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The Hiding Spot

I focus primarily on Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Children's books, but my tastes are eclectic, so I change things up frequently!

You Look Different in Real Life

You Look Different in Real Life - Jennifer Castle Review forthcoming!

Wild Awake

Wild Awake - Hilary T. Smith Review forthcoming.

A Funny Little Bird

A Funny Little Bird - Jennifer Yerkes Such a beautiful book... love this one!

Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked

Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked - Jarrett J. Krosoczka Review forthcoming!

Second Chance Summer

Second Chance Summer - Morgan Matson So. many. tears. Review forthcoming.


Transparent - Natalie Whipple Review forthcoming.


Shadowfell - Juliet Marillier Juliet Marillier has been one of my go-to favorites for epic fantasy for years, but this is my first experience with her YA marketed writing. Unsurprisingly, Shadowfell is just as strong as her adult fantasy titles; setting a high bar for other YA fantasy titles. There are only a small number of YA fantasy titles that I've been truly impressed by, often causing me to wonder if perhaps the YA genre isn't built to sustain the type of world building and epic scope that I've come to prefer after years of reading adult fantasy. Shadowfell completely proves this hypothesis false, while simultaneously making it very likely that I'll be even pickier and judgmental about future YA fantasy I choose to read. I haven't decided yet if this consequence is positive or negative...Shadowfell centers around Neryn, who has lost her entire family and her home under the reign of the dark, violent King Keldec. Like her grandmother before her, Neryn is gifted with a canny skill, or magical ability, which is outlawed any where but in King Keldec's court, where he uses individuals with magical ability to carry out his nefarious plots and evil deeds. Constantly fearing for her life and unable to trust anyone, not even the Good Folk who are, themselves, magical and persecuted by Keldec, Neryn sets out on a journey to find Shadowfell and the secret rebel group that resides there, though she can't be sure it even exists. The journey pushes Neryn to her limits and brings unexpected people - and creatures - into her life; individuals that teach her about trust, love, friendship, and, most importantly of all, who she truly is.Like all good epic fantasy, Shadowfell's premise centers around the universal, recurring struggle of good versus evil. Though the reader never truly meets Keldec in Shadowfell, it's clear from Neryn's scrapes with his minions that he epitomizes evil. I'm really hoping to learn more about Keldec and his past in the next Shadowfell novel. As the reader learns in this first book, Neryn is a complex, layered character and I feel it's only fitting that the reader have clear understanding of her nemesis as well.I've always had a soft spot for the romance in epic fantasy. These romantic plot lines are usually slow building and filled with tension and complications. I honestly feel that if the romantic relationship between characters in epic fantasy develops easily, the author is doing something wrong. Marillier's romance in particular has always been a favorite of mine, so I wasn't surprised by the hurdles and difficulties placed between Neryn and Flint, who is an obviously perfect match for Neryn. As the first novel in the Shadowfell trilogy, readers can expect quite a bit of world building and character development. For me, epic fantasy requires trust from the reader and a willingness to embark on a multiple book journey. There are slower sections of Shadowfell, but they are not, at least in my opinion, boring. These sections that are slow in action feature heavy character development, which is just as important as a high-paced action sequence.I cannot recommend Shadowfell highly enough. Marillier is an extremely gifted storyteller and I'm always impressed by the depth and beauty of her writing. I have a strong suspicion Neryn and her journey will become one of my lasting favorites.


Defiance - C.J. Redwine Liked it, but didn't love it. Interesting concept, but I had some definite issues with it. Still adore the cover though!! Review forthcoming!

Level 2 (Memory Chronicles)

Level 2 - Lenore Appelhans Review forthcoming!


Reboot - Amy Tintera After just one book, I'm already a fan of Amy Tintera and her writing! I found her debut, Reboot, to be an absolutely stunning dystopian offering with a strong romantic plot line and well-placed humor to balance the novel's darkness and violence. The main character, Wren, is known the most deadly and dangerous of the Reboots by her peers and the HARC, the corporation which effectively rules the Republic of Texas. Reboots, which at first might sound suspiciously like zombies, are actually quite different. In the novel, it's briefly theorized that Reboots may be more advanced humans whose bodies had the capabilities to manipulate the virus that swept through the population. Their deaths were actually more akin to a resting period - or incubation period, perhaps - for the virus and that, instead of killing them, it made them stronger, both physically and mentally (if you count less emotion as a strength). Reboots, however, are no longer considered humans but Other (by both the HARC and the remaining human population) and have become slaves tasked with hunting down and capturing or killing human criminals.Perhaps because they are labelled Other, the Reboots themselves, especially those labelled with higher numbers indicating that they were "dead" longer than lower numbered Reboots, no longer consider themselves human. They consider themselves a race unto themselves. For me, this stood out as an important detail: I knew Reboot featured a romance, but I couldn't imagine how the inhuman Wren would suddenly be able to fall in love, especially a love that was strong enough to change how she interacted with the world.Wren and Callum's romance was believable for me because Callum, a 22 (and, therefore, a Reboot who is, except for a few physical changes, still pretty much human) sees Wren as more than Other - allowing her to see herself as more than the narrow label of Reboot as determined by the HARC. Some may have found the romance odd in a world filled with so much violence and so little emotion, but, for me, the love between Callum and Wren, the understanding and connection between them, is the only force that could effectively combat the kind of brainwashing the Reboots endured at the hands of HRAC. It reminded me strongly of the aftereffects of colonization, where, after time, the colonized may view themselves negatively when the viewpoint of the conquerors is repeatedly forced upon them.The relationship between Callum and Wren was one of my favorite aspects of the novel. I loved Callum, he was a typical human guy, which I think was necessary distinction. I could see how some might think the relationship (and the laughter between the characters) a bit odd in the midst of such darkness, but I think Wren and Callum acting less serious and enjoying life was a sign of hope... that there was still something left to fight for when everything else had become so unrecognizable. Others might wonder how Wren could be both a killing machine for the HRAC and, simultaneously a giggling teenager, but I think it just shows how desensitized Wren had become at the hands of the HRAC and her parents, before she became a Reboot, and that how she lives her life & values are a direct result of those influences, not who she truly is. Plus, in a world where you really can't be sure you'll live to see the next day, making out with the person you're head over heels for, potentially for the first and last time, seems like a fantastic idea.I felt the pacing of this novel was absolutely perfect. I never once felt bored or rushed while reading. The novel ends on a cliffhanger, but not before wrapping up the bulk of the action in book one. Instead of leaving tons of unanswered questions throughout the entire book and into the next installment, Tintera presents new questions and a new setting for book two as well as leaving some of the overarching, deeper questions. I cannot wait for book two, where I hope we'll find out more about what exactly Reboots are and how things will change after the game-changing events in Reboot. Don't waste any time, grab a copy of Tintera's debut as soon as possible!

If You Find Me

If You Find Me - Emily Murdoch So ridiculously good! Review forthcoming.

Pretty Girl-13

Pretty Girl-13 - Liz Coley Liz Coley's Pretty Girl-13 reads like a horror novel, but it's actually realistic fiction - emotional, powerful, horrifying realistic fiction. This debut novel tells the harrowing tale of Angie Chapman, a sixteen year old girl who has been missing for three years after going missing during a Girl Scout camping trip. The novel opens with Angie returning home, with no memory of having been missing for years. She still thinks she's thirteen and is shocked, and has a difficult time believing, that she's been missing at all. Thus begins Angie journey to unlocking the mystery of her disappearance and the past three years while learning to live her life again when the world has moved on without her.Early in the book, the reader and Angie discover that, in an effort to protect her, her mind has shattered into multiple personalities. Little by little, Angie meets and interacts with these distinct personalities which hide the secrets of the last three years to protect the original Angie, who they refer to as Pretty Girl-13. It is this part of Pretty Girl-13 that most makes the novel feel like it could be part of the horror genre: the entirely plausible situation that occurs in the novel is perhaps more terrifying than the any monster you could possibly imagine. Not only must Angie work to merge or eliminate her various personalities, to do so, she must face the realities the personalities are hiding her from, realities that are sure to be painful and difficult to bear. Admittedly, this is a very emotionally heavy novel, but Coley writes in such a way that the reader is able to connect and empathize with Angie, while keeping some distance so not to be completely overwhelmed by the horrors she has experienced. Angie's multiple personalities not only distance her from the events of the past three years, they also distance the reader, revealing information little by little so not to release the painful events too quickly. Additionally, Angie must move on with her life, however difficult it may be, offering another way for Coley to balance the darkness of the past with the hopefulness of Angie's future. I can't imagine how terrifying being intimate, having romantic feeling for someone, or trusting after what Angie's been through, especially at such a young age, but I felt Coley did a wonderful job of showing how this could be possible... and is even necessary. One of my favorite aspects of Pretty Girl-13 was the focus on the supportive individuals in Angie's life following her disappearance. Angie reconnects with an old friend and makes a few new friends who don't question the difficulties she's facing or judge her. If they were real people, I would have given them huge hugs! Angie also works closely with a psychologist who is very invested in her and I loved the relationship that developed between the two characters... and the psychologist and some of Angie's personalities. Not only were these developments interesting from a psychological standpoint, they were touching as well.I was continually shocked as more and more information about Angie's missing three years was uncovered, but I never felt overwhelmed by the darkness of the subject matter. Coley did a beautiful job of finding the light in such a dark situation, adding depth and a sense of hope to Pretty Girl-13. This is a must read for fans of realistic YA and psychological dramas.

Chocolates for Breakfast: A Novel

Chocolates for Breakfast - Pamela Moore Review forthcoming.

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave - Love love love this book. Review forthcoming!

The Dead and Buried

The Dead and Buried - Kim Harrington Kim Harrington's The Dead and Buried, like her previous novels, is a quick, satisfying read that thoroughly engages the reader and leaves them wanting more. Even though I should know better by now, I'm always surprised by how quickly I become invested in Harrington's characters and how sad I am to see their stories end, even when the mystery is solved and the novel is neatly wrapped up.This newest offering from Harrington features Jade, the new girl in town who has, unknowingly, moved into the house of the girl who was once the queen bee at her new high school... before she died a mysterious death at the top of Jade's stairs. Soon, odd things are happening in the house and Jade's little brother tells her he keeps seeing a girl in his room. Just as in real life, queen be Kayla Sloan isn't so nice. She threatens Jade that she'll hurt her little brother if Jade doesn't figure out who killed her.I loved that there were some really creepy scenes in The Dead and Buried. There are a couple times that Kayla possesses Jade's little brother and, I won't lie, I wasn't entirely upset that I had been reading during the day rather than on a dark and stormy night. This definitely isn't a horror novel, but I really appreciated that Harrington tried to make the scariness of Jade's situation come through for the reader. I have to say, Jade stayed a lot calmer than I would have if my little brother was creeping around with the spirit of the local mean girl controlling his body. The mystery elements of this novel were fun as well. It's entirely possible for the reader to figure out who the murderer is before Jade does if they pay attention to the detail. I much prefer this type of mystery to those in which the narrator or main character controls all the information. I was more invested than I would have been if all the clues were lined up perfectly by Jade.One of my favorite aspects of Harrington's novels is her romantic plot lines. They are all just so darn sweet. Though, I have to say, there was a little bit of an edge to the romance in The Dead and Buried, since Jade's love interest had a rather complicated past with the dead queen bee... a past that made him potentially dangerous.Lastly, I really, really liked Jade. She was a very level-headed character, which was nice. I think I would have been annoyed by a super emotional main character in this particular novel. Jade did what she had to, didn't lose her head over her love interest, was devoted to her family (even when they weren't always so supportive), and saved the day. Loved her!I highly recommend The Dead and the Buried. It's fast-paced mystery with great characters, a dash of creepiness, and lots of fun.

Bubble World

Bubble World - Carol Snow Review forthcoming.