Showing posts with label thriller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thriller. Show all posts

Saturday, April 15, 2017

[Review] Be My Girl - Nina Sadowsky: Marriage and Murder


In BE MY GIRL, Ellie and Rob get married and slowly realize that they are both keeping monumental secrets from each other.

What intrigued me: I was in the mood for an adult thriller.

Great Beginning and Dual POV

BE MY GIRL really surprised me and snuck up on me with it's brilliant premise and beginning. Told in two alternating storylines, one set with protagonist Ellie in a hotel room with a corpse, and the other one right after her wedding to Rob, it's surely a unique read. 

You'd think the flip-flopping back and forth through the timeline would get confusing, but it really doesn't. Mainly because it's executed flawlessly and there are lots of secrets to explore in both past and present. BE MY GIRL is an absolute page-turner. For the first fifty pages that is.

Offbeat Pace and Over-the-top Story

As much as BE MY GIRL delighted me in the beginning, it absolutely lost me somewhere around the middle. The writing is quite strange and very slow, focused on telling rather than showing. While I didn't have a problem with the characters and found them quite intriguing and longed to find out more about them - the pacing is terrible. It takes so much time for things to get interesting and once they do, everything happens at once. BE MY GIRL has the most over-the-top storyline involving, murder, kidnapping, terminal illness, serial killers - it's like every action movie and thriller thrown together at once. While that can work for some people, it really didn't for me. I was hoping for a very satisfying and linear mystery instead of a mixture of ... everything. It's really messy to read and definitely lowered my enthusiasm despite the excellent start.


And honestly? This story is just ridiculous. Again, this is highly subjective but that amount of secrets and twists and turns rather made me roll my eyes than actually care about the story. Maybe this will work better for you, but BE MY GIRL was a little too much for me personally.



Rating:

★★★☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

BE MY GIRL is a very over-the-top thriller/action read that combines all tropes you've ever seen in a book. For me this wasn't really fun, but you might feel differently.

Trigger warning: blood, gore, murder, death, terminal illness, abuse, violence


Additional Info

Published: February 17th 2017
Pages: 336
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Adult / Thriller
ISBN: 9783328100041

Synopsis:
"Balanced on the razor edge of moral ambiguity, this sexy and seductive debut novel asks: How can you find out that the person you love is a killer...and continue to love him anyway?

On the night of her wedding to Rob, Ellie's perfect world suddenly collapses. Her suave, charming, sophisticated husband is not the man she believed him to be. Could he really be a killer?

Ellie is rapidly swept into a lethal vortex of betrayal, lies, and uncertainty: Who is the man she married, really?
And how far will she go to protect him?

From Manhattan to the Caribbean, Rob and Ellie struggle to escape the grip of Rob's former life - a life his employers are determined to ensnare him in for good.

When faced with a terrible choice -- to become a murderess herself to save the man she loves, or to let him die -- Ellie's decision propels her into a whiplash-paced adventure, filled with cinematic twists and a startling sense of unease."
(Source: Goodreads)


What's your favorite thriller?

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

[Review] The Amateurs (#1) - Sara Shepard: Rookie Detectives and Murder

In THE AMATEURS, Aerin and a bunch of amateur detectives are trying to solve the murder of her older sister.

What intrigued me: Felt like reading a thriller.

Awful Execution

THE AMATEURS has the strangest premise: A couple teenagers who are obsessed with unsolved crimes and frequent true crime forums decide to solve a murder case. What sounds really great in theory absolutely fails in the execution. Shepard's writing style doesn't really match the tone of the story, it's wonky at best, and never manages to convey the atmosphere you'd expect in a book like this. The multiple POVs neither work, nor are the characters fleshed out enough to make this story even remotely compelling. Had THE AMATEURS stuck with Aerin's POV alone, I would've liked this a lot more. The other characters are just messy to read about the writing feels stilted. This is definitely a subjective taste issue, if you've enjoyed other Shepard books in the past, you'll probably feel differently.

Another thing that bothers me about the execution is the fact that this is not a fast-paced thrilling narrative. It reads exactly like the premise sounds- amateurs working on a case, not knowing what they're doing. This is just not fun, and beyond that the whole reveal and set up of the mystery makes no sense whatsoever, and renders this story pretty much unrealistic and off-puttingly pointless. I also suspect that a ton of plot holes will open up when you're reading this for the second time.

Sexism, Racism, Exoticism

To a degree all I've said so far can be overlooked. It's really subjective. But the last nail in the coffin is just the horrible, extremely offensive portrayal of non-white characters in this. I hated every second of reading any description of non-white characters in this and seeing reviewers praise the "diversity" in this book is laughable at best, making me lose my faith in humanity at worst. I think there are a total of two non-white characters. One of the protagonists, Seneca, is biracial-coded. I don't think it's on-the-page representation, I certainly don't recommend that you pick this up because of this, and neither should this be on a list of books with biracial characters. She's described as exotic, with light eyes and light brown skin, and that's that. That's not how representation words, this is actually just exoticism.

Then we've got characters who homogenize Asians and make jokes about all Asians being the same, without having it addressed as racist, which renders me speechless.

Beyond that THE AMATEURS is dripping with sexism. From centering every female character's personality around their breasts, to turning the female characters pretty much just into sex objects and reducing them to their sexuality - this is as far from feminism as it gets.


Rating:

☆☆☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Sexism, racism, bad prose, and a plot that makes no sense - decide for yourself if you think that's worth picking it up. I certainly regret the time I spent reading this. Hours of my life I'm never going to get back.



Additional Info

Published: November 1st 2016
Pages: 320
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA / Thriller
ISBN: 9781484742273

Synopsis:
"I need some answers about my sister. Help…

Five years ago, high school senior Helena Kelly disappeared from her backyard in Dexby, Connecticut, never to be heard from again. Her family was left without any answers—without any idea who killed Helena, or why.

So when eighteen-year-old Seneca Frazier sees a desperate post on the Case Not Closed message board, she knows it’s time to change that. Helena’s high-profile disappearance is the one that originally got Seneca addicted to true crime. It’s the reason she’s a member of the site in the first place.

Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, she agrees to spend spring break in Connecticut working on the case with Maddy Wright, her best friend from Case Not Closed. However, the moment she steps off the train, things start to go wrong. Maddy’s nothing like she expected, and Helena’s sister, Aerin, doesn’t seem to want any help after all. Plus, Seneca has a secret of her own, one that could derail the investigation if she’s not careful.

Alongside Brett, another super-user from the site, they slowly begin to unravel the secrets Helena kept in the weeks before her disappearance. But the killer is watching…and determined to make sure the case stays cold."
(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read a decent YA thriller lately?

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

[Review] One Moment - Kristina McBride: Memory Loss, Death, and Secrets

In ONE MOMENT, Maggie's boyfriend Joey dies in an accident and she has memory loss after it happens.

What intrigued me: I was in the mood for a nice thriller.

Unique concept

ONE MOMENT is a very unique contemporary with thriller elements. The premise is simple, yet the writing and the voice really make this stand out. It's very fast-paced even though very little happens and you keep rereading about the accident and flashbacks with Joey and Maggie as you uncover the story. Everything centers around Joey's death and the secrets everyone may or may not be keeping.

Especially the voice really is the strong suit of ONE MOMENT. As you read you will suffer with Maggie and her memory loss is pictured realistically and easy to understand for the reader. It absolutely does not feel like a gimmick but like a well-researched addition to the story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Difficult structure and flat characters

Because the story is so heavily focused on the characters' internal dialogue and flashbacks, it's a hard read. I did like the concept but ultimately I think that ONE MOMENT would have benefited from more action, more side plots, possibly even from making Maggie a side character and telling the story from another character's perspective. Like this, ONE MOMENT really feels a little messy and unstructured which really did impact my reading experience negatively.

In general I had the most problems with the characters. The are six friends that the story centers and I just kept confusing their names. Too many people are running around in every single scene and it's just terribly difficult to keep up. In addition to that, the side characters have no personalities, especially Maggie's female friends Shannon and Tana absolutely just seem like decoration. 

I feel like ONE MOMENT has a lot of potential to be an even more excellent story if the narrative was a little more cleaned up and polished and the characters had been worked on a little more.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

ONE MOMENT really is a unique book with an interesting premise. You have to be in the mood for it though, while I did like it overall, I was hoping to get a little more into it and really get sucked into the pages. If you like reading about characters with memory loss and enjoy thriller elements, this will surely be a great read for you.



Additional Info

Published: January 3rd 2017
Pages: 288
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: YA / Thriller
ISBN: 9781510714557

Synopsis:
"This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.

Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can't she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead?

As Maggie's memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?"(Source: Goodreads)



Do you like books about memory loss?

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Monday, November 7, 2016

[Review] Unnatural Deeds - Cyn Balog: Secrets and Murder Told in Retrospective





In UNNATURAL DEEDS, Victoria meets drop-dead gorgeous Z, who is too cool and beautiful to be interested in her - but he is. The problem is that Victoria has a boyfriend. 

What intrigued me: I've liked other books by Cyn Balog and the cover is insanely beautiful.

Unique concept

UNNATURAL DEEDS is the illegitimate child of DON'T LOOK BACK and WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT. It's just as dreamy and keeps you on the edge of your seat at all times. UNNATURAL DEEDS is a story about obsession and love, and the fine line between the two.

Told in retrospective and with little interview snippets and coroner reports, it's based on an undoubtedly very creative idea. The writing is unique as well, and might not be for everyone. 

Balog tells the story in second person singular, Victoria narrates it to her boyfriend Andrew, whom she feels she betrays by befriending Z. I'm not a fan of second person in general and feared that this would ruin the experience for me. I struggled with the first couple of chapters but quickly got the hang of it. Balog is an incredibly gifted writer, she effortlessly pulls it off, which I salute her for, that really isn't easy.

The Charmer vs. The ... what's his name again?

The main conflict of UNNATURAL DEEDS is the love triangle. And I have to say, I really did like it. I fell absolutely and utterly for the love interest Z, a charming snake with tons of secrets whom you can't help but be fascinated with. Their romance is absolutely epic, twisted, and fascinating. Memorable.

Boyfriend Andrew on the other hand remains rather bleak, I felt like their relationship wasn't explored sufficiently to even give the reader the opportunity to have an opinion about them. Balog does tell the story to him, but most of the information we're given is via telling, not showing, which I'm personally not a fan of.

UNNATURAL DEEDS is built upon mountains of secrets and it's so, so fun. I love trying to figure out the story as I go along and I have to say, I didn't expect that ending. It's certainly a strange twist that nobody will see coming, and I wasn't really satisfied.
Highlight for a light spoiler. I can't tell you about the ableism without being a bit spoilery.
Mental illness is used as a plot twist in this which is incredibly ableist and also really just bad writing. It's not even specified which makes it even worse.

I found it too easy of a solution concept-wise because the rest of the story really doesn't make sense anymore after that ending. With a different ending, this would have been a solid five star read, because I genuinely frantically turned pages and didn't want to stop reading.

I'm a firm believer in giving the reader an opportunity to guess the ending, a hint, anything, even if it's very small. Balog really just did a 360 and left me confused and upset. If you like a drastic plot twist, this is absolutely, positively a book you don't want to skip.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

The ending really spoiled this book for me. I was expecting more, a more satisfying conclusion. Yet this in no way negates the fact that I had a lot of fun reading this and enjoyed trying to unravel the mystery. It's surely worth the read if you like guessing games.



Additional Info

Published: November 1st 2016
Pages: 288
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA / Thriller
ISBN: 9781492635796

Synopsis:
"Secrets. Obsession. Murder. Victoria is about to discover just how dangerous it can be to lose yourself.

Victoria Zell doesn’t fit in, but she’s okay with that. All she needs is the company of her equally oddball boyfriend, Andrew. She doesn’t care what anyone else thinks…until magnetic, charming, mysterious Z comes into her life, and she starts lying to everyone she knows in an effort to unravel his secrets.

And then something terrible happens. Someone is dead and it’s time for Victoria to come clean. Interspersed with news clippings and police interviews, Victoria tells her story to Andrew, revealing her dark, horrible secrets…secrets that have finally come back to haunt her."

(Source: Goodreads)



Do you like books told in retrospective?

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

[Review] Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) - Sylvain Neuvel: Giant Robots and Outer Space




In SLEEPING GIANTS, a little girl finds an enormous robot hand made of metal in the woods and the military immediately grows interested in it.

What intrigued me: The tagline they used in promotion got me. World War Z meets THE MARTIAN? Um yeah, get on my shelf ASAP.

Perfect transitional read for people who don't like Sci-Fi

SLEEPING GIANTS is told through interview snippets and diary entries from multiple characters. All in some way connect to a mysterious man who is secretly in control of the operation to get the robot to work.  Most of it is actually dialogue, which I loved. 

It makes this way easier to read and hides the fact that this is a pretty heavy Sci-fi thriller with political elements. Especially for people like me who shy away from epic Sci-fi or political thrillers, this could serve as a nice transitional read to get more into the genre.

I definitely struggled a little with the tone of the novel. Most of the plot is told from the perspective of military officials and scientists who use highbrow language and complex scientific processes to explain things. Even though Neuvel tries to simplify all concepts and processes, I found myself zoning out whenever someone started talking about chemical elements. This is very minor though, because the story about the ancient robot hand will eventually suck you in and force you to keep on reading until your eyes burn. It happened to me. At some point the story just starts to become so gripping and you get so invested that it's almost impossible to put it down. 

Enchanting and thrilling

I was surprised to grow attached to the characters and their fate. Neuvel manages to paint multi-faceted character relationships by telling the majority of the interactions in retrospective. If two characters who aren't the mysterious interviewer and another character interact, it's always told after it happened and through the eyes of one of the people who were there. 

You'd think that format would get tiring after a while but it really doesn't. I'm so glad Neuvel wrote this almost exclusively in dialogue, because I'm sure I would've zoned out or even quit the novel altogether if that story was told in a classic way. Like this it's easy, it's handy, it fits the plot. I enjoyed this a lot and found myself unable to predict any of the twists, which is really rare. SLEEPING GIANTS is a very unique, almost experimental read that will surprise and enchant you.


Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Following the events in SLEEPING GIANTS almost became an addiction. It's really impossible to put down and a fantastic thriller that you should read if you like conspiracies and aliens. It put me in the worst reading slump ever because it's so genius!



Additional Info

Published: August 8th 2016
Pages: 416
Publisher: Heyne
Genre: Sci- Fi / Aliens
ISBN: 9783453316904

Synopsis:
"A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?"(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read SLEEPING GIANTS?

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

[Review] Assassins: Discord (Assassins #1) - Erica Cameron: Girls Who Like Girls, Murder, and Action, Baby!

In ASSASSINS: DISCORD, assassin Kindra who has been raised to follow the rules, starts rebelling.

What intrigued me: f/f. Enough said.


Fast-paced action-style writing

I was really excited for ASSASSINS: DISCORD. I really really wanted this to succeed, because of the winning combination - fast-paced action + assassination + lady-loving ladies? 
Who doesn't need this in their lives? Unfortunately it was the writing style at the end of the day that irked me the most. 

The way the reader gets thrown into the story isn't written elegantly enough to make it that kind of smooth action-filled, thrilling story ASSASSINS: DISCORD wants to be. It definitely is written like an action movie - cut scenes, lots of different scenery, no time wasted. Murder, car chases, walking away from explosions, spying - you'll find all of that in this book. That's all without exception a great thing, however combined with the writing it doesn't translate very well in my opinion.

I had tremendous problems even establishing the characters, even understanding what is going on and why it is going on. I went in blind without reading the blurb, which I really don't recommend you do. You're going to want to cling to every little bit of information you can find without spoiling the novel for yourself, because ASSASSINS: DISCORD doesn't waste time explaining anything. It simply reads like the second book in a trilogy. I actually went back and checked because I was afraid I had accidentally picked up the second book instead of the first.  

Very plot-driven

A fantastic asset of ASSASSINS: DISCORD is the representation. You'll find characters of many different sexualities in here and also a cheeky little f/f romance that I won't say too much about, only that I enjoyed  that but that we got tremendously. At times I was hoping that the author went more for it, and really really pursued that romance. However, this is a plot-driven book and that's really minor criticism.

But again, I have to criticize a bit; because this is so fast-paced the characters are lacking slightly. From the start I couldn't really identify with anyone or even get attached to anyone, simply because they aren't really introduced. Of course this will also then have an impact on how you perceive the romantic subplot, and how you read this story. 

ASSASSINS: DISCORD is a really really fast, quick book. Sometimes you have to be careful, because it may overtake you.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Sure. ASSASSINS: DISCORD is the read for people who like their thrillers diverse and their ladies loving ladies. It gains a lot of sympathy points with that and really makes me turn a blind eye to the couple of issues I had with it. You will, too.



Additional Info

Published: September 5th 2016
Publisher: Riptide Publishing / Triton Books
Genre: YA / Thriller

Synopsis:
"Kindra’s moral compass has never pointed north, but that’s what happens when you’re raised as an assassin and a thief. At sixteen, she’s fantastic with a blade, an expert at slipping through the world unnoticed, and trapped in a life she didn’t chose. But nothing in her training prepares her for what happens when her father misses a target.

In the week-long aftermath, Kindra breaks rank for the first time in her life. She steals documents, starts questioning who their client is and why the target needs to die, botches a second hit on her father’s target, and is nearly killed. And that’s before she’s kidnapped by a green-eyed stranger connected to a part of her childhood she’d almost forgotten.

Kindra has to decide who to trust and which side of the battle to fight for. She has to do it fast and she has to be right, because the wrong choice will kill her just when she’s finally found something worth living for."(Source: Goodreads)



What's your favorite assassin book?

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

[Review] As Red as Blood (Lumikki Andersson #1) - Salla Simukka: Murder and Bloody Money






In AS RED AS BLOOD, some high school kids find a bag full of bloody money and absolutely freak out.

What intrigued me: I've been itching to read this since I first coincidentally came across this series. It's been translated in sooo many languages, I figured this just has to be good.

Contemporary or Thriller? Why not both!

AS RED AS BLOOD really is a strange book. I fully expected this to be a YA version of Stieg Larsson's Millenium books, and in a sense that (sort of) what I got. 

Protagonist Lumikki is 17, hs a sherlock-like mastermind and is incredibly perceptive, and when she stumbles upon the silly teenagers that found the bag full of money - she is instantly intrigued and wants so solve the mystery.

The problem is that AS RED AS BLOOD is really trying to be a typical contemporary set in a high school and a fast-paced detective story with a side of merciless criminal action. If you're going to mix the two, please, for the love of God, don't make it more complicated by having 328932 POVs from characters whose appearances are pretty much cameos. I absolutely hate how Simukka decided to switch to the POV of several people involved in the murder while Lumikki is still trying to figure the basics out. It's impossible for any first time reader to understand what's going on and I was so tempted to just skip this because it upset me so much to get thrown out of the story for no reason whatsoever.

Poor translation?

Another thing that I really missed is that I didn't quite get the Nordic vibe from AS RED AS BLOOD. Meaning that it feels like it could've been set in any town around the world.

The problem is probably that this is a translated work intended for the Finnish market. Many little things that should seem obvious to Fins remain unexplained, random Finnish words that I assume were untransable are splattered throughout this, and it's just not really able to paint the scenery in a way that would make it possible for non-Fins to really paint the world in their heads as they read. 

It's incredibly sad that this opportunity was wasted because there are very few translated Finnish works in YA in the first place!

Rating:

★★☆☆

  


Overall: Do I Recommend?

AS RED AS BLOOD does stand out in the genre and proves to be an interesting mix betwen crime and contemporary. Don't expect too much from it though, because the mystery isn't half as mysterious as it wants to be.



Additional Info

Published: 1st August 2014
Pages: 274
Publisher: Skyscape
Genre: YA / Thriller
ASIN: B00HFENI6W

Synopsis:
"In the midst of the freezing Arctic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson walks into her school’s dark room and finds a stash of wet, crimson-colored money. Thousands of Euros left to dry—splattered with someone’s blood.

Lumikki lives alone in a studio apartment far from her parents and the past she left behind. She transferred into a prestigious art school, and she’s singularly focused on studying and graduating. Lumikki ignores the cliques, the gossip, and the parties held by the school’s most popular and beautiful boys and girls.

But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Suddenly, Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Events turn even more deadly when evidence points to dirty cops and a notorious drug kingpin best known for the brutality with which he runs his business.

As Lumikki loses control of her carefully constructed world, she discovers that she’s been blind to the forces swirling around her—and she’s running out of time to set them right. When she sees the stark red of blood on snow, it may be too late to save her friends or herself."(Source: Goodreads)

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Monday, April 25, 2016

[Review] Forewarned (The Near Deaths #2) - Holly M. Campbell: Serial Killers and Psychics




In FOREWARNED, mind reader Hope and her death-seeing boyfriend Lance are on the hunt for the kidnapper that tried to abduct Hope and her friend Claire in FORESHADOWED.

What intrigued me: I liked the first book!

The serial killer is back

The first book initially left me a bit disappointed that the kidnapping storyline isn't completely resolved but picked up again in the second novel. What could have possibly ended in a dragged out disaster actually proved to be a smart decision. 

Where FORESHADOWED still introduced characters, FOREWARNED absolutely compliments the series by concentrating more on the action. I grew very attached to all the characters and am an absolute fan of the protagonist Hope. 

Her narration is so essentially teen and relatable that it's just fun to read her story. The mind-reading part that I initially was very skeptical of, because it's hardly done well, became one of my favorite things about this series. Campbell flawlessly manages to capture the thoughts of her characters.

Fantastic ending ... where's the sequel?!

FOREWARNED is a typical transition novel and it shows in the plot. Because of Campbell's light and easy writing style it doesn't quite bother me as much, but I really would have loved for things to get ugly in this one. FORESHADOWED hints at all the action and I was really hoping to see the showdown in this novel or at least get a little bit more information of the killer that would make it easier to pinpoint who he exactly is. Well, in the end I did like the sequel than the first, which is mostly because of the great ending that had me longing for more. 

In both FORESHADOWED and FOREWARNED, the last thirty pages were by far my favorite part of the books. Campbell is exceptionally talented at fast-pace narration, building up tension within a couple of pages, and really, deeply making me worry for her characters' fate. FOREWARNED yet again surprised me with a devastating and fantastic ending, and made me want to immediately continue the story and read the sequel. 

Full of surprises, relatable and thought-provoking, FOREWARNED is truly a reading pleasure!


Rating:

★★★½☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

I liked FOREWARNED better than the first and am very much looking forward to continuing the series and I would absolutely recommend it!



Additional Info

Published: April 26th 2016
Pages: 398
Publisher: 48Fourteen
Genre: YA / Thriller

Synopsis:
"Death is not finished with her…

With a little help from her death-seeing boyfriend, Lance Hampton, Hope Murdoch has already defeated fate once. Doing it again—and stopping a serial killer in the making—shouldn’t be too hard…except she hasn’t healed from her last brush with the psychopath, Lance is struggling with his personal demons, and she’s grounded. Tracking down a murderer is not easy when you’re basically under house arrest.

Yet, the seventeen-year-old mind reader isn’t about to let those trifling obstacles slow her down. So what if she has to lie to her parents and sneak out of the house to catch him? She is not the only one in danger.

Once again, Hope is faced with the burden of choosing between saving her own life and the victims starring in Lance’s visions. Getting past her parents’ house alarm is a walk in the dark compared with trying to get a murderer behind bars…or in the ground. With only a few clues to piece together, every path looks like a dead end—literally. 

This time, the cost of changing her future may be too much to bear."(Source: Goodreads)


Do you like books about mind readers?

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

[Review] Don't Look Back - Jennifer L. Armentrout

In DON'T LOOK BACK mean girl Samantha is found covered in blood wandering around in the woods. She has no idea how she got there, who she is and why she is there. When she gets home her family tells her that she isn't the only one who went missing:
Reminiscent of Mara Dyer- But Better

I love memory loss novels. This is exactly my niche. DON'T LOOK BACK has all the things I missed in THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER. Essentially the story lines are very similar: Girl is involved in an "accident", has no recollection of what happened, but is sure that she played a significant role.
In Mara Dyer, we obviously have a supernatural protagonist. In Sam, we just have an ordinary girl that is involved in some serious high school drama de luxe. I love novels about mean characters, about unlikeable, terrible people who have their reasons for being like this; Or who are maybe just bratty teenagers. It's insanely interesting to have her react to all the terrible things she did before the incident. There's nothing more entertaining to me than mean girls redeeming themselves.

The love interest Carson is just an overall cutie that is just the perfect guy next door. He's the son of their gardener and their romance is really adorable. Still, I'm not a fan of romance as a side plot and I would have preferred either having those two star in an all-romance novel instead of being hastily dealt with in a thriller.

I Didn't See That Ending Coming

Just as in every young adult novel we have a sloppy romance plot in here. I didn't like it the slightest bit and I thought it was extremely unnecessary. Even though the characters, from mean girls to servant's kids to Samantha's family, are all planned out very well, their relations to each other are very cliche. Armentrout obviously took the safe route and only paired stereotypical characters together:

Her brother with the old friend, the mean girls with someone else's boyfriends, the unhappily married unequal couples - the novel is full of things that I've read about dozens of times in literature. Not even once she seems to take a plunge and debut a new idea. In general, you can pretty much say that the novel is a mashup of all clichés in the genres that it combines.

BUT- this doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. I did enjoy the novel and despite all the cliché characters, Armentrout manages to shock and produce a decent thriller. It's not scary or actually thrilling in the least, but it keeps you up on your toes. I wanted to know desperately how it ends.

Rating:

★★★☆☆

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

It's all that THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER couldn't be. This novel gives you the notion to be predictable read, but it really isn't. You will want to desperately continue and find out what happens next. 


Synopsis:
"Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her- even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory- someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?"

Have you read any of Jennifer L. Armentrout's books?

Do you prefer her YA or NA novels?

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

[Review] The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1) - Michelle Hodkin

In THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER, Mara loses all her friends in a traumatic accident that she has no memory of. When her father is assigned a new case in Florida, Mara is forced to go to a new private school, where she falls for the school womanizer.

This book feels like a YA version of Shutter Island. You know that something's wrong the entire time, but you can't quite put your finger on it. 

Sadly, unlike in said movie, you won't be hitting your head and saying Damn It, I knew it!- you'll most likely be still confused.

             A Slumberous Romance

Aside from the mystery around what happens to Mara, her relationship to Noah takes up a big chunk of the novel. I didn't want Mara and Noah to hook up, I didn't even care about those two, I just wanted more flashback scenes so I could make a sense of what happened to Mara.

Noah is just very unlikeable. He's a walking cliché. British bad boy who's not only filthy rich, but oh-so-interested in creepy Mara, who spends days doodling his face before she even really knows him. It's your typical school-heartthrob falling for the shy girl thing. No one likes that, unless you're maybe 11. Also boyfriends who beat up other guys for you aren't romantic. They're scary. 

Mara as a protagonist absolutely had me from the beginning. I love her way of narrating the story and she has a clear, strong character voice that's not very intrusive and pleasant. She's funny, she's a little bit sarcastic and she's not afraid to admit that there's something wrong with her. Still, she fits into the category of the paranormal romance shy girls that is so frowned upon. Mara doesn't have any self-esteem issues, but doesn't call herself pretty either- still, every guy in this novel seems to think she is the reincarnation of a goddess walking the earth. 

But I don't want to put it down?!

The story sucks you in from the first chapter and you have to continue. Hodkin cleverly decorates the story with flashbacks to before the accident in uneven intervals, so you never know when you're going to find the next puzzle piece. .

The scary thing about it isn't ghosts or monsters or anything, but the way you're feeling like you're going insane with Mara. For some people it's just bad writing to make everything so confusing and I fully understand that some people don't connect to this novel. 

Essentially it's a mystery novel that absolutely sucks you in. It doesn't have the best writing style, but I couldn't put it down. I had high hopes, but sadly, the resolution is not what I expected. False advertising- this novel is just your average YA paranormal romance, lacking in the paranormal and trying to confuse you with irritating and misleading passages that are written off as hallucinations. 


Rating:

★★

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

The resolution isn't shocking, but it's the road there that's interesting. The main thing that this novel builds on is confusing the reader. I didn't fall for it and easily lost interest.

I hesitate to recommend it to anyone, because I had such a hard time liking Noah, and especially Noah and Mara together. They don't make sense as a couple and it truly feels like CARRIE - he's only figuratively taking the awkward girl to prom so he can dump a bucket of pig blood over her head.



Synopsis:
"Mara Dyer believes life can't get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.
There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.
"

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

[Review] The Winter People - Jennifer McMahon


In THE WINTER PEOPLE, a mother desperately wants to reverse the death of her beloved child and kicks off a hell lot of events by doing so.

What intrigued me: Sounds scary. I love scary stuff.


As creepy as it gets!

I'm just going to flat out say it: This novel creeped me out. I don't like cupboards and darkness and I never have, and making the cupboard the home of your creepy monster will creep me out in 99% of the cases. The "Winter People" are deceased that were brought to life through a spell and are now able to walk the earth for seven days before never being able to return ever again.

From the beginning I noticed the extraordinary writing style. McMahon writes using an omniscient narrator, which makes it possible to create character-depth while introducing several plot lines that lead all up to the big ending. No flowery language, no annoying metaphors, she's writing straight to the point while still impressing me with her choice of words.

Full of surprises

I am very impressed by the fact that at no point it was possible to guess the relations of the three small stories that in the end made all sense in the bigger picture. A problem that always arises when there are multiple storylines is that there are no sideplots. I fully understand that in practice it is impossible to put side characters (and their plot lines) in this novel without hopelessly confusing the reader.

Still, when the character interrelations were resolved it was somewhat disappointing to have everything resolved all at once! The novel could have been only half as long and still would have had the same effect.

While I enjoyed the flashbacks up to the middle of the novel, I don't think that they were all necessary. Also, switching between Sara's POV and her writings in the diary is absolutely confusing, given the fact that the novel also bears quite a relevance to the characters in the novel! If you mix it all up, how am I supposed to know whether the characters figured it out already or not?


Rating:

★★


Overall: Do I Recommend?

What's really remarkable in THE WINTER PEOPLE is that it had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. Essentially, it's a thriller, and boy, was I thrilled. I actually slept with the lights on after finishing this. No joke. 



Synopsis:

"West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie.
Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace.

Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother's bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara's fate, she discovers that she's not the only person who's desperately looking for someone that they've lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself."
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