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Everything You Want Me to Be: Deliciously Dramatic!

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Everything You Want Me to Be

Mystery/Thriller/Contemporary
352 Pages
Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication Date:  January 3rd, 2017
Get a copy here!

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to her death.

High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

 

4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: this is a haunting merry-go-round of mystery; I LOVELOVELOVE all the different viewpoints we’re treated to; the plot is deliciously dramatic and angsty; I honestly didn’t see that ending coming; this was a treat of a read!

Huge thanks to Mindy Mejia, Atria/Emily Bestler Books, and Netgalley for granting me free digital access to this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

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This was SUCH a delicious dramatic, angsty treat to read, penguins! So let’s start with that–the plot. The plot for this is action-packed, laced through with tension, and unbelievably mysterious all at once. For someone who often figures out the ending long before the halfway mark….this book caught me up in a whirlwind of visceral emotions and total surprise. From page one, I was drawn in–to Hattie’s story, to the wonderful lure of the unknown. This book was an exciting, captivating journey!

 

The characters are wholly realistic, believably flawed, and so complex you’ll feel as if they’re in the same room with you instead of written down on a page. I really enjoyed that we were given several different viewpoints to fight through and learn from–and that the plot is not necessarily linear, but written in a series of present times and back-flashes. This helped to both bring the entire story together, and keep the mystery at a high par. I also really enjoyed how Mindy Mejia handled each of these perspectives; it’s clear, from the beginning, that she knew where she wanted this story to take readers…and she knew EXACTLY how to get us there without giving the important details away too soon.

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This is the type of book you pick up expecting to read only a few chapters of at a time…and instead find yourself devouring. The pacing was spot-on, the tension was high and heart-pounding, and the characters all played their roles and brought readers closer to the answer without actually spoiling the journey. There were several moments I thought I knew EXACTLY where this story was headed…only to turn around and be proven totally wrong, and I love books (and authors) who manage to do that.

 

Overall, this was a treat to read from start to finish! The characters and plot were believable, the action was full of drama and angst, and I absolutely adored the multiple perspectives we were given insight to. I recommend this to lovers of murder mysteries, star-crossed lovers, and flawed but endearing personalities. If you like gritty stories with a ton of twists, you should pick this one up! As for me, I cannot WAIT to see what Mindy Mejia writes next!

4

Rise of the Chosen: A Fresh, Inventive Take on “Zombie”

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Rise of the Chosen (Lifeblood, #1)

In Sam’s world there are two rules. Rule #1: Nobody dies. Protect the living at all costs. Rule #2: Everybody dies. At least once.

The Waking was a global event in which a force called the Lifeblood invaded all humans who died. The few strong enough to control it came back as powerful immortals. The rest let the bloodlust take over and awoke with one goal – to kill.

Newly appointed Watch Guard Samantha Shields has a legacy to uphold. Her father died a hero defending their city and now she wants to follow in his footsteps. Except for the dying part, of course. Unfortunately, fate has other plans as she discovers deep dark secrets that make her choose between her loyalties and the lives of everyone in her city. Both rules are in play as Sam is forced to make hard decisions that could cost her everything – including the person she cares about most.

Lifeblood #1
YA/Horror/Science Fiction
210 Pages
Blue Moon Publishers
Expected Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
Get a copy here!

4Penguins

Quick Reasons: zombies with a twist and a few new names; great dystopian setting/world-building; a few weird/awkward character motivations/plot holes; special snowflake in our MC, Sam; unique and inventive take on the “undead”; a promising start to a new series!

Huge thanks to Anna Kopp, Blue Moon Publishers, and Netgalley for sending me a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Going into this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m sure you know how it is with zombie lore these days: the undead are everywhere, which means the same tired cliches are revisited again and again and again. You can never be sure, when picking up a new book, if you’ll be getting something unique…or just more of the same. Imagine my surprised delight when, from the very first page, this book let me know in no uncertain terms it was breaking away from cliche and striking out on its own! It’s possible I celebrated with some awkward wing flapping and penguin-toed shuffling. I mean, do you blame me?!

Of course, the world-building isn’t completely perfect. There are some missing plot points that, while not fundamental to my grasp or enjoyment of the novel, I find myself now wishing I had answers for. For instance: why are certain of the Chosen also granted special extra abilities? Is this a random occurrence or something else? Why are some people “Chosen” and some “Woken”? (I understand a lot of this comes down to the internal struggle of the one being changed, but is that ALL it is–the choice of whether to fight or die?)

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Some of the character motivations seemed a little wishy-washy and questionable to me in the grand scheme of things. David, for instance, seems almost immediately drawn to Sam…and cares more for her quicker than makes sense realistically. Sam also has some weird emotional motivation shifts, especially in regard to her father. Overall, though, the characters are well-developed and nicely rounded out. I particularly adored the relationship between Sam and Lena–it was cute and endearing, though I’m a bit nervous how it’ll play out in the coming sequels.

I had a ton of fun exploring this world! The prose is fast-paced and action-packed, sure to keep even the most bloodthirsty readers engaged and entertained. The twist on zombies was refreshing and inventive, and the characters are vibrant and well-rounded. I recommend this to lovers of dystopians, zombie apocalypses, and creative plots. I can’t wait to see where the next book leads–I’m SUPER intrigued!