Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Blog Tour Review: People Like Us by Dana Mele

Book: People Like Us
Author: Dana Mele
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books For Young Readers
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 384
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | 


A sharp psychological thriller that's just right for fans of One of Us is Lying and Thirteen Reasons Why--this story will seduce, mislead, and finally, betray you.
Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she's reinvented herself entirely. Now she's a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl's body is found in the lake, Kay's carefully constructed life begins to topple. The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay's finally backed into a corner, she'll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make...not something that happened.


Dana Mele is a Pushcart-nominated writer and a work at home mother. A graduate of Wellesley College, she is a former actor, lawyer, musician, and briefly, associate producer. She prefers tea to coffee, snow to sand, and stars to sunshine, and she lives in the Catskills with her husband and toddler. This is her first novel.


Also Check Out the People Like Us Tumblr


February 19 – Lindseyybooks – Review
February 20 – Bibliobakes – Review
February 21 – Bookish Bug – Review + Creative Instagram Picture
February 22 – Twinning for Books – Review
February 23 – The Bookish Crypt – Review
February 26 – Brooke Reports – Review
February 27 – Bookish Delights – Review
February 28 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Review + Styleboard
March 1 – Never Too Many To Read – Character/Suspect Profile
March 2 – Dauntless Books and Penguins – Review
March 6 – Touch My Spine Book Reviews – Review
March 7 – The Night Owl Book Blog – Review
March 8 – A Simple Taste of Reading – Review
March 9 – Books.Tea.Quotes – Review + Instagram Picture


What an incredible debut by Dana Mele! This is definitely a gripping, addictive thriller with all of the surprising twists and turns that make for a great read! I really enjoyed it. Full of delightfully disturbing drama from teens at a privileged boarding school called Bates Academy, this novel includes a murder mystery, bullying, lies, scandals, hidden secrets that are unveiled, and revenge. In addition, loss of friends and family and learning how to cope is also looked at. This debut was pitched as a mix between Thirteen Reasons Why and Pretty Little Liars, so I had to read it. This book lived up to my expectations and so much more. It has such a unique and creepy spin by including computer-coded riddles from a revenge blog that is written by a dead girl named Jessica that is found murdered near her school in the beginning of the story. These riddles need to be solved by Kay, a star soccer player who is the protagonist in the story, who also has a past that haunts her. Damning secrets from various students are revealed and revelations are made. A murder mystery at its heart, a thorough investigation leads to an array of suspects with the hope of the murderer eventually being implicated. 

This novel does have some bi-sexual and lesbian representation, which produces complicated love triangles that bewilder everyone's suspicion of who is guilty and who is not. Smartly done, this complex story containing so much intrigue and suspense, will leave you in awe. The plot is no holds barred and vicious and the pacing is on point. The dense length of the book favors the plot style, in terms of important gradual revelations. The who-done-it reveal at the end will shock you and will make you appreciate Mele's hard work in strategically formulating this novel that much more.

This novel really speaks to the intensity of the damaging effects of bullying and the unfortunate results of it in the aftermath of a twisted coping method. Do two wrongs really make a right? Does revenge really constitute justice? How should one cope with bullying or depression or the death of one's family member or friends? Or how can bullying be avoided? Social issues in high school, while they make for juicy novels, are at its best, important and serious issues to be looked at and dealt with appropriately. While this novel takes a look at the extremely dark road that bullying can lead to, it is unfortunate that any student has to deal with these kinds of issues. We all need to take responsibility for our own actions and realize how much of a negative effect we can have on others based on the way we treat people. Ideally we should all treat people how we would like to be treated.  

I highly recommend Dana Mele's debut mystery/thriller, People Like Us, which showcases a lingering problem in our society, bullying and its effects, especially in a school setting. The dynamic relationship between families, friends, and romantic partners is also featured. I loved it! This is a top YA debut for February that you won't want to miss out on!


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Bookish Delights Is On Vacation For A Week

Bookish Delights is on vacation starting today, Feb 24 - Mar 4 2018. All reviews except for the People Like Us Blog Tour which is scheduled for Feb 27, will be posted after the vacation. Sorry for any inconvenience. I hope everyone is enjoying some great books!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Review: The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg

Book: The Tombs
Author: Deborah Schaumberg
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 448
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | 
Book Depository | Goodreads |


New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn’t. Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive.

Like her mother’s, Avery’s powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city. Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power—or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on “patients”…and no one knows why.


DEBORAH SCHAUMBERG was born in Brooklyn, not far from where The Tombs takes place. She grew up renovating dilapidated old houses with her family. Her and her father would walk the rooms, floor by floor, making up stories about the inhabitants that were filled with dark secrets, monsters, and, of course, ghosts. Deborah is a writer and an artist whose work always has an element of fantasy to it, and since she also studied architecture, settings are equally important. It was on a trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal that she imagined a girl with the ability to see energy, and the seed of The Tombs was planted. Deborah is a member of the SCBWI, through which she met her agent. She collects old bottles and her favorite holiday is, you guessed it, Halloween. Deborah lives with her family and two dogs in Maryland, just outside DC.




The Tombs is a wonderful debut by Deborah Schaumberg, that blends fantasy and history to produce a story that not only showcases fascinating special powers and Gypsies, but also the interesting political and economic climate of New York City in 1882, after the civil war, when the country's turmoil was still evident, due to capitalist greed, continued discrimination and injustice of people of color, immigrants, and low-income people, especially factory workers. 

Sixteen-year-old Avery is a welder at the ironworks factory and discovers that she is an aura seer, possessing special powers just like her mother, who was taken three years prior by men in crow masks and locked in the Tombs asylum for a supposed mental illness. However, secretive happenings have been going on in the Tombs, including experiments on patients for unknown reasons, so things are not what they seem. And the men in crow masks eventually try to stalk and capture Avery as well as others with special abilities and try to imprison them in the Tombs for their own deceptive purposes. This leads Avery, along with her best friend Khan, to go to the Gypsies for help, in order to rescue her mother from the Tombs, which stands for Temple of Mind Balance Studies. Avery learns more about her abilities from the Gypsies to prepare herself. Also during this time, factory owners are learning how to deal with the threat of labor unions forming and eventually the two storylines blend together into one cohesive story.

Inventions were also prominent during this time, so Avery's father's job as an inventor suited the story well. It was interesting to read about his new creations. I also loved how talented Avery was at welding and appreciated the special projects she did as well. Avery also proves to be a very brave and selfless person, based on her actions. I was also fond of Seraphine, Avery's intelligent falcon. I later learned through the author's notes that Peregrine falcons actually nest on top of New York City bridges, so the inclusion made it very realistic.

The Tombs itself added an eerie feeling to the story as well as the men with crow masks. The Tombs asylum is located in the basement of a prison, which is old and creepy, with padded rooms and locked doors, nurses with unusual head gear on, odd contraptions used for experimentation in the lab, and a greenhouse for a special, dark purpose. Also, whenever the masked men followed Avery, it created suspenseful moments, and added to the disturbing aura of the story.

The historical world building of New York City in 1882 was just spectacular. It was very authentic and the descriptions of that time were well detailed and really made you feel like you were back in that era of airships and horse and carriages, etc. The inclusion of the progress of the Statue of Liberty being built, bridges being built, and inventions of the time really added to the aura of the time period and setting. 

I also enjoyed how Gypsies had a positive role in the story and were talked about in a good light by helping Avery polish her skills as an aura seer by informing her about her abilities and by making her practice tuning into her second sight to read auras. Also the added bonus of knife throwing practice was interesting! It was also nice how each person's supernatural ability was different and the variety was refreshing in terms of the fantasy element of the story. I just would have liked to see more usage of the supernatural powers in the story. 

Due to the heavy fantasy and historical nature of the story, the romance isn't the main focus and isn't as prominent as in other stories I've read, but it does include a mild love triangle. The romance that is featured does seem to develop quickly and the love triangle resolves itself just as fast towards the end. I am fine with less romance in a story, as long as the main storyline delivers, which this one does. 

The pacing of the story is somewhat slow, since the book sits at over 400 pages, but the storyline becomes very thorough as a result, and thus very enjoyable for someone who loves being immersed in the intricate historical details of the story and the engrossing fantasy elements. I particularly treasured this.

The Tombs brings forth a unique storyline full of adventure and intriguing danger. Full of daring and entrancing characters, interesting supernatural abilities, and a captivating historical setting, this novel is definitely a delight to read. The ending is satisfying and impressive. You won't want to miss out on this debut.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: Just Friends by Dyan Sheldon

Book: Just Friends
Author: Dyan Sheldon
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: Feb 13, 2018
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 288
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | 
Book Depository | Goodreads |


Can chasing the wrong girl lead down the right path? Witty as ever, best-selling author Dyan Sheldon maps the agonizing distance between "like" and "love."

Josh has never really thought twice about girls before. He's usually too busy watching old movies with his friends Sal and Carver, petitioning for more vegetarian options in the school cafeteria, or flailing in yoga class with his best friend Ramona. But when new girl Jena Capistrano walks into school, Josh loses his heart faster than he's ever lost his balance on a double downward dog. Not that he has any real aspirations, of course: he knows Jena is completely out of his league. And then, against all odds -- they become friends. The closer they get, the more infatuated Josh becomes, and the more he wonders if just maybeJena might like him back. There's only one way to find out. But it's not exactly easy to put your heart on the line.


DYAN SHELDON is the author of many novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, which was made into a major motion picture. Her other books include The Crazy Things Girls Do For Love, One or Two Things I Learned About Love, and The Truth About My Success. Dyan Sheldon was born in Brooklyn, New York, and now lives in North London.


Just Friends is a realistic, coming-of-age story with a friend-zoned, hopeful romance driven plot. I liked the story, but it was a bit predictable. The book exudes major patience on the part of Josh, who has a crush on the new girl Jena, the typical gorgeous and popular high school student. He quickly becomes Jena's friend, which makes him happy to spend time with her, but does Jena see Josh as more than a friend? Or is Josh just a friend of convenience, rushing to Jena's aid whenever she needs him. This is what Josh has to figure out throughout the novel. He has to try to read her closely to figure this out, but at the same time, liking and dating girls is all very new to him, so he is unsure of how to do this. This all becomes a work in progress and a gradual learning process for him.

Josh also has to decide if he can eventually develop enough courage to finally let Jena know how he feels, but timing is key. Of course, there are some plot complications throw his way in this story, and figuring out how to navigate them all is what makes the story interesting. If Josh waits too long he might lose his chance, but if he does go for it, will he be rejected by Jena? Fear of rejection is definitely prominent in this book, but will Josh and the other characters muster enough courage to go after what they want and will they succeed? You'll have to read the book to find out. 

The experiences of the characters will definitely shape them and they will grow from them. They will learn some dating lessons along the way in the complicated teeter totter world of high school relationships and discover that there is a fine line between being friends and being more than friends. 

The strong friendships between Josh and his close friends Ramona, Sal, and Carver are also highlighted in the book. You get to see the true meaning of friendship and being there for one another, especially in times of much needed support. And you get to see the effects of those close bonds and the complications it brings when hormones start raging and crushes start developing.

The best part of the novel for me was the humor! Yes Josh is a likeable, charming guy, but what I liked most about him was that he was so funny! I can't begin to remember how many times I laughed out loud and smiled. So the book was definitely entertaining!

Even though the story was predictable, I did enjoy reading the book. I thought it was good, but the story reached its plateau early on and mainly stayed there for the majority of the story, with not a lot of plot movement. The ending was handled well and very realistic. I identified with some of the characters and I also felt empathy towards some of them at times. 


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Review: It Should Have Been You by Lynn Slaughter

Book: It Should Have Been You
Author: Lynn Slaughter
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Publication Date: Jan 30, 2018
Genre: YA Thriller/Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 320
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kindle ebook |
Book Depository | IndieBound | Books-a-Million |


A cyberstalked high-school advice columnist takes matters into her own hands to discover the secrets behind her twin sister's murder in this intense and compelling mystery thriller.
Seventeen-year-old Clara Seibert ghostwrites an advice column for her school’s newspaper. She’s funny, feisty, and cares deeply about making a difference in people’s lives, but her own personal problems threaten to overwhelm her. Five months ago, her twin, Moura, was murdered. 

Soon threatening emails start to arrive at her staff inbox. Convinced that her email stalker blames Clara for her sister’s death and is out for revenge, she decides to undertake her own investigation. Can she solve the murder in time to save herself? 

This suspenseful page-turner about a complicated sibling relationship is perfect for fans of We Were Liars, Fangirl, I'll Give You the Sun, and Vanishing Girls. Secrets, lies, brilliantly crafted twists and turns, and a dual mystery will keep readers in suspense until the very last page. 

Although primarily a whodunit, this novel also focuses on important social themes high-school teens face. Lynn blends a page-turning mystery thriller with sweet romance and demonstrates the very real effects of grief, rivalry, sexuality, dating violence, and bullying on today's youth. Clara is believable, relatable, smart, snarky, brave, and conscientious. Her strong teen voice will resonate with a wide audience, and she is a perfect role model for teens who are dealing with similar social issues.


LYNN SLAUGHTER has a passion for dance and music - from Frank Sinatra to Chopin - and her first book, While I Danced, was a finalist in the 2015 EPIC competition in the Young Readers category. Before earning her MFA from Seton Hill University, she spend five seasons as a principal dancer with Detroit's Harbinger Dance Company. She and her husband live in Louisville, Kentucky. 



It Should Have Been You was such an intense, gripping, and suspenseful thriller/mystery. It was extremely well done, eliciting tension and suspense at just the right times, as well as producing hair-raising, anxious moments where you just hold your breath. The novel opens with a big punch, as Clara's twin sister Moura is murdered right away. Then the story starts five months later and follows Clara's life afterwards and shows what she deals with in high school due to this horrible incident, including bullying, blame, and threats. 

One of my favorite parts of the book was reading Clara's advice column in her school newspaper that she ghostwrites, which was her way of trying to cope with her sister's murder, by helping others. I also loved the suspense of when she would receive the next threatening email in her school newspaper inbox about the fact that it should have been Clara that was murdered, and seemingly accusing her of being guilty of murdering her twin sister Moura, and the most haunting of all - deadly payback. Who is threatening Clara? In a dark and twisted way, these emails were engrossing to read. Clara remains brave and stoic at first, but then realizes the gravity of things. She decides to do her own investigation into her sister's murder, and this is where things get really complicated, yet alluring. The thorough detective work done by Clara was very fascinating to read about, leading to some more information regarding the case, while at the same time making you think, is Clara doing this investigation on purpose to throw everyone off of her trail of guilt? 

Clara and her twin were not super close siblings during the time of Moura's murder so could she have done it? The author smartly utilizes the strong family blood bond of being a twin to complicate your suspicions, yet satisfyingly makes them more sinister. The closer the family relation, the deeper the betrayal. You think, can a twin really be so evil as to kill her own twin sister if she is present at home along with her sister during the time frame of the murder? The window of opportunity is there and you have to make a judgement based on what is revealed to you in the book. You will read Clara's demeanor, which is cold and indifferent towards her twin sister at times and think, does this prove she had a motive to kill her sister? Clara's questionable demeanor makes you raise an eyebrow at her. But the book makes you raise an eyebrow at many others as well and leads you down a path of many possibilities. The author does a good job of confusing and misleading you, and even if you think you have it all figured out, you are thrown for a loop again in this wild ride of a thriller. So it is very well done. 

The author does an amazing and meticulous job placing pertinent clues and hints throughout the book, which are gradually revealed, as well as many red herrings, in order to purposely cast a wide net of suspicion on the many characters in the book that are investigated. Your detective skills need to be on point and you will definitely need your sharp thinking caps on to solve this mystery. 

And I loved the fact that this novel had a surprise dual mystery. What a treat! Talk about going out with a massive bang at the end! It Should Have Been You was such a strong, captivating, edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of climactic intrigue, chilling moments where you were hanging in suspense, and nerve-wracking tension until the very end. It was an incredibly clever mystery, that was well planned, expertly executed, and incredibly fulfilling. It has everything you'd want in a top thriller - suspense, creativity, intrigue, deception, motive, great storyline, and a deeply satisfying, grandiose ending. I am a huge fan of thrillers and mysteries, and this one was excellent from beginning to end, with non-stop action. I did not want it to end. This book definitely plays like a movie, it was that absorbing. And it's more than just a mystery/thriller, since it also has some romance sprinkled in, and tackles some tough issues that twins as well as other teens face in high school. It makes students realize that they are not alone and can always ask for help in sticky situations. And as a twin, I appreciated this story that much more, since I can relate to some of the issues Clara and Moura faced as twins. Being a twin is not always easy, being compared all of the time. The pacing of the novel was perfect and the plot flowed so well, an incredible feat considering all of the intricacies that were involved in the story. 

This refreshing and bold story will take you on an adrenaline-filled ride. I highly recommend this book to everyone! And even if you aren't a fan of thrillers/mysteries, you will definitely become one after reading this book! I am looking forward to what this author has in store for us next. Once again, Page Street is definitely on the hot radar for sizzling YA books. I'm hooked and loving this YA imprint!