Read-With-Us Giveaway 2019

Just a friendly reminder that we have a Giveaway that runs nearly all of 2019!

Entries can be made daily between March 30 and November 30.

Up to 3 winners will be selected and may choose one of the dozens of books we’ll review this year as their prize.

Open internationally.

Just go to the Giveaways page for all the details.

The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan

The Serpent’s Shadow

Author: Rick Riordan
Series: The Kane Chronicles #3
Reviewer: Marlou


He’s b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sadie Kane can’t seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. The Kanes’ only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent’s own shadow into a weapon, but the magic has been lost for a millennia. To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent’s shadow . . . or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld. Nothing less than the mortal world is at stake when the Kane family fulfills its destiny in this thrilling conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“If you’re listening to this, congratulations! You survived Doomsday.
I’d like to apologize straightaway for any inconvenience the end of the world may have caused you. The earthquakes, rebellions, riots, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, and of course the giant snake who swallowed the sun—I’m afraid most of that was our fault. Carter and I decided we should at least explain how it happened.”

What a book. Lovely. Tragic. Suspenseful. Funny. Need I go on?

Rick Riordan did it again. I was getting stuck in a reading slump and his books helped me right out of that.

Rick would not be Rick if there weren’t very funny moments when they’re in very serious situations.

Exhibit A:“‘There’s my baby!’ I cried, quite carried away. ‘There’s my Poochiekins!’

Ammit ran at me and leaped into my arms, nuzzling me with his rough snout.
‘My lord Osiris!’ Disturber lost the bottom of his scroll again, which unraveled around his legs. ‘This is an outrage!’

‘Sadie,’ Dad said firmly, ‘please do not refer to the Devourer of Souls as Poochiekins.’”

Uncle Rick also gives some very nice advice from time to time. “Dealing with any man means dealing with multiple personalities.” I mean, good to know right?

There was one thing in the book, just a small little thing, that got me thinking for a bit: “‘And if someone doesn’t believe in any afterlife?’ I asked.
Walt gave me a sad look. ‘Then that’s what they experience.’”

Just saying, but this makes total sense to me. People are always saying there can only exist one god/religion but that’s crap. I’m not saying god/gods exist the way Riordan writes it, but I do think that all the gods can coexist or that all the religions are just different stories about the same divine being(s). Alright, I’ll shut up about this now.

This book was lovely. It was a great book and it made for a great end to the trilogy. I think my favorite book was the first one (The Red Pyramid), because the story was all new and I liked Set better as the villain.

Other books in this series

Nemesis by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge


Author: Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
Series: Circuit Fae #4
Reviewer: Renee


What would you do if your beloved girlfriend suddenly became your worst enemy? That dilemma’s all too real for Syl Skye.

As the last princess of the fair Fae, Syl is all things brightness and sun and white flame. But even though she’s Summer incarnate, she’s drawn to Rouen Rivoche, the dark Fae princess-assassin of the Winter Court.

They should be mortal enemies, but they’re best friends. Girlfriends. In love.

That is, until an old enemy puts Roue under a dark spell that makes her forget all about Syl, their lives and their love. Now Roue rules Dark Faerie as a cruel and cold Queen, and she wants nothing more than to destroy Syl and her fair Fae people. 

Worse, both opposing Faerie realms stand on the brink of utter destruction, and only their queens, Syl and Rouen, can save them—and only if they can put their differences aside for two seconds and fight together as allies.

But how can you fight against an enemy when your true nemesis is on your team?

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Spoiler warning: this review contains minor spoilers for the series, but none for this specific book. If you’ve read this far in the series, you’re good to go.

Every book in this series gets better, and Nemesis is no exception. I discovered this series right before Inimical (book 3) released. If you’ve read this far in the series, you know that is the WORST one to end on because of what happens to Rouen. It was painful waiting for an entire year for the next main installment after reading 1 – 3 back to back. I’m so excited Nemesis is here and we can finally save Rouen! (I hope!)

Nemesis is shorter than the other books in the series but so much happens! There’s lots of action and tension since, you know, Dark Rouen wants to eliminate Syl and take over all of Faerie. Do yourself a favor and read it in one sitting. Don’t get to about 50 pages from the end and have to go to bed so you can go to work because that is NOT a good stopping point! 😅

Throughout Nemesis, we get background information on some characters we’ve met before, meet a handful of new ones, and the dark Fae kids return! The background info-reveals affect both Syl and Rouen which changes how they tackle their current situation. I suspected who a character really was when they were first introduced in an earlier book and I celebrated when I found out I was right…then I read a few more sentences and DID NOT SEE THAT COMING! 😱 Celebration to shock in 3 sentences.

Per usual, Syl and Rouen are excellent together. Their entertaining banter lightens the tense action scenes, even with Rouen under a spell. I really loved Rouen’s struggle now that her dark side is in control. She remembers her feelings for Syl but her dark side wants more power and doesn’t really care about Syl. Enter Jarden (yes, that puca!!) who decides to gift Rouen with a way to control Syl and become Overqueen of all Faerie. Rouen’s dark side can’t turn down the offer of more power, even though Rouen knows Jarden can’t be trusted. It’s never good when Jarden enters the picture and you know it’s terrible for Syl that she’s helping Rouen.

Syl learns the fair Fae will wake soon and thinks it’s great because they can stop the dark Fae. Then she learns both Faerie realms will perish in seven days when they wake. It’s not a lot of time, especially when Dark Rouen knows she has to kill Syl to prevent Faerie Armageddon and has no problem doing it.

During all this chaos, Syl and Rouen also grow in their relationship. Syl refuses to give up on Rouen even though Dark Rouen has control and decides Syl is a rival to eliminate. Rouen struggles between her feelings for Syl and trying to be the queen her people need. Syl learns some things about Rouen that impact their relationship, but they work through all this while also trying to figure out how to save their people. The ending is perfect.

There are a couple loose ends (mostly, I’m not giving up on a certain character who got swept up in one of the battles!). I’m assuming these will be handled in the final book which releases in 2020. I hope it ends with them on a Disneyland trip because they deserve a vacation after all this. 😉

Other books in this series

The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

The Throne of Fire

Author: Rick Riordan
Series: The Kane Chronicles #2
Reviewer: Marlou


Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt were unleashed in the modern world, Carter Kane and his sister Sadie have been in trouble. As descendants of the House of Life, the Kanes have some powers at their command, but the devious gods haven’t given them much time to master their skills at Brooklyn House, which has become a training ground for young magicians. 

And now their most threatening enemy yet – the chaos snake Apophis – is rising. If they don’t prevent him from breaking free in a few days’ time, the world will come to an end. In other words, it’s a typical week for the Kane family. 

To have any chance of battling the Forces of Chaos, the Kanes must revive the sun god Ra. But that would be a feat more powerful than any magician has ever accomplished. 

First they have to search the world for the three sections of the Book of Ra, then they have to learn how to chant its spells. Oh, and did we mention that no one knows where Ra is exactly? 

Narrated in two different wisecracking voices, featuring a large cast of new and unforgettable characters, and with adventures spanning the globe, this second installment in the Kane Chronicles is nothing short of a thrill ride. 

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Words are the source of all power. And names are more than just a collection of letters.”

Took me a while to finish this book. Not because I didn’t want to finish it, but simply because I was doing other things. I did want to finish this book. It was so good. A solid 4 stars from me.

I think I liked the first book a bit more than the second one. I did appreciate that it was quite different. I do not like the boy drama one bit. Sadie Kane is only 13 years old (yeah, I have to keep reminding myself of that) and she has a crush on two boys (she’s crushing hard) and, well, I think it’s unnecessary. One guy already brings enough trouble.

There was one funny part about boy drama that I quite enjoyed:
“I thought she’d make some comment about the bloodthirsty gods chasing us, but when she finally found her voice, she said, ‘That boy kissed you!’ Leave it to Liz to have her priorities straight.”

Also, Uncle Rick has managed once again to include his other series (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) by mentioning Blackjack, Percy’s black pegasus:
“I looked across the river to Manhattan. It was a great view. When Sadie and I had first arrived at Brooklyn House, Amos had told us that magicians tried to stay out of Manhattan. He said Manhattan had other problems–whatever that meant. And sometimes when I looked across the water, I could swear I was seeing things. Sadie laughed about it, but once I thought I saw a flying horse. Probably just the mansion’s magic barriers causing optical illusions, but still, it was weird.”

This book was a little more all over the place. I didn’t mind that most of the time, but sometimes it really bothered me. It was still an awesome book though.

I’m very excited to read the last book.

Sadie and Carter don’t you dare die. I’m sure Anubis wouldn’t like that one bit.

Other books in this series

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

The Red Pyramid

Author: Rick Riordan
Series: The Kane Chronicles #1
Reviewer: Marlou


Since his mother’s death six years ago, Carter Kane has been living out of a suitcase, traveling the globe with his father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. But while Carter’s been homeschooled, his younger sister, Sadie, has been living with their grandparents in London. Sadie has just what Carter wants—school friends and a chance at a “normal” life. But Carter has just what Sadie longs for—time with their father. After six years of living apart, the siblings have almost nothing in common. Until now.

On Christmas Eve, Sadie and Carter are reunited when their father brings them to the British Museum, with a promise that he’s going to “make things right.” But all does not go according to plan: Carter and Sadie watch as Julius summons a mysterious figure, who quickly banishes their father and causes a fiery explosion.

Soon Carter and Sadie discover that the gods of Ancient Egypt are waking, and the worst of them—Set—has a frightening scheme. To save their father, they must embark on a dangerous journey—a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and its links to the House of Life, a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“I guess it started in London, the night our dad blew up the British museum.”

I loved this book. Rick Riordan is my go-to author when I’m not sure what I want to read. I just know one of his books is going to get me out of my slump. It once again did.

The Red Pyramid is a little different from his other books (I won’t mention how exactly, you’ll have to find that out on your own).

Uncle Rick is the king when it comes to puns and silly jokes.
Exhibit A: “In person, if possible, Anubis was even more drop-dead gorgeous. [Oh . . . ha, ha. I didn’t catch the pun, but thank you, Carter. God of the dead, drop-dead gorgeous. Yes, hilarious. Now, may I continue?]”

He also mentions his other series (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) in this book.
Exhibit B: “Manhattan has other problems. Other gods. It’s best we stay separate.”

There are so many good parts in this book but if I had to choose just one it would be the part where they meet with Anubis. Rick was describing a graveyard in a city and I guessed it was New Orleans. I was right, it was New Orleans. I loved that part simply because I guessed it right. It showed that I’m a true fangirl who’s obsessed with the TV show The Originals.

All in all this book was lovely. I finished it in two days. It got me out of my reading slump. Thanks, Rick, for another amazing book!

Other books in this series

Radioactive Revolution by Richard Hummel

Radioactive Revolution

Author: Richard Hummel
Series: Book 1
Reviewer: Inopinion


I received a book in exchange for reading and reviewing. What follows is my honest assessment. I read approximately half of the book in print and the other half through my Kindle Unlimited subscription (great place to find many indie authors!).


LitRPG, GameLit, RPGLit, GameFiction…. So many names for this genre!

Jared and his dragon companion, Scarlet, emerge from the depths of the earth bound together and with a mission to restore dragons back to the ecosystem and free humans from their captivity. They set out across the radioactive wasteland that stretches between the refugee camps and larger cities facing both small and enormous mutated critters collecting nanites and boosting their skills, strength, and size all along the way!

Can they gather the army they need to take on the corrupt human world? Can they wake the dragons and return them to their proper place on the surface of the Earth?

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Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

I am new to this genre, and if you, like me, are participating in the Pop Sugar Challenge (download a PDF of this year’s list here), you know that LitRPG is an ‘extra’ category this year. So I was delighted when our blog was contacted for a review. So, bear-in-mind, this is my first foray into this type of book and so my review has no bearing on if this is an exemplary title for the genre or if it deviates from the typical. I’m just going to keep this to the story, the writing, and the potential for the series.

Here we go…

Appeal: This book would appeal to fantasy readers who enjoy dragons, but mostly, this book would appeal to those that love quests and a touch of dystopia. I was reading this book at the same time as Ink Mistress and found several parallels with the quest, boss-fight, quest, boss-fight formula (and that’s a good thing for me!). If you want to cover ground and see new things and skip the political maneuvering, this book will work for you.


This book has a strong opening that introduces the world, the characters, and the challenges in a post-apocalyptic New York. The introduction to the world and the ‘point system’ is gradually blended into Jared’s actions and overall both are well integrated into the story. So while the idea that Jared has nanites he can assign to different attributes was a little hokey for a first-time reader in this genre, it wasn’t jarring and so I was well adjusted to references to this system by the time Jared and Scarlet are really starting to level-up. 

The story has a strong premise. Jared makes a vow to assist Dragons to return to Earth and they uncover a long-standing conspiracy that makes humans dependent on Boosters. And thus, they also want to free humans. I really like the conversations between Scarlet and Jared as they navigate these two goals throughout the book. And I especially like the first half where they are truly working together and are equal participants in the book.

Starting around the 65% mark, I started to struggle with the pacing. I would liken the middle of this book to watching someone play a video game: mildly tedious. There’s still things going on, but the stakes are just not as high as they were before the major boss fight. Now, I believe this part of the story is going to be crucial to the overall series or I don’t think the author would have spent time on it, but honestly, I struggled to get through. At about 80%, the book picks right back up and Jared and Scarlet are off on another quest, another series of fights, and the opening to the next book is clearly laid out.

If it weren’t for that troublesome middle, I would be rating this book at 4 stars. Even with it, I’m eyeing that book 2 on Kindle Unlimited, and I don’t waste time on continuing bad series. So that’s a solid half-star-plus from me.

The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci

The Savior’s Champion

Author: Jenna Moreci
Reviewer: Leslie


Tobias Kaya doesn’t care about The Savior. He doesn’t care that She’s the Ruler of the realm or that She purified the land, and he certainly doesn’t care that She’s of age to be married. But when competing for Her hand proves to be his last chance to save his family, he’s forced to make The Savior his priority.

Now Tobias is thrown into the Sovereign’s Tournament with nineteen other men, and each of them is fighting—and killing—for the chance to rule at The Savior’s side. Instantly his world is plagued with violence, treachery, and manipulation, revealing the hidden ugliness of his proud realm. And when his circumstances seem especially dire, he stumbles into an unexpected romance, one that opens him up to unimaginable dangers and darkness.

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

I was pretty interested and excited to read this book because it sounded like a Hunger Games meets The Selection story that I could get behind. Plus, I knew that the author was a pretty well-known Authortuber and has a ton of fans for her writing knowledge and advice. 

However, to say that I was disappointed is a slight understatement. Things in the story start off well enough, with the typical reluctant hero storyline, but there weren’t many other things that I was impressed by in the end. 

First, it was long. Really long. And then it ends incredibly abruptly. I definitely felt a little cheated because of that and may be (definitely) holding onto some resentments about investing the amount of time I did and NOT getting any real sort of resolution. 

Secondly, I’m not a prudish reader by any means and am all for the properly used adult language in whatever context, as long as it makes sense and is done for a purpose. However, this was not the case here. I literally searched the ebook for how many times the f-word, and a couple of c-words were used throughout the book and was not surprised that the totals were staggering. For example, the f-bomb is dropped 182 times and the word “cock” is used 96 times and by every single character (or so it seemed). Because of this, the characters lacked depth, they all sounded the same, and it seemed like a society who literally couldn’t be bothered to come up with words that were different or unique in any way, no matter what the character’s background or place in that society. This might seem nit picky, but for me, it definitely stood out and made things seem like a farcical telling of what a girl thinks boys sound like (similar to the girls have pillow fights at sleepovers type of stereotype).

Lastly, the plot was interesting enough that I wanted to see if the secret that was being kept was what I thought it was and I will hand it to Moreci about the challenges–they were interesting, even when they weren’t that exciting, but some of them were, and it allowed the book to have some high points. 

Overall, I assume that there will be a book two, but I won’t be picking it up. I think that sums up my thoughts succinctly enough. 

Content Warnings:
Graphic violence, gore, adult language, sexual situations

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Queen of Air and Darkness

Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices #3
Reviewer: Leslie


What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

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Book 3 of The Dark Artifices Trilogy

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I put off reading this book for a while because I knew how the previous book, Lord of Shadows, ended and I knew I was in for some really deep emotions at the beginning of this one. Well, Clare delivered on that front and picks up right in the aftermath of book 2, making me relive the whole tragedy over again like I had just put down the previous book. 

Overall, I thought that this story fit with the rest of the trilogy, and even the Shadowhunter universe that Clare has developed through the various series, with lots of characters coming in from the previous stories. However, there was just a lot to be dealt with here. 

The story was really long. It honestly could have been two whole books and half way through I felt enough of a resolution that I wondered what else could be in store for them, but it seems that the trilogy model is something Clare wanted to stick with (or her publishers did), so the story plows on. 

Although previous books had me worried for Emma and Julian and the rest of their outfit, this book didn’t deliver as much on that front. I wasn’t really concerned about how things would turn out and about half way through the book, Clare makes a plot decision that I just couldn’t get behind. It opens way too many doors and options for the storyline and seemed too convenient to really fit the plot. Similarly, towards the end, with a big battle going on, something weird and extravagant happens because of Emma and Julian’s forbidden love, and the explanation and resolution left me again feeling like this had been contrived a little too heavily to make it feel believable and rewarding as a reader. 

In the end, Clare wraps things up (maybe a little too neatly for these characters) while still leaving gaping holes in the world open for what I must assume is going to be her next trilogy.

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Aurora Rising

Author: Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman
Series: Aurora Rising #1
Reviewer: Marlou


The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

  • A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
  • A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
  • A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
  • An alien warrior with anger management issues
  • A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


I’ll try to put my thoughts into words without writing asdfghjkl…

Story: it’s interesting enough. Lots of little pieces of info given, but nothing major revealed until the very end. It’s a solid scifi story but not necessarily anything majorly impressive.

Multiple POV: I thought this was going to bother me, but it didn’t. It was very clear in whose POV you were reading even if you forgot to look at the big ass name above the beginning of the chapter.

Characters: OMG everyone is so fun to read about. Banter is amazing, sass activated, sarcasm is definitely Kristoff-worthy and they all started caring about each other in the end. LOVE IT. I do just generally love a good story about misfits.

Why 4 stars? I didn’t LOVE this book. The story is interesting and I want to know more. The ending has left me in a state of utter despair. BUT I feel like there’s too much info left out. The romance between Kal and Aurora is okay, but I find it unnecessary. There was just a lot of build up and then it didn’t feel like a OH WOW SHIT OKAY SO THAT’S WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON… It was more a Oh is that it? I was expecting something grander.

Turns out I have plenty of words for ya 😂 I definitely recommend this book, but maybe read it when you have the whole series in hand. I’m not okay with waiting Maker knows how long for the next book. I’m so curious about what they’re gonna do with the story.

Solid 4 stars for the squad full of misfits and a book filled with sarcasm and banter.

Swap’d by Tamara Ireland Stone


Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Series: CodeGirls#2
Reviewer: Renee


After her Click’d catastrophe, Allie Navarro is determined to redeem herself. So when the class gets an assignment to create a mobile game from recycled code, Allie pairs up with Courtney, her best friend from CodeGirls camp, to create the perfect app: Swap’d.

Kids buy, sell, and trade stuff at school all the time. Candy. Clothes. Video games. Slime. Why not make a fiercely competitive, totally anonymous, beat-the-clock game out of it?

Once Swap’d is in full-swing, Allie is certain that it’s the answer to all her problems. She’s making quick cash to help Courtney buy that really expensive plane ticket to come visit her. It’s giving her an excuse to have an actual conversation with her super-secret crush. And it looks like she might finally beat her archenemy-turned-friend, Nathan. She’s thought of everything. Or… has she?

The second book in the Click’d series by New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone weaves together middle school friendship, first crushes, and serious coding skills in another fun, fast-paced, and empowering novel that will have readers cheering Allie on from the first page to the last. 

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I actually enjoyed this more than Click’d. This story picks up after Click’d with Allie deciding if she wants to go to the same summer camp as last summer or to a new summer program at a high-profile company. She wants to do both, but she can’t. She hesitates sending her application for the summer program and doubts whether she would even be accepted. She’s afraid to tell her best friend since they were planning on going to CodeGirls together again.

 Allie mentions she’s going to a game convention as part of the reward she got for being in the competition with Click’d. Her friend loves games and wants to go with her. They look up prices and their parents say it’s too expensive.

 In school, Allie’s class is given an assignment to reuse code in a short amount of time. Allie needs a solution to get enough money to help her best friend from CodeGirls to visit for the game convention. She combines her two goals – the class assignment will be one that can raise enough money to purchase plane tickets. The two work together to build an app, reusing code from their summer projects. It seems like they’re going to do it, until Allie’s teacher informs her of something and Allie has to choose to ignore it, or continue and get the money. They are so close!

 I love how this dilemma reminds Allie of what happened with Click’d and she has to make that tough decision again: does she move forward and get the money to bring Courtney there, or does she shut it all down and tell Courtney they don’t have the money? I like how this series handles these ethical issues that many coders have had to deal with in their careers. Sometimes it’s hard to look the other way.

Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone


Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Series: CodeGirls#1
Reviewer: Renee


Allie Navarro can’t wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp. Click’d pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other. And it’s a hit. By the second day of school, everyone is talking about Click’d.

 Watching her app go viral is amazing. Leaderboards are filling up! Everyone’s making new friends. And with all the data Allie is collecting, she has an even better shot at beating her archenemy, Nathan, at the upcoming youth coding competition. But when Allie discovers a glitch that threatens to expose everyone’s secrets, she has to figure out how to make things right, even if that means sharing the computer lab with Nathan. Can Allie fix her app, stop it from doing any more damage, and win back the friends it hurt-all before she steps on stage to present Click’d to the judges?

 New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone combines friendship, coding, and lots of popcorn in her fun and empowering middle-grade debut.

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Click’d is a great MG story about a girl who writes code and struggles with doing what’s right vs winning a competition. It’s the kind of story I wish I had when I was younger.

Allie loves writing code and she’s one of the best in her class. She’s always competing with Nathan, another top student who always seems to just barely beat her. Their teacher sponsors them both in an important contest that can get them and their app a lot of publicity. The problem? Allie gets a little competitive and releases her app to her school the week before the competition.

She watches the data as more people join and she’s exciting seeing her classmates using the app at school. Everybody loves it! However, one of her friends shows her a bug and she only has days to fix it before the competition. She tries to hide this from her teacher/sponsor and Nathan. She can’t let Nathan know there’s something wrong with her app and she definitely can’t tell her teacher in case she decides to pull Allie from the competition. As her app becomes more popular, the chances of the bug happening increases. Her friends encourage her to disable the app but if she does that, she can’t be in the competition. She promises her friend she’ll solve it before anybody finds out.

Nathan and Allie spend their lunches in the computer lab working on their projects. Neither admits they have a problem. Even though they’ve known each other a long time, they start opening up the more time they spend together. Eventually they each admit they have a problem in their app. They work together to try to fix both apps before the competition.

Allie had to face some tough decisions around her app: does she keep it live knowing it has a bug that sometimes shows personal information? Should she ask for help? Who should she ask for help? How does she explain what she did to her friend who was hurt by the bug?

I didn’t expect the ending but I appreciated it. As a coder, I related to Allie’s challenges and enjoyed watching her learn from her mistakes. She had to make a lot of decisions throughout the story and accepted that she made mistakes by the end.