Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter Review

Not If I Save You First by Ally CarterNot If I Save You First by Ally Carter

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: March 27, 2018

Pages: 297

Summary: Maddie thought she and Logan would be friends forever. But when your dad is a Secret Service agent and your best friend is the president’s son, sometimes life has other plans. Before she knows it, Maddie’s dad is dragging her to a cabin in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.

No phone.
No Internet.
And not a single word from Logan.

Maddie tells herself it’s okay. After all, she’s the most popular girl for twenty miles in any direction. (She’s also the only girl for twenty miles in any direction.) She has wood to cut and weapons to bedazzle. Her life is full.
Until Logan shows up six years later . . .
And Maddie wants to kill him.

But before that can happen, an assailant appears out of nowhere, knocking Maddie off a cliff and dragging Logan to some unknown fate. Maddie knows she could turn back- and get help. But the weather is turning and the terrain will only get more treacherous, the animals more deadly.

Maddie still really wants to kill Logan.
But she has to save him first.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Carter’s latest novel, Not If I Save You First, is filled with intrigue, politics, and mystery! This page turner is mystery, thriller, and character-driven story all in one!

As a long time fan of Ally Carter’s books, I always look forward to reading what she comes up with next!

She integrates politics and mystery so seamlessly into everyone of her novels and that’s just one of the many reasons I really love her books!

Not If I Save You First follows Madeleine“Maddie” Rose Manchester, daughter of a Secret Service Agent and Logan, the president’s son.

An attack within the White House when they were 10, leads Maddie + her father to stay off the grid for 6 years in Alaska.

In that time, Maddie has been writing letters to Logan, but we quickly learn she hasn’t gotten responses. This leads her to believe, that maybe she’s lost her only friend.

Then when there’s news that Logan will be staying with them, the story takes off from there!

Now, when Maddie’s tasked with watching over him, it turns out they aren’t completely off the grid as they thought.

When its revealed someone is after Logan (and is later kidnapped), its up to Maddie to save him and when she does, they have to find answers.

Over the course of the story, they work together and unravel the mystery all while trying to stay alive in the Alaskan wilderness.

As they uncover more about what caused their friendship to end so abruptly, they also team up, help each other and maybe attempt to revive, what they felt was a long-gone connection!

I loved seeing the unique dynamic between Logan + Maddie. It was interesting to see their friendship during their younger years in the beginning + seeing how it drastically shifts in the present.

The characters and their development, especially Logan and Maddie is another aspect of the novel that I really enjoyed!

Carter does such an amazing job at keeping her characters and their development consistent throughout her books and it shows throughout the entirety of Logan and Maddie’s interactions.

The mystery as to who was after Logan and why, kept me turning the page! There’s so much mystery and things left unsaid that made it fun figuring out who was behind all this!

As for the plot and considering its a standalone, the story easily wraps up and any loose strings are pretty much resolved.

*I also loved the Gallagher Girls reference to the Blackthorne Institute!! ❤ ❤ Being a long-time fan of Carter’s books, it was fun seeing that little easter egg!!

However I will admit, the story itself was pretty slow towards the middle (when Logan + Maddie spend a lot of time trying to lose their tracks of Stefan, who’s chasing them). It did lead to a bit of repetitiveness of the setting and with that, not much happening plot wise when Logan+Maddie are trying to escape Stefan.

Additionally, the big reveal as to who was behind it did feel pretty rushed, as did the ending itself.

I will admit, the build-up itself was so incredibly done and kept raising the stakes with each moment.

When we finally reach the end, there was just a lot happening at once and overall felt a bit too fast-paced when it was revealed.

Overall though, I’m interested to read what Ally releases next! I always look forward to reading her novels and always have so much fun reading them!

Character development and mystery are at the heart of this story! Not If I Save You First is a uniquely plotted YA mystery/thriller and page-turning read! Though the pacing and ending suffer a bit, its an entertaining read perfect if your looking for a YA Contemporary/Thriller-Mystery standalone!

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January 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

uncaged-wallflower-by-jennae-cecelia-review1.Uncaged Wallflower by Jennae Cecelia

Uncaged Wallflower Full Review

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Release Date: October 6, 2016

Pages: 70

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: An inspiring collection of poetry! Filled with such positivity, Uncaged Wallflower had me hopeful and inspired! It was a spectacular read to start off the new year! Highly recommend!

a-list-of-cages-by-robin-roe2.A List Of Cages by Robin Roe

A List Of Cages Full Review

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Roe’s debut is not one to miss! Adam and Julian (Adam’s foster-brother) find themselves meeting again after some time apart! A List Of Cages tells the story of the power of friendship and kindness, even when facing the most difficult situations. This novel is heart-breaking *discusses abuse & neglect* but you will feel so attached to these characters, even the minor ones through Roe’s spectacularly written dual POV.

frostblood-by-elly-blake3.Frostblood by Elly Blake (Frostblood Saga #1)

Frostblood Full ARC Review

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A fantastic start to a new fantasy series! Blake delivers great character dynamics which is clearly seen between Ruby and Arcus! History and politics play a huge role in the world. The division/hierarchy between the Firebloods and Frostbloods was wonderfully done and its clear its not all black and white which was one of my favorite aspects! The plot while slow at times, definitely keeps you hooked as you learn more about Ruby and the world she’s in! 

crystal-storm-by-morgan-rhodes-review4.Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms #5)

Crystal Storm Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: December 13, 2016

Pages: 379

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Not the strongest novel in the series in my opinion, however it is very character driven and expands even more on the world/magic Rhodes has built thus far! The slow pacing/plotting and introduction to certain characters/motives really made the tone of this novel feel rather off than previous novels! However, the ending definitely will leave you eager for Book 6!

Take The Key And Lock Her Up5.Take The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter (Embassy Row #3)

Take The Key And Lock Her Up Full Review

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Pages: 336

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Carter delivers such originality to her stories, there are twists and turns you don’t see coming. There are new characters introduced just in this final novel that Carter manages to create so memorably! Grace’s repetitive narrative, lack of side-characters prevalent in previous novels and overly cryptic characters made this novel rather confusing at times due to lack of info which made this a little disappointing! However, Carter ties up the story delivering a satisfying conclusion to Grace’s adventures on Embassy Row!

history-is-all-you-left-me-by-adam-silvera6.History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

History Is All You Left Me Full Review

Publisher: Soho Teen

Release Date: January 17, 2017

Pages: 294

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Told in Griffin’s POV’s  (History & Today) we come to understand how his best-friend  +first boyfriend Theo, died. Through out this novel are themes of love friendship, love/loss + acceptance. Through the writing the characters truly come to life. This is a gem of a story you don’t want to miss!

Additional Posts From This Month:

2017 Book Blog Goals {Bookish Goals}

Diverse 2017 YA Books To Add To Your TBR {Winter}

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera Cover Reveal

Top 5 Wednesday {#2} Underrated Books

What Books Did You Read In January?  🙂

Take The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter Review

Take The Key And Lock Her UpTake The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter (Embassy Row #3)

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Pages: 336

Summary: The princess is dead. Long live the princess.

Centuries ago, the royal family of Adria was killed…or so everyone thought.

Now Grace Blakely knows the truth: There was one survivor, and that survivor’s blood runs through her veins. This simple fact could cause a revolution—which is why some people will stop at nothing to keep it from coming to light.

There is only one way for Grace to save herself, save her family, and save the boy she loves. She must outmaneuver her foes, cut through the web of lies that has surrounded her for years, and go back to the source of all her troubles, despite the risk.

If she wins, she will inherit a throne.

And if she loses, she will inherit the fate of all the dead princesses who came before her.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Carter delivers a satisfying conclusion to her Embassy Row Series filled with intrigue and twists you don’t see coming!

With every novel, Carter always delivers a plot with such originality and I love that! There isn’t so much politics/intrigue and mystery to where it seems like too much and Carter knows how to balance them very well.

This novel concludes Grace’s adventures on Embassy Row as she learns more about her fate as a future princess, the mysterious Society and her mother’s secret ties to the Society + what she had uncovered all those years ago.

Carter continues to build upon the fictional country of Adria, introducing prince Thomas and the king, while also revealing more about the Society and how it plays a major role in Adria’s long and complicated history.

People want to get rid of Grace and her family, but she knows she’s not going down without a fight. Essentially this whole novel is Grace finding out more about what her mother discovered and how she can put an end to it.

As for overall plot, Princess Ann (now who I can gather was the overall antagonist) develops a plan for Grace to assume her role as princess and marry her son Thomas so Amelia’s lineage can continue. And Grace knows there is more to this than what she is led to believe.

Alexi’s mother is finally introduced! Overall she was a wonderfully written character and it was interesting to see how she was weaved into the plot and her history with Grace’s mother.

There’s introductions to the king and Prince Thomas of Adria who was definitely one of my favorite characters in this final novel (possibly even the whole series! Even though he was just in 1 book<3)

While he wasn’t in the book too much, Thomas was definitely one of the most memorable characters as was Alexi’s mother! Both were wonderfully written and developed.

While its obvious this series focuses on Grace, I felt the side-characters (Alexi, Rosie, Noah & Megan; even Grace’s brother Jamie who was quite an important character in See How They Run) weren’t given much page time for a majority of the novel and only showed up when it was convenient for the plot. That was a real bummer considering in book 1 All Fall Down, they were with Grace most of the time. They were wonderful additions to the story and it would have made this book much better if they were all together.

Regardless, it was definitely great to see Alexi and Grace together! There were more moments between them which was nice. Everytime they interacted it was clear that Grace really cared for him and vice-versa.

What I love about not only this series but Ally Carter’s books in general, is that regardless of what is going on in the story she always keeps her plot focused and doesn’t take the story in unnecessary directions. 

I did take off a star because while I adore the originality of Carter’s stories, I found myself annoyed with Grace’s voice/character. She was very repetitive about her craziness and in general repeated multiple lines over and over regarding it, among other things which really didn’t add much to the story itself a majority of the time.

Additionally, I felt certain characters (like Ann) were too cryptic and secretive about things, to the point where reading from Grace’s POV felt a little confusing at times, because no one would tell her anything!

Also as stated above, it would have been better if the side characters were included more in this final novel.

Aside from my cons about her, honestly I’ve never read about a character like Grace before, so it was great getting a unique 1st person POV and additionally what I do enjoy about her character is her independence and strength to fix problems on her own.

Overall Take The Key And Lock Her Up is a mysterious and engaging finale which ties together the mysteries that Grace has been trying to solve on Embassy Row!

November 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Yoon_9780553496680_jkt_all_r1.indd1.The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon 

The Sun Is Also A Star ARC Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Pages: 384

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: In another incredible contemporary from Nicola Yoon, she explores themes of destiny and love. Main characters Daniel and Natasha are complete opposites, but learn more about themselves, confront tough obstacles and come to bring out the best in each other.

The Midnight Star Cover Reveal2.The Midnight Star by Marie Lu (TYE #3)

The Midnight Star Full Review

Publisher: G.P.  Putnam’s Son’s Books For Young Readers

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 316

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Adelina’s dark story comes to an end in this fast-paced conclusion. The world does continue to expand in some aspects and the plot definitely keeps you surprised.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.24.46 AM3.Blood For Blood (Wolf By Wolf #2)

Blood For Blood Full Review

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Pages: 481

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: The stakes are raised in this conclusion to Wolf By Wolf. The world continues to develop and world/character development play a huge part in this novel. Tone and pacing are quite different than book 1, but Graudin delivers a fantastic plot that will keep you turning the page!

the-grift-of-the-magi-by-ally-carter-book-review4.The Grift Of The Magi by Ally Carter (Heist Society #3.5)

The Grift Of The Magi

Publisher: NLA Digital LLC

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Pages: 105

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Readers return to the world of Heist Society in this holiday novella! Kat and her crew come together to save a charity when one of its valuable auction pieces has been stolen! The plot is fast-paced and entertaining! Characters are given great development and the plot, while wrapping up quite quickly in the end, is filled with mystery and surprise!

labyrinth-lost-by-zoraida-cordova-book-review5.Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (Brooklyn Brujas #1)

Labyrinth Lost Full Review

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: September 6, 2016

Pages: 336

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Weaving together Latinx Culture + Urban Fantasy, we follow Alex, a bruja who is unsure if she wants to keep her powers. When a spell makes her family disappear to Los Lagos (a mythical land) she must find a way to bring them back. The world/plot could have used more development, but regardless its a magical story of self-identity and family!

bound-by-blood-and-sand6.Bound By Blood And Sand by Becky Allen (Bound By Blood And Sand #1)

Bound By Blood And Sand Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: In a magical desert world water is running out and Jae may be the only one who can bring it back. This novel is filled with remarkably written/developed characters that truly come to life on the page. While the world could use a little more development, both world/plot are fascinating and unique. The little-to-no romance leaves so much room for character/plot development.

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes I #8

What Did You Read This Month? 🙂

The Grift Of The Magi by Ally Carter Review

the-grift-of-the-magi-by-ally-carter-book-reviewThe Grift Of The Magi by Ally Carter (Heist Society #3.5)

Publisher: NLA Digital LLC

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Pages: 105

Summary: Katarina Bishop is a thief. To many it wouldn’t matter that she now uses her considerable skills to re-steal valuable works of art and return them to their rightful homes.

She’s still a thief.

So that’s why Kat’s surprised when an Interpol agent comes to her one snowy evening, asking for Kat’s help.

The Magi Miracle Network was set to auction off a very rare, very valuable Faberge egg two days before Christmas, but the egg’s been stolen and now the charity’s reputation—and their future—is on the line.
Kat’s family and Interpol might be opposite sides of most jobs, but someone just stole Christmas.

Now it’s up to Kat and her crew to steal it back.

The Grift of the Magi is a Heist Society novella and is approximately half the length of the other novels in the series. It stands alone, but if you want read more about Kat and her crew check out Heist Society, Uncommon Criminals, and Perfect Scoundrels.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: A fun and fast paced heist which takes readers back into the world of Heist Society!

Heist Society is a very special series to me, because it sparked my love of reading! Its been 3 years since Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society 3) released and after finishing this short story it brought back so much nostalgia.  It was truly wonderful to read about Kat and her crew again! 💖💕

The plot, dialogue, writing style, etc. were all fantastic! Yet, the strength of this story was definitely the character development.

Kat and Hale were beginning to get used to their newly developed relationship in Perfect Scoundrels, however by this point they have fully established it and it was great to see how much they’ve grown since then.

At the start of this story, Kat and Gabrielle have been approached by Interpol agent, Ameila Bennett because one of her dear friend’s (Elizabeth) London charity, the Magi Miracle Network, has been robbed.

Amelia reveals how special the organization is to her and believes Kat and her crew are the only ones who can help.

An auction is set to take place on Dec. 23, which will not only support low-income families around Great Britain but bring more attention to the organization itself.

A Faberge egg (1 of 3 Eggs of the Magi) has been stolen and it must be found before the auction takes place!

With Hazel Hale (Hale’s grandmother) the original founder of the Magi Miracle Network and W.W. Hale V currently the new chairman, he is automatically no. 1 on the list, considering Kat’s mother also had one similar to it and believes Hale knew that too.

The crew has 11 days to figure out who really stole the egg (possibly even a forged one) and get the real one back in time.

Carter’s writing kept the story fast paced and entertaining. There was definitely expansion on side characters introduced early into the Heist Society Series, like Amelia, Gabrielle’s mother, and even more development on my favorite characters like Hale & Kat!

Additionally what I adore about Carter’s plots/writing style, like in this short story, is how she leaves clues here and there which makes it so much fun to uncover the secrets/mysteries of the cons and characters as you go.

Kat really revealed her more humorous side in this story which I loved! (She was so funny!) Overall it was just amazing to see how much she grew and see her and crew back again for another heist!!

The mystery and con was planned perfectly. I didn’t know who to trust and there were twists and turns, but it all wrapped up wonderfully in the end.

My only minor issue was some moments of slow pacing and just wanting a little bit more character development (mainly from side characters towards the end).

I adored this novella and my fangirl heart is still processing the amazing-ness of another Heist Society story!!  🎉🎉

Highly recommend if you are a fan of the Heist Society Series or are looking for a fun and fast paced Heist/Con story to read during the holidays!

Book Bytes I #7

Book Bytes is a monthly feature I created to share news in the world of YA!

Each month posts can contain anything from new cover/title reveals, book-to-movie news, even the latest book deals!!

1.Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda Finds A Director!

Becky Allbertali’s debut novel Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, was optioned to be a movie back in 2015! As of September 6, Greg Berlanti, best known for producing/writing for popular DC shows on The CW/CBS such as Legends Of Tommorow, Supergirl, The Flash & Arrow is now set to direct Simon Vs.

Additional info can be found on The Hollywood Reporter article Here!

2.Everything,Everything Officially Filming

The month of September has been filled with behind the scenes pictures from Everything Everything’s movie set!

No release date has been announced yet, so for those of you who haven’t read Nicola’s novel, what are you waiting for? Now’s the perfect time to read it!!

3.Throne Of Glass Headed To Hulu

As of September 7, Sarah J. Maas, author of the NYT Bestselling Throne Of Glass + ACOTAR Series announced her novel Throne Of Glass is in the works to become a TV show for Hulu!

A writer/company/producer are attached to the project, Queen Of Shadows (the show’s title according to news sources) 

Additional info can be found on Deadline’s article Here

4.Red Queen Coloring Book

The NYT Bestseller Red Queen have a coloring book!

Announced September 21, this coloring book will contain scenes and quotes from the series depicted within the pages

Its set to be released December 20, 2016!

 5. Heist Society Movie Updates

Ally Carter author of the Gallagher Girls, Heist Society + Embassy Row Series, recently announced that her novel Heist Society, currently under option with Elizabeth Banks & Mark Handleman at Lionsgate to be adapted as a film, will undergo script rewrites.

As of September 22  The Hollywood Reporter  stated screenwriter Dylan Meyer will “take a second pass at the script.”

Dylan Meyer is best known for her work as a screenwriter on the Netflix film XOXO.

6.Seeker By Veronica Rossi Cover Reveal

Hypable revealed the cover of Seeker, the sequel to Riders. Announced September 30, the article from Hypable contains not only the cover, but also an official summary+excerpt!

Seekers is set to be released May 16, 2017.

What Book News Have You Heard?  🙂

 

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Books You Wish Had Sequels

Top 5 Wednesday BooktubeTop 5 Wednesday is a weekly book/booktube meme hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes

originally from Lainey over @ Gingerreadslainey

To learn more about T5W here is the goodreads group: http://bit.ly/1kmldQ6

For my very 1st T5W I will be listing the Top 5 Books:

I Wish Had Sequels

It was very tough for me to pick these books! There are SO MANY I wish could have sequels!!

Girl-of-Ink-and-Stars5.The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The lyrical writing transports you from page one to the island of Joya! The story while fast paced builds a unique world in such a short amount of time. Once I reached the end, I knew there was so much more of this world to explore!

 

Truest4.Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

Everything about this story was incredible + W/ this novel going into my top all-time favorites +being in my top books of 2016 for sure, I would absolutely love another book w/ Silas & West ❤ ❤

 

Fangirl Rainbow Rowell3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I related to Cath so much in this novel+ really sympathized w/ her struggles of anxiety/shyness etc.!  In true Rainbow Rowell fashion, the story ends just when you want more! So it would be a dream come true to read another book w/ Cath<3 ❤ ❤

 

632.Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Similar to my No.5 pick, the writing is stunning and there is so much to learn about Bone Gap + the people living there + it discusses so many topics that I definitely need more from this world!! ❤ ❤

 

Perfect Scoundrels Ally Carter1.Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society #3)

If you didn’t know Heist Society is the novel that sparked my love of reading! These novels will forever have a special place in my heart!

The story itself is fast-paced, filled action/mystery, adventure + a little romance! ❤

Book 3 definitely has somewhat of an open ending & ever since then (2013) I just keep hoping  Book 4 will become a reality!

Ally has said she hopes she can work on another Heist book sometime in the future!

I would love to read another book w/ Kat & her crew!! ❤ ❤

Any books you wish had sequels? Lets discuss in the comments 🙂