Monday, April 30, 2018

In a Nutshell Reviews - Dark Side Edition

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights. Both these books are on the grittier side for me. They involve the drug world, violence, and even murder. Yes, very different from the fluff I normally like to ingest, yet, I enjoyed them both.


White Rabbit 
Caleb Roehrig
Series: n/a
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
Rufus Holt is having the worst night of his life. It begins with the reappearance of his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian—the guy who stomped his heart out like a spent cigarette. Just as Rufus is getting ready to move on, Sebastian turns up out of the blue, saying they need to "talk." Things couldn’t get much worse, right?

But then Rufus gets a call from his sister April, begging for help. And then he and Sebastian find her, drenched in blood and holding a knife, beside the dead body of her boyfriend, Fox Whitney.

April swears she didn’t kill Fox—but Rufus knows her too well to believe she’s telling him the whole truth. April has something he needs, though, and her price is his help. Now, with no one to trust but the boy he wants to hate yet can’t stop loving, Rufus has one night to prove his sister’s innocence…or die trying.
I was really excited to see that Roehrig was releasing another YA mystery-thriller, because I had lots of love for his debut, Last Seen Leaving, and was looking forward to reading more of his work. Here's a round of applause to Roehrig for avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump with White Rabbit, which was a total page turner for me.
  • Pro: Rufus was all sorts of good stuff. He was witty and sarcastic, but also slightly damaged due to some unfortunate life events, such as his "half" family making his life miserable, being outed, and his ex-boyfriend forgetting to tell him he broke up with him.  He was an underdog I could totally get behind. 
  • Pro: As far as exes go, Sebastian was one worth fighting for. There was great chemistry between him and Rufus, and their romance was one that made me smile. This Scooby mission revealed a lot about a myriad of characters, but I was most pleased with the personal journey Bash went on and the resolution he reached. 
  • Pro: Once again, Roehrig blended so many wonderful things together to deliver a great story. The main focus, of course, was the murder mystery, but there was also romance, self discovery, and the exploration of family dynamics. This was one of the things I really enjoyed about his last book, and enjoyed, once again, in this book. 
  • Pro: The story had a lot of great twists and turns and head shaking moments. I loved the way the whole story was kept just out of reach. I would think I had a handle on the whole situation, and then something would be revealed, which sowed the seeds of doubt in my mind. I also loved how each new piece of information was accompanied by some sordid secret. I am always up for a mystery shrouded in delicious drama. 
  • Pro: I am not going to pretend that the mystery was my favorite part, because if you know me, you know how much I love romance, and I was shipping Bash and Rufus the whole time. There were these flashbacks, which showed me the beginning of their romance, before Bash betrayed Rufus, and I wanted that back for them so badly. And yeah, there were swoons too. 
  • Pro: This book was sort of dark, so I really appreciated the way Roehrig gave us some lighter moments as well as some really touching and heartwarming moments too. 
  • Pro: Me and endings have a love-hate relationship, but I am putting this one in the love column. Lots of answers, lots of closure, and it left me satisfied and with a little bit of a smile on my face. 
Overall: A throughly enjoyable mashup of murder, mystery, suspense, romance and family drama, which made me laugh, rage, gasp, and swoon.



All Out of Pretty
Ingrid Palmer
Series: n/a
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Creston Books
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
How do you know who to trust? Can you even trust yourself, your own instincts, and choices? Andrea, or "Bones" as her mom calls her, thinks of herself as smart, but intelligence only gets you so far and she finds herself nowhere near as smart or as tough as she thought.

"All Out of Pretty" is a gripping, thoughtful look at one girl's journey to figuring out what really matters to her and how to take care of herself in a world where there are no responsible adults for her to rely on. Do you use your looks or your brains? Your stubbornness or flexibility? How do you survive a drug-addict mother and her dealer boyfriend? Andrea's voice will pull you along from the first sentence of this emotional roller-coaster of a book.
This book took me into a world of drugs and violence, and chronicled one girl's attempt to maintain those things she valued, while trying to survive her circumstances.
  • Pro: Andrea was one of the greatest strengths of this book. Even when she was making poor choices, and I was shouting for her to STOP!, I still couldn't abandon her, because I understood that it was desperation driving her decisions, and it made me sad, filled me with rage, and appealed to my empathetic side. 
  • Pro: Gram was a wonderful and beautiful person, and I was so brokenhearted when Andrea lost her, because when she lost Gram, she lost her world and the future she was determined to hold onto. 
  • Con: This as a really tough read. Maybe it wouldn't be as realistic, but I wish there had been a few more bright spots to even out all the darkness.  
  • Pro/Con: Andrea's mother was the most deplorable and selfish person. I absolutely detested her. So, I guess Palmer did a great job creating that hot mess of a character. 
  • Pro: There are some scenes, which had my heart pounding. I was really invested in Andrea, and it was harrowing to read some of the passages, and helplessly stand by as she was forced to suffer though some harrowing situations.  
  • Con: We DID get some closure with the ending, and I was left feeling like things were moving in the right direction, but I would have liked a bigger jump ahead or something. I really wanted to know how Andrea made out. 
  • Pro: One super bright spot in this book was the Masterson family. They offered some comfort for Andrea, became her allies, and I just loved them.
  • Pro: I mean this in an "I can't look away" type of thing - this book reminded me of one of those Lifetime movies. You know the ones, where you are looking at the dark side of things, and thanking your lucky stars that it's not your life. It's disturbing, but at the same time, so compelling.   
Overall: An emotional, dark, and gritty look at the affects of addiction, and the lengths some must go to in order to survive that world.

** ARCs received in exchange for honest reviews.









Have you read any of these books?
Let us know in the comments!

40 comments:

  1. I've seen some mixed reviews for White Rabbit so I haven't been too sure on that one but I know I'd enjoy a lot of your pro points so perhaps I will have to consider picking it up sometime. I've never heard of All Out of Pretty! I like a dark read now and again. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This book was very much in the style of Roehig's last book, which I enjoyed. If people weren't into his style, then they probably wouldn't enjoy this one either.

      Delete
  2. All Out of Pretty sounds interesting. I love that even through everything you are rooting for the characters. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All Out of Pretty could have been great, if the author had done a little more for me at the end. It really needed a jump ahead, because I suffered so much with Andrea. I deserved to know more about her ending.

      Delete
  3. Ugh, I get so heartbroken by stories of teenagers who parents are just terrible and selfish and even useless, and the kid has to learn how to take care of themselves, far too early. All Out of Pretty sounds like one I would be angry about while I was reading it, but would probably ultimately like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a tough read. And there were these times, where you thought she was going to be able to escape it all, and BAM! She's back in the same dismal situation. It was heartbreaking for sure.

      Delete
  4. So happy to hear that White Rabbit was a winner for you! I was on the fence because of the last book, but I can't turn down a good mystery. I LIVE for twists!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel like this book was very much in the style of his last book. I really liked the last book, and I thought he kept that whole tale going to the very last page too. White Rabbit may not work for you if you were not a fan of LSL.

      Delete
  5. Some of these dark, issue-y books are the best. I’ve heard good things about White Rabbit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I struggle with darker books, but both had a strong cast and solid plots, which kept me reading.

      Delete
  6. I haven't read either of these books yet. I am hearing so many great things about White Rabbit and I really should get to reading it soon. I think that I will pass on All Out of Pretty, as it doesn't seem like one that I would enjoy that much, either. Love the short and sweet reviews. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a White Rabbit fan. Roehig's strength, for me, is in the relationships he builds in his stories, and I was a fan of Bash and Rufus.

      Delete
  7. I read Roehrig’s first book it was good, but the mystery was a little off, sounds like that was kind of the case with White Rabbit. Still it sounds good. The second one sounds too dark for me, I will pass. Thanks for the helpful reviews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not a hard core mystery reader, so I probably don't pick them apart as much as other readers, but I am a fan of the story as a whole. His characters and their journey coupled with the mystery provided me with some great entertainment.

      Delete
  8. I didn't know you were into dark books. I like the sound of White Rabbit actually. I like a good mystery but it seems a little debatable. I think I will give it a try regardless. All Out of Pretty just doesn't sound like one for me though, so I am going to skip over it. Too many cons meddled with the good...

    My recent post: http://oliviascatastrophe.com/2018/04/how-to-maintain-a-steady-blog-schedule/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dark books are not my go-to, but I mix it up a little if the story sounds interesting enough.

      Delete
  9. White Rabbit has had me curious, I keep seeing it appear here and there and it looks different and a little intense. I think I need to get it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roehig actually does a good job of balancing the emotions in the book, which is why I liked both his books

      Delete
  10. I wasn't really sure about White Rabbit when I first stumbled upon me but you just might have convinced me with your review! It sounds like something I'd rather enjoy. All Out of Pretty looks so promising, though it's a pity it didn't live up to your expectations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always like the way Roehig blends the romantic drama with a murder.

      Delete
  11. White Rabbit is one I just found out about and I want I want I want! I'm so thrilled it left such an impression on you! I'm all excited now!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It mixes a lot of elements in a great way.

      Delete
  12. White Rabbit sounds pretty good! YA AND a murder mystery? Not a very common combination but definitely something that is worth to check out. Especially after your thoughtful review.

    Ronnie @ Paradise Found

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both his books were YA mysteries with coming out stories. Seems odd, but they worked for me.

      Delete
  13. I didn't love White Rabbit as much as his debut (the mystery didn't quite work for me) but I absolutely adore how he writes characters and messy relationships.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My favorite parts of both books were the romances. 😍

      Delete
  14. Rufus in White Rabbit sounds like such a great character. I'm really glad to hear you enjoyed this story. I've read a couple of so-so reviews but I'm definitely still interested in reading it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rufus had some really tangled family ties, and he had a great voice.

      Delete
  15. White Rabbit sounds pretty cool! I'm not one for mystery/thriller type books but I think I could give this a go. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't call myself a mystery reader, but I like how he blends in the romance and coming of age parts.

      Delete
  16. I think you've just sold me on White Rabbit. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a fan of the genre mishmash thing Roehrig does so well

      Delete
  17. White Rabbit sounds so good. I am kind of fancying a good mystery after reading a few different reviews for a few so this sounds like a good one to have on the radar. The fact the characters are interesting and the mystery itself sounds like it's well done means I am definitely adding that to the TBR.

    All Out of Pretty definitely sounds like a darker read and a tough one as well. I'm intrigued but it doesn't sound like it's exactly enjoyable with it's like of bright spots making this sound a bit like it's a bleak read. It's good that you were gripped by it and couldn't look away, that shows it catches your attention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All Out of Pretty is quite dark, as the source material is dark. White Rabbit worked really well for me, and I think it is because it combinesd romance and mystery

      Delete
  18. I've been meaning to read Roehrig. This sounds like an intriguing YA thriller!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a fan of his mystery-romance-coming out fusion thing

      Delete
  19. I have not read any of these books. I am currently reading Obsidio and is pretty amazing!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I cried a lot during Obsidio, but was happy with the outcome. I will miss that series.

      Delete
  20. Two very different books, but I must admit I'm partial to White Rabbit more -- Rufus and Sebastian I need to get my hands on them! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've always heard good things about Caleb's books but I still haven't read any of them. I like that White Rabbit combines mystery & romance, which are two of my favorites. Rufus and Sebastian also sound like great characters. I'll have to add it to my TBR!

    ReplyDelete