The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees
Publication Date: January 1st, 2017
★★★☆☆ (2.50)
Genre – Young Adult Contemporary

Summary – Hawthorn wasn’t trying to insert herself into a missing person’s 25546710investigation. Or maybe she was. But that’s only because Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance is the one fascinating mystery their sleepy town has ever had. Bad things don’t happen to popular girls like Lizzie Lovett, and Hawthorn is convinced she’ll turn up at any moment—which means the time for speculation is now.

So Hawthorn comes up with her own theory for Lizzie’s disappearance. A theory way too absurd to take seriously…at first. The more Hawthorn talks, the more she believes. And what better way to collect evidence than to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life? Like getting a job at the diner where Lizzie worked and hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend. After all, it’s not as if he killed her—or did he?

Initial Thoughts – I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. In short, this book confused me. I felt like the book was confused too.
Plot – ★★☆☆☆ The “theory” that Hawthorn comes up with is simply ridiculous. I did not believe it for a second. However, I hoped that Hawthorn would be right in the end and add some twist, but she wasn’t. This book was similar to many that I have read, in which the MC believes the goddess popular girl couldn’t possibly have emotions and then they find out that (gasp) they do.
Characters – ★★★☆☆ I really did not connect with Hawthorn at all. A girl has gone missing, but Hawthorn makes insensitive and rude comments about her with no respect for Lizzie or the people mourning her. She uses Lizzie’s disappearance for her own entertainment. I understand that she was lonely, yet it sickens me.
Story world – ★★★☆☆ I think the story world added a lot to the confusion with the book. I felt like it wanted to be a fantasy novel, but wasn’t, so it chose something between the two.
Style – ★★☆☆☆ Hawthorn’s voice irritated me. I think Sedoti  was going for a personal and honest narrative, but I just found her insensitive.
Closing Thoughts – This book left me unsatisfied and unimpressed.
Recommendation – Recommended for lovers of quirky fiction, unpopular heroines, and confusion.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

The Romantics by Leah Konen

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees
Publication Date: November 9th, 2016
★★★★★ (4.50)
Genre – Young Adult Contemporary

Summary – Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big 29917071relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.

Initial Thoughts – I received this ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m so glad I requested this book because it was positively adorable.
Plot – ★★★★☆ The plot was simple and well paced. I took one star off because it dragged in just a few spots.
Characters – ★★★★★ I connected incredibly well with Love, who was hilarious. I wanted Gael to fall for his chosen love so badly it hurt.
Story world – ★★★★☆ The story world isn’t described often in this novel. While it worked without a lot of background, I could have used just a few more details.
Style – ★★★★★ The style was probably my favorite part of this novel. The narrator, Love, is witty and intelligent. I loved seeing her cause “coincidences” that brought lovers together and her classifications of different lovers.
Closing Thoughts – This book was so cute and now I want to fall in love. It’s perfect for those in need of a fluffy read.
Recommendation – Recommended for lovers of narrators with a different perspective, hard to find love, and humor.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees
Publication Date: September 13th
★★★★★ (4.75)
Genre – Young Adult Nonfiction

Summary – Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary Nort28818317h Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju who is forced at age twelve to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains. Sungju richly re-creates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his “brothers”; to be hungry and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. This riveting memoir allows young readers to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.

Initial Thoughts – When I received this ARC from Netgalley and Abrams Kids, I was so excited to read it. I had never seen a nonfiction book geared towards young adults about North Korea.
Plot – ★★★★★ This book held on to me from the beginning to the end. The high risks that Sungju faces and bravely fights through shows the terrifying truth about North Korea and didn’t read like a “boring nonfiction book”.
Characters – ★★★★★ The boys in Sungju’s gang captured my heart. I fell in love with the way the brave boys fought against their circumstances and found their roles in their broken lives. Their misfortune hit me again and again as I remembered this is a nonfiction book, not another fantasy book.
Story world – ★★★★★ Sungju was from the high class military city of Pyongyang, before his family was disgraced and sent to a poor city in the north. Because of this background, readers are able to see the two sides of North Korea. The rich life the wealthy military leads and the poor, crime and hunger filled lives the rest of the population leads.
Style – ★★★★☆  The style of this book is simple, letting the horror of the actions speak for themselves.
Closing Thoughts – This book has influenced me greatly. Throughout reading it, I kept thinking “Thank goodness stuff like this doesn’t happen today.” And then I remembered this happened very recently and is still happening today. The honest memoir has opened my eyes to more of the world.
Recommendation – Recommended for lovers of bravery, strong friendships, and the important, though hard, truth.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

The Graces by Laure Eve

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

Publication Date: September 6, 2016
★★★★★ (4.75)
Genre – Young Adult Fantasy

Summary  Everyone said the Graces were witches. 25365584

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

Initial Thoughts – When I received this ARC, I was so excited. I loved the cover. I loved the idea. I loved the magic. And this book certainly did not disappoint.
Plot – ★★★★★ This book kept me captured throughout the story. I was just as entranced with the Grace life as River was and I would have never predicted the ending.
Characters – ★★★★★ I absolutely loved the Graces and River. They all are broken people pretending to be whole. All of the characters had real flaws, and I found a part of myself relating to each of them.
Story world – ★★★★★ Laure Eve perfectly captures the small gossiping town, the beautiful, haunting Grace house, and so much more.
Style – ★★★★☆  I enjoyed Laure Eve’s style for this book. I think it matched pretty well with the genre, however it was just missing that little something.
Closing Thoughts – I really, really enjoyed this book. I was in need of a haunting and magical story, and this book was just that.
Recommendation – Recommended for someone who loves magic, mystery, and the underdog.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

Circle of Jinn by Lori Goldstein

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

(This is the sequel to Becoming Jinn. You can also  find my review of the first book, Becoming Jinn. Spoilers below.)

Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
★★★★★ (4.50)
Genre – Young Adult Fantasy

Summary – Being Jinn is Azra’s new reality. As she 18046383grants wishes under the watchful eye of the Afrit council, she remains torn between her two worlds—human and Jinn. Soon, secrets spill. Zars are broken. Humans become pawns. And rumors of an uprising become real as the Afrit’s reach extends beyond the underground world of Janna.

Straddling the line becomes impossible. Aware of her unique abilities, Azra must not just face but embrace her destiny. But when the role she must play and those she must protect expand to include a circle of Jinn greater than her own, Azra will be forced to risk everything. A risk that means there’s everything to lose, and at the same time, everything to gain—for herself and her entire Jinn race.

Initial Thoughts – I received this book as an ARC and I dived in immediately. After reading (and loving) Becoming Jinn, I couldn’t wait to read this.
Plot – ★★★★☆ The plot was just little a slow in the beginning, but about a quarter of the way through, things really sped up. After that, I was sucked into the world of Jinn.
Characters – ★★★★☆ In this book, we were reintroduced to the wonderful characters of before and then some more. All of them were endearing and lovely,  but I felt a few of them could have used just a little more detail.
Story world – ★★★★★ In Circle of Jinn, we were introduced to Janna and learned more about the Afrit. I love the world of Jinn. Genies is something I’ve never seen done before this series, and Goldstein masterfully weaved their world in with our own.
Style – ★★★★★  Goldstein’s witty style  managed to make me smile on almost every page. That is, when I wasn’t already sobbing.
Closing Thoughts – I’m sad to see this series end, but I can’t wait to see what Goldstein writes next.
Recommendation – Recommended for someone who needs more fantasy, girl power, and romance in their lives.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)