who lived that long ago. The one thing that pushed me over the edge in this book was each and every time M explained anything about some old artifact. She’s so knowledgeable, and it was pretty refreshing to read about the girl being the know-it-all.

Since whatever book gods above apparently love me, I’m lucky enough to be able to share a sneak peak with each and every one of you. Yeah, I know, I’m awesome.

“You should’ve seen Miss Memphis here get into it with Nick last period,” Brianna said, squeezing in between M and Inez at their usual spot in the cafeteria. “She shut him down with her crazy ancient cultures voodoo.”

“He’s an ass. He’s lucky he’s hot,” their friend Ayana commented, waving her spork in Nick’s direction.

M shrugged. “I wouldn’t try to debate him in Physics. I just know more about Rome than he does.”

“What about AP Chem? Would you debate him in that?” Inez asked in a fake-serious voice. “Would you debate him in German class?”

“She’d debate him in German, in German,” Brianna joked. “And if he tried to fight back, she’d switch to Greek.”

M threw a French fry at her. “I can’t help it. I grew up speaking different languages.”

“And learning about pharaohs. And becoming well versed in the history of the Etruscan people,” Ayana said, putting on a fake accent that was probably supposed to be British. “Oh, and setting broken bones in the bush.”

“That only happened once,” M muttered. Her friends laughed.

“Anyway, it was epic. Thanks,” Brianna said. “I can’t stand fighting with people, and Nick always goes after me.”

“He knows you hate it,” M pointed out. “That’s why he does it.”

“An ass, like I said.” Ayana shrugged.

“You think he’s coming to the party tonight?” Brianna asked.

“Probably. Everyone else is,” Inez replied. “Even Memphis.” M made a face. “Anything to get out of the house. Bob and Liza would expect me to play board games with them otherwise.” Her friends exchanged a glance. M winced. “No offense.”

“Oh, were you offending someone?” Nick piped up from behind her. “Good girl.”

Immediately Bri looked down, while Ayana rolled her eyes. Inez just smirked, glancing back and forth between M and Nick.

“I was not offending anyone. I only meant I don’t like parties,” M said. She didn’t bother to turn toward him. It didn’t matter; he inserted himself onto the bench next to her anyway. A little tingle ran up her spine as the scent of his co- logne hit her nostrils, spicy and warm.

“Mmm, they’re boring. Everyone talking about the prom or the senior trip or whatever. I’m over it,” Nick said.

Me too, thought M, wishing she didn’t agree with him. She loved her friends, but even they were all about high school. M just didn’t care. High school was nothing more than what she had to get through before she could leave. After the crash, after the shock of Bob and Liza becoming her guardians, she’d asked if she could go off to college early, either Boston University or the University of Sheffield in England. Both had the kind of archaeology program she wanted and would’ve let her in with no questions. They knew her father. They knew high school was a waste of time for someone like her.

But her guardians said no. They said she needed stability and normalcy after losing her dad. Never mind that traveling the world and taking care of herself was normal for her. While she and Dad technically lived in Boston, she’d never spent more than a few months there during the school year. They traveled. Half the year spent on digs. She missed it.

“What’s with this thing, anyway? Is it to fight off bad guys?” Nick teased, finding an excuse to touch her. He reached for M’s collapsible bo staff, tucked in the inside pocket of her jacket like always. But before he touched it, be- fore his flirty smile registered in her mind, M had already grabbed his hand, twisted it back to the breaking point, and used the pain to push him off the cafeteria bench and onto the floor. With her other hand, she whipped out the stick and shoved it up against his throat.

M froze. He’s just hitting on you. Her friends were aghast, and everyone nearby watched, openmouthed. Nick’s eyes were wide with panic.

“Sorry.” M stood up, leaving Nick on the floor. “I’m really sorry.”

“Freak,” he muttered, climbing to his feet. He glanced around, noticing the barely concealed laughter from onlook- ers. “Jeez, I just wanted a fry,” he joked, as if he hadn’t been humiliated, then hurried out of the cafeteria.

“What. The. Hell?” Inez asked. “He was flirting with you and you beat him up!”

“I know.” M groaned, shoving her staff back into her pocket. “I didn’t mean to. It was just reflex.”

Her friends were silent. She’d freaked them out. Should she explain the years of self-defense and martial arts training? That she and Dad ended up in some rough places? Her friends lived in a city, they understood danger. Sort of. In a nice, upscale Boston kind of way.

M sighed. There was no point in trying to explain. No- body understood her life.

“You kinda push all the guys away,” Brianna pointed out quietly. “Maybe not like that, but still . . .”

“I don’t do romance,” M replied. She was done with love, period. She’d loved her parents, and they were both gone. Love hurt too much. It was better to steer clear of it.

They all ate in silence for a minute.

“I mean, he is an ass,” Ayana said finally. And everybody laughed.

M: You up?

MIKE: It’s a 12 hr time difference. Of course I’m up.

M: Like you never sleep in on weekends.

MIKE: Fine, your text woke me.

M: I don’t think that glyph is a lotus. It’s bending the wrong way.

MIKE: It has to be a lotus. If it’s not, the whole phrase is wrong.

M: The rest of the phrase never sat well with Nefertum anyway.

MIKE: Your dad said it was a lotus.

And that, my friends, is all. But trust me, you’ll want to pick this one up and keep reading, because it’s addicting. I’ve been going to sleep later and later each night as I got closer to the end.

Also. WHAT. AN. ENDING.

Lucky duckies that you all are, I Do Not Trust You comes out next Tuesday, which means you practically have nothing to wait. Whatever time your nearest bookstore opens, make sure you’re first in line for this book. You won’t be sorry.