Search
Close this search box.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

Book Review: The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry | Jest Kept Secret

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my affiliate policy here.  Title: The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place Author: Julie Berry Genre: YA Mystery Content Warning: Thematic elements (It’s a murder mystery. There are dead people.) Blurb There’s a murderer on the loose—but that doesn’t stop the girls of St. Etheldreda’s from attempting to hide the death of their headmistress in this rollicking farce. The students of St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home—unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong. The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is a smart, hilarious Victorian romp, full of outrageous plot twists, mistaken identities, and mysterious happenings. – Goodreads My Thoughts This was FUN. This sisterhood is one I’d love to be a part of. The characters are one dimensional, but it’s by design and it works really well. The plot jumps from one crisis to the next, just like any good mystery romper should. The humor is perfectly timed and delivered, and the twist ending was a complete surprise but totally believable. It was a great ride from start to finish, and I want more. Score:   And don’t forget to save this book to your Pinterest reading list! Thanks!

Girl Online

Book Review: Girl Online by Zoe Sugg | Jest Kept Secret

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my affiliate policy here.  Title: Girl Online Author: Zoe Sugg Genre: YA Contemporary Content Warning: Mild language Blurb Penny has a secret. Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family – and the panic attacks she’s suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love – and capturing every moment of it on her blog. But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever. – Goodreads My Thoughts I read this book on the recommendation of a young friend of mine, and it was surprisingly cute. Is it formulaic? Absolutely. Is it cheesy? You betcha. Is it little more than teenaged chick lit? Totally. And yet, I really enjoyed it. Penny is remarkably relatable for me—she’s a photographer, blogger, clutz, anxiety sufferer, and a hopeless romantic experiencing love for the first time. I loved her family and how loving and supportive they were, and Penny’s BFF, Elliot, is adorable. And although I guessed the truth about Noah pretty much right off the bat, it was still fun to watch their relationship unfold. Maybe I liked this because I read this so close to having my own whirlwind romance, but whatever. I enjoyed it. Score:   And don’t forget to save this book to your Pinterest reading list! Thanks!

Bloody Jack

Book Review: Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer | Jest Kept Secret

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my affiliate policy here.  Title: Bloody Jack Author: L.A. Meyer Series: Bloody Jack #1 Genre: YA Historical Fiction Content Warning: Thematic elements, mild language, and war violence Blurb Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy Life as a ship’s boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas. There’s only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life–if only she doesn’t get caught. . . . – Goodreads My Thoughts I had never heard of this series before, but when I found it listed as a free-to-stream audiobook on Audible Channels, I thought I’d give it a try. I’m really glad I did—what a fun book! Jacky is quite the protagonist: saucy (yet insecure), resourceful, loyal, and funny. Her relationships with the other ships boys lead to plenty of humor, and the sailors aboard the ship provide a motley cast of mentors, bullies, creeps, and heroes. I will definitely read more of this series. Score:   And don’t forget to save this book to your Pinterest reading list! Thanks!

The Red Queen

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard | Jest Kept Secret

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my affiliate policy here.  Title: The Red Queen Author: Victoria Aveyard Series: Red Queen #1 Genre: YA Fantasy Content Warning: Mild language and violence (war) Blurb This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime. But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart. – Goodreads My Thoughts Whoa. I liked this. Some of the violence was a tad graphic for my taste, but the writing was decent and the story was intriguing. I liked the concept of power (superhuman abilities) being tied to blood, and I liked the creative variety of abilities that exist in this world. The villains were pretty dastardly, but I did see it coming a mile away. There were also a few plot points that felt a little forced or convenient. But it was a fun, compelling read that kept me turning the pages (well, listening). You’ll like this if you liked the Hunger Games (which I didn’t), Divergent (which I did), or Red Rising (which I didn’t). Apparently, these sorts of books are hit and miss for me. This one happened to be a hit. Score:   And don’t forget to save this book to your Pinterest reading list! Thanks!

Along for the Ride

Book Review: Along for the Ride | Jest Kept Secret

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my affiliate policy here.  Title: Along for the Ride Author: Sarah Dessen Genre: YA Contemporary Content Warning: PG-13 for mild language and one implied sexual encounter Blurb It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live. A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend. In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect. – Goodreads My Thoughts One of the reasons I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction is because the characters tend to be quite flat. One of the reasons I make an exception for Sarah Dessen is because her characters are dimensional, realistic beings that I spend more time rooting for than rolling my eyes at. Along for the Ride is no exception: Auden is a smart girl who judges too quickly. Eli is a quiet, contemplative guy who doesn’t fall into the brooding boy cliché. The girls Auden meets while working at her stepmother’s boutique come across as vapid and shallow at first, but as Auden gets to know them, we learn that they’re smart, kind, and supportive. Dessen has also done an excellent job of worldbuilding across the novels I’ve read by her. Colby is a touristy beach town, but by focusing on the “real” people who live there, Dessen creates a setting that is believable and interesting, not kitschy and formulaic. Along for the Ride didn’t quite have the impact that Saint Anything had for me, but it was an enjoyable story with a variety of great relationships. Score:   And don’t forget to save this book to your Pinterest reading list! Thanks!

The Scorpio Races

Book Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater | Jest Kept Secret

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my affiliate policy here.  Title: The Scorpio Races Author: Maggie Stiefvater Genre: YA Fantasy Content Warning: PG-13 for violence and brief strong language Blurb It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen. – Goodreads My Thoughts YESSSSSSS!!!! THIS is exactly the sort of Stiefvater book I have been craving for years. It has her typical beautiful, heartbreaking prose with themes that make me weak in the knees. It has solid, likable characters and actually scary villains. It has horses written by someone who clearly knows what she’s talking about. It has romance built on friendship and friendships built on not being romantic. And best of all, she finally, finally, finally gave me the climax deserving of all that rising action. Score:   And don’t forget to save this book to your reading list on Pinterest!

Saint Anything

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my affiliate policy here.  Title: Saint Anything Author: Sarah Dessen Genre: YA Contemporary Content Warning: Mild language and underage drinking Blurb Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident? Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time. The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans. – Goodreads My Thoughts The only other book I have read by Sarah Dessen was Lock and Key, which I won in a giveaway hosted by YA Highway several years ago. I’ve never really felt drawn to contemporary fiction, but I enjoyed that one and always meant to read more of Dessen’s work. But Saint Anything just turned me into an official Sarah Dessen fangirl. I could not put it down. Reading Sydney’s voice was like reading my own, even though our experiences are vastly different. Her journey to find healing after someone else’s bad decisions is a realistic blend of frustrating moments and funny ones. The cast was spectacular, the writing was solid, and the story was so very good. Score:  

Finnikin of the Rock

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my affiliate policy here.  Title: Finnikin of the Rock Author: Melina Marchetta Series: Lumatere Chronicles Genre: YA Fantasy Content Warning: Some violence (not graphic), mild language, and sexuality Blurb Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive. Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father. But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin’s faith in her . . . but in himself. – Goodreads Thoughts This is my third time reading this book, and I still love it just as much as I did the first time. In fact, maybe I love it a little more now than I did then, since I always seem to get something new out of it during a re-read. I love the characters. I love the world building. I love the promise of hope even during so much darkness and pain. I love the feminist angle I can actually get behind: Evanjalin is strong without Finnikin, but they are stronger together. I love how the book doesn’t sugarcoat any aspect of displacement or war, but still brings so much joy by focusing on healing and love and hope. I LOVE Finnikin of the Rock. I haven’t read the rest of this series, partly because I’m a little afraid I won’t love it as much as I love the first book. Trilogies usually disappoint me. But I’ve read other books by Marchetta and every single one of them is on my list of favorite books, so maybe it’s time I finished the series… Score: This will always, always be  

The Chaos of Stars

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my affiliate policy here.  Title: The Chaos of Stars Author: Kiersten White Genre: YA Fantasy Content Warning: Mild language and a few crude jokes Blurb Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of Paranormalcy, is back with The Chaos of Stars—an enchanting novel set in Egypt and San Diego that captures the magic of first love and the eternally complicated truth about family. Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you’re the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she’s only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there’s no such thing as a clean break from family. Blending Ally Carter’s humor and the romance of Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly, The Chaos of Stars takes readers on an unforgettable journey halfway across the world and back, and proves there’s no place like home. – Goodreads My Thoughts I didn’t love this quite as much as White’s Paranormalcy series or Mind Games, but it was still pretty enjoyable. I liked the main character a lot and related to her on many levels. The cast of supporting characters was varied and well-done, and I enjoyed their friendship with Isadora. Ry, the love interest, was a bit too perfect for my taste and seemed really unrealistic, and his “big surprise” at the end wasn’t much of a surprise. But I liked the weaving of myth throughout the narrative and enjoyed watching the relationships between the characters evolve. The plot was well-paced, the writing was solid, and the climax was exciting. This was a fun, easy read. Score:  

Personally, we're big fans of good ol' chocolate chip, but we do use digital cookies to improve your experience with Jest Kept Secret and help the website function smoothly. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our privacy policy.