The Deceivers by Margaret Peterson Haddix

GoodReads Summary:
Until their mother vanished, the Greystone kids—Chess, Emma, and Finn—knew nothing about the other world.
Everything is different there. It’s a mirror image, except things are wrong. Evil. Their mother tried to fix it, but she and an ally got trapped there along with Ms. Morales, their friend Natalie’s mom.
Now the four kids—brave Chess, smart Emma, kind Finn, and savvy Natalie—are determined to rescue everyone.
To do so, they have to go back: into the other world, where even telling the truth can be illegal.
But in such a terrifying place, Chess doubts he can ever be brave enough. Despite all her brains, Emma can’t seem to break the code. With everything spiraling out of control, Finn has to pretend he’s okay.
And for Natalie, the lies of the other world include some she wishes were actually true. What if she’s gotten so used to lying she no longer knows what to believe?
The second book in the Greystone Secrets series, The Deceivers, by bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix, continues the twisty and suspenseful story of the Greystone kids and examines the power of the truth—or a lie—to alter lives, society, and even an entire reality
Greystone Secrets #2: The DeceiversReview:
While I really enjoyed this book, I definitely liked the first book better. (Read my short review of the first book here.) I think this book suffered from telling instead of showing, though this got better toward the end.
We’re following Chess, Emma, Finn, and Natalie as their living with Natalie’s dad and trying to figure out how to save their mothers. After everything went wrong at the end of the last book, they’ve lost their way into the other reality and need to figure out how to get back so they can rescue their mothers. I thought the kids being able to figure out their mother’s message and another way to get to them was interesting. But once they get into the other world, they spend much of their time watching and trying to decipher the rest of the letter from their mother. While Emma is decoding the letter, the others watch cameras trying to figure out what was going on around them. Chess, Emma, and Finn spend most of this book hiding inside secret passages while Natalie impersonated her doppelganger. So, while Natalie’s chapters were exciting and full of new things, the other three were left to watch and stew in their inner thoughts.
Overall, this was still a really fun story and I enjoyed it. I’m definitely excited to see what’s going to happen next in this series. I think this is a great middle-grade series and I wish I saw more in the book community talking about it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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GoodReads Summary:
Told in alternating points of view from Chess, Emma, and Finn Greystone, Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers is the beginning of a new page-turning adventure that examines assumptions about identity, family, and home, from the master of middle grade suspense.
What makes you you?
The Greystone kids thought they knew. Chess has always been the protector over his younger siblings, Emma loves math, and Finn does what Finn does best—acting silly and being adored. They’ve been a happy family, just the three of them and their mom.
But everything changes when reports of three kidnapped children—who share the same first and middle names, ages, and exact birth dates as the Greystone kids—reach the Greystone family. This bizarre coincidence makes them wonder: Who exactly are these strangers? Before Chess, Emma, and Finn can question their mom about it, she takes off on a mysterious work trip. But puzzling clues left behind lead to complex codes, hidden rooms, and a dangerous secret that will turn their world upside down.
The Strangers (Greystone Secrets, #1)Review:
The Strangers was such a fun and suspenseful story. I loved Haddix’s books when I was growing up so now that I’ve been starting to read middle-grade books again I had to get this when I saw it. I’m so glad that I did.
The Strangers was wholesome and bizarre in the best ways. I thought this was just going to be a fun mystery, which it was, but it took a turn toward science fiction that I was not expecting, but definitely loved.
I adored all three kids that we follow. Emma was smart and clever, but still very clearly loved her siblings and mom. Chess was the oldest and felt responsible for all the others, even though he really shouldn’t have all that weight on him. I liked Finn most of all. He was the youngest and always being underestimated. He played a role just as important as the others.
I loved how obvious their love for one another was. And their love for their mother fueled their mission. I also really enjoyed how they got Natalie in on helping them.
Overall, this book was an absolute delight. I really had fun reading it. The characters were easy to love. I definitely suggest this one to anyone that liked middle-grade books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Sensory Memories

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish. This week is top ten books with sensory reading memories. I was going to skip this topic this week and choose my own, but Antonia helped me see that I have more books that fit this topic than I originally thought. Here’s my top ten for this week in no particular order.

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1. The Ugly Duckling by Iris Johansen – My Nana showed me this book when I was a teenager. It’s one of the books that helped me become the bookworm I am today. I have such good memories of sitting in my Popa’s chair reading this book.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling – This book came out right before I went to summer camp and I brought it with me. I ended up reading it aloud to all the girls in my cabin throughout the three weeks that I was there and we ended up having like ten extra girls come to our cabin so that they could listen too.
3. Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer – This book came out on my birthday. I had it preordered and didn’t think I would actually get it on my birthday. I was so excited when I saw it on my front step after coming home from my best friend’s house. I tried to read it as soon as I got home, but I hadn’t slept the night before and so I fell asleep reading.
4. Looking for Alaska by John Green – Will forever make me think of my husband. He showed me this book in high school. I remember seeing it on his bookshelf the first time I ever went to his house. It’s been my favorite book since he let me borrow his that day so long ago.
5. Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer – Antonia and I sort of became friends because of this book. She was staying at my house because she was friends with my step sister. They fought about something dumb and so Antonia asked what I was reading and she climbed up into my bed (I had a bunk bed) and we read this book together and have been friends ever since.
6. The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – Antonia and I have read most of these books aloud to one another. We call it story time. Between the six books and our two bedrooms, I have so many memories of us reading to one another, passing the book back and forth between chapters to switch off whose reading.
7. House of Night by P.C. and Kristen Cast – I used to go on vacation with Antonia and her family every year for Memorial Day Weekend. One of the trips we spent pretty much the entire time in our beds in our cabin reading whatever the newest HON book had come out.
8. The Argeneau Series by Lynsay Sands – I don’t remember which book in this series it was but I went to high school with some typically immature boys. Said boys loved to steal my books (Antonia’s too when we had lunch together) and find the sex scenes and read them out loud. Sands books have some particularly descriptive sex scenes and the boys ate it up.
9. The Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne – I was absolutely obsessed with this series when I was growing up. I ate these books up. My dad couldn’t buy the next one fast enough for my liking. I have such good memories of sitting in my yard reading this series in the summertime or by the fireplace in the winter.
10. The Shadow Children Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix – I remember spending way too many nights staying up too late with my closet light on, always keeping an ear out for my dad coming down the hallway. I also remember spending copious amounts of time in my middle school library reading these books.

I had more fun with this week’s post than I thought I was going to. I didn’t think I was even going to come up with ten books for this topic, but I actually have a few more that I could add but won’t. What books remind you of good bookish memories?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.