New Releases I Read in the First Half of the Year

Hello readers! How is everyone’s Thursday going? I hope everyone is doing well!

Today I’m going to share with you all the new releases I read in the first half of 2021. I read 9 2021 releases in the first 6 months of the year, which I’m surprised to see! Out of these 9, 6 of them were books I received from Netgalley for review.

I’ll try to give you some of my in-depth thoughts, some of which are good and others are ranty. Please comment down below and let me know if you have read any of these titles!

Before we go any further, I want to disclaim there are affiliate links and ads within this post. When you use my links, you will be supporting my content and I will make a small commission.

This was the very first book I received on Netgalley and I was so excited. I heard about it back in October 2020 and decided I wanted to read it based just on the title.

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry is about a girl named Quinn who keeps all these lists in her journal, like all the times she has ugly cried. One day, she loses said journal and is frantically trying to find out who even took it.

This book is also about being biracial and microagressions. I loved seeing her stand up for herself. Those of you who are biracial readers will probably find some comfort there.

I really enjoyed this book, the plot, and the romance, but it fell short with the grandma. She seemed like such a great character and we barely got to see her! Also, the audiobook they gave me had a robot voice, but this is the only one I have had like that. I’m sure the real one isn’t like that.

I found this book on Libby. Sometimes I just scroll through Libby, not really knowing what I want to read, and this was an available recent title I had never heard of.

This Close to Okay is about a recently divorced therapist named Tallie, who finds a man about to jump from a bridge. He won’t tell her his name, so she names him Bridge.

Over the course of a weekend, he stays at her house and she finds his name is Emmett.She is keeping from him that she is a therapist and he also has a big secret he won’t tell her.

I really enjoyed the first 70ish percent of the book, then thought the end fell short. Things were finally revealed and then both people were upset for maybe 5 pages before we just moved on. I think the ending could have been flushed out more and much longer.

This is the 2nd book I received from Netgalley. I read Never Have I Ever by this author and really enjoyed it, so when I saw this book, I had to try for it! This one’s audiobook is read by the author herself.

I LOVED this book. Never Have I Ever was good, but this was better. It is a story about an old woman kidnapping the MCs baby. The MC, Bree, has to do anything and everything the lady says to get her child back. The synopsis of this book makes you think there is a paranormal element, there is not. Not a bad thing, just a statement. I think Never Have I Ever’s description was also misleading.

I do want to warn you if you haven’t read this book, please look at the trigger warnings before you go in. The main center of this story is an old lady who has kidnapped Bree’s child and a few others. She describes killing, drowning, and many other acts of babies, so please be weary going in. There are other trigger warnings that I won’t mention because of spoilers. I have a Goodreads user linked at the bottom of EVERY post where you can find any and all trigger warning needs if you add them.

This was the very first Netgalley book I received that was an ebook. It is about two sisters who meet one another at a getaway. Jamie knows about Siri, but Siri doesn’t remember Jamie ever existed (more on that later). The synopsis says its Freaky Friday meets The Parent Trap and that is an accurate description, however, it didn’t need both things. They literally switch places and then randomly switch bodies after.

I truly, honestly despised every minute of reading this book. The first 25% of the book was the two of them meeting, vomiting for no reason and uncontrollably screaming instead of talking. It was really weird and so awkward.

I really didn’t like the cursing thing either. I am not against cursing, just the way it was done in this book. Jamie would over curse, for example she says, “HOLY FUCKING BUCKET SHITBALLS JESUS CHRIST MARY JOSEPH.” Then, Siri would do this sort of opposite cursing. Instead of saying fucking, she would say intercoursing, or instead of shit, she would say excrement. Why couldn’t she just say crap or shoot instead of shit like a normal person?

THEN, there is the fact that Siri was told by her mother that Jamie was her imaginary friend her whole life, which is actual gaslighting and was never addressed.

Also, Siri is a fan of Game of Thrones. It really surprised me when she said their Mom read her Game of Thrones and skipped over all the sex and violent bits. I know she took that from Maisie Willaim’s actual life, which I thought was weird.

For the plot, we got to the point where they wanted to switch places, and do the parent trap thing, even though they are not twins. They were together for a week on this trip before the switch and didn’t even communicate and get to know one another at all. They threw themselves into each other’s lives in such a chaotic way. After all the switching, she added in the freaky Friday trope, and it wasn’t needed. Just because you CAN combine two things doesn’t mean you SHOULD. They were already in the process of switching, so why did we need that?

PLEASE read this book if you have not!

In this one, Amari finds her way into a paranormal school after her adult brother has went missing. He used to go to this school, too, so she hopes to find out where he went now that she can go.

The police assume her brother was a drug dealer and refuse to search for him.

This book was about a girl who wanted to find her brother, but also brought up tough topics like racism AND bullying.

In my opinion, this book will one day be considered a classic! I just can’t believe this a debut novel. BB Alston wrote a wonderfully magic story and I am dying for the next one.

This is a middle grade book about a girl whose entire life was about ballet. She ends up injuring herself and can no longer do ballet.

She grieves her past life so much. All of her friends were in ballet and it was her whole world. This was a wonderful story about grief without it being about death. She becomes very depressed and has to move on and find something new to love.

I received this one from Netgalley, too. It took me such a long time to read and get into it. I think the first 70% of it is so slow and plotless, but it picks up right at the end.

It could’ve been MUCH shorter, which is something I almost never say. There was a ton of twists at the end and the actual ending was my favorite part. However, I can see why so many people DNF’d this book because it is VERY slow to start.

I have read over 20 books by P.C. Cast, so I was VERY excited for this book release. I tried for 5 months to get this ARC.

Usually, Cast’s characters are the best part of her books. They have really great interactions and form amazing friendships. Not here, though. I thought most of the dialogue was awkward. Most of the characters were flat, except the aunt that could turn into a cat. She was the best and only great character!

One of the sisters has this boyfriend who is VERY douche-y and it’s the type of relationships I HATE in YA. Teens do not need to see toxic relationships in their books. In her series Tales of a New World, Mari and Nik has this really healthy relationship that was iconic and needs to be in MORE YA books, but this one didn’t have that.

This book needed better character development, more pages, and a better magic system!

If you are thinking of trying out P.C. Cast, PLEASE try Tales of a New World instead of this.

I actually read this ARC right after it came out. I had an audiobook and I just don’t have much to say about it.

It is about Mariana, whose niece has been murdered at this college. Everyone assumed it was a certain person, until another murder happens and he is locked away.

I think it was just a slow read. It didn’t have that much about The Maidens, which I expected more of, seems how the book is called The Maidens. The twist was unexpected, but still didn’t work much for me. I will be keeping an eye out in the future for Michaelides’s next book, but this one was a miss.


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