Review: LIES I LIVE BY by Lauren Sabel (Blog Tour + Giveaway!)

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Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 31st, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Blog Tour)
Genre(s): Paranormal, Romance, Thriller
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Romance, intrigue, and action collide in this psychic twist on the classic spy novel.

Callie Sinclair is literally out of her mind; as the government’s youngest psychic spy, she finds valuable information for top-secret missions. Her work keeps her headaches at bay, but it means she must lie to everyone she loves, including her longtime boyfriend, Charlie.

When a new psychic arrives at the office, Callie can’t help but flirt; Jasper already knows her in a way Charlie never will.

But as her love life gets more complicated, so do her visions. People halfway around the world seem to be in danger…and people in her own backyard, too. If Callie can’t find a way to alter future events, she could lose the people she loves—and her mind. Literally.

Lauren Sabel’s enthralling, romantic novel captures the thrill of exploring a unique power in a dangerous world.

my ramblesSpecial thanks to Hannah, the publisher, and Edelweiss for letting me be a part of this tour and for receiving an advance copy of the book for review!

The first thing that piqued my interest about Lies I Live By was the main character, Callie’s, struggle with migraines and the connection between them and her ability. I get migraines myself, so I was definitely excited to see how the author would incorporate them into the story. And of course, the government sponsored agency and partnering with the CIA was exciting, because who doesn’t love a good government conspiracy? Although this book didn’t turn out to be quite what I’d hoped, I still really enjoyed what I did get!

Continue reading “Review: LIES I LIVE BY by Lauren Sabel (Blog Tour + Giveaway!)”

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Review, Author Q&A, and Giveaway: SANCTUARY BAY by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

Review

25663880Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: January 19th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Blog Tour)
Genre(s): Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Synopsis from Goodreads:

In this genre-bending YA thriller, will Sarah Merson’s shiny new prep school change her life forever or bring it to a dark and sinister end?

When Sarah Merson receives the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the most elite prep school in the country-Sanctuary Bay Academy-it seems almost too good to be true. But, after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home, escaping to its tranquil setting, nestled deep in Swans Island, couldn’t sound more appealing. Swiftly thrown into a world of privilege and secrets, Sarah quickly realizes finding herself noticed by class charmer, Nate, as well as her roommate’s dangerously attentive boyfriend, Ethan, are the least of her worries. When her roommate suddenly goes missing, she finds herself in a race against time, not only to find her, but to save herself and discover the dark truth behind Sanctuary Bay’s glossy reputation.

In this genre-bending YA thriller, Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, Sarah’s new school may seem like an idyllic temple of learning, but as she unearths years of terrifying history and manipulation, she discovers this “school” is something much more sinister.

my rambles

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review, and for the opportunity to be on the blog tour!

I’ve mentioned before that I have a love for books set at boarding schools. There’s always mystery, intrigue, and thrilling plotlines! Sanctuary Bay did not disappoint on those aspects, and in fact, there’s a completely unexpected element to the story that made me like it even more!

The prologue of the book sets the ball rolling in a flashback scene that is filled with action, and leaves you wondering what the HECK just happened. It’s quite a way to start off a story! With Chapter One, the story flashes forward to the main character, Summer, who is now in foster care after her parents’ murder. She’s on her way to Sanctuary Bay Academy, an isolated and mysterious institution where she’ll stay for the rest of her high school career.

Continue reading “Review, Author Q&A, and Giveaway: SANCTUARY BAY by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz”

Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 15th, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich is dead on in this terrifying psychological thriller!

Over two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of three teenagers. Not much was known about the events leading up to the tragedy – only that one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace…

…until a diary is found hidden in the ruins.

But the diary, badly scorched, does not belong to Carly Johnson. It belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, a girl who shouldn’t exist Who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly?

The case has been reopened. Police records are being reexamined: psychiatric reports, video footage, text messages, e-mails. And the diary.

The diary that paints a much more sinister version of events than was ever made publicly known.

my rambles

Special thanks to Little, Brown BYR for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!
*Note: The Dead House is a book that is told in a unique way, through the incorporation of photos, and other types of media. Because I was given an ARC, there were many images that were left out, possibly taking away from the story. Please take that into consideration when reading my review.

When I first got The Dead House in the mail and opened it up, I was really surprised. I hadn’t known that this book would be designed and written the way it was. But when I finally opened to the first page to start reading, I found it to be an incredibly awesome way to format the book and tell this story. Throughout The Dead House you’ll encounter newspaper articles, journal entries, video and audio transcription, post-it notes, images, and more. How cool is that? Add to that that almost everything is dated (which will help you a lot because the book skips around in time), and an unreliable narrator, and The Dead House will blow your mind!

The Dead House is a compilation of all the evidence that the police have found, put in chronological order. Think of it like a notebook filled with outside pages being stapled and taped in, etc. This was awesome because while you read the journal entries from Kaitlyn’s point of view and get to know her, you also get to put the pieces of the puzzle together slowly when you read the transcriptions of the audio and video. It’s a weird feeling, seeing two sides of the same story at once, without having a second narrator.

I’m not sure how to approach talking about the characters, but this is definitely a character-driven story. Kaitlyn is the driving force from the beginning, but I loved getting to see glimpses of Carly and their relationship. It made their story really believable (Hence, unreliable narrator, maybe? I still don’t know. The ending tells you nothing, but I’ll get to that later…). The side characters also had their own interesting things to them — Brett, John, and Ari, in particular. All of them get close to Kaitlyn, which makes their roles pretty interesting

I wasn’t expecting a psychological thriller out of The Dead House, based on the cover and the little that I knew about it, but I loved how it all worked out! It’s a stretch to call it horror, I’d say it’s more eerie and unnerving to think about kinds of people like Kaitlyn and Carly.

As for that ending, as I said before, don’t expect answers and everything to be all cleaned up for you. That’s the exact opposite of what happens! But I loved how it all worked into the story — it was like a real life police investigation that was never solved. And after you read it, you’ll be like all those other conspiracy theorists trying to figure out your own theory about what happened!

All in all, The Dead House is a great choice if you’re looking for a story told in an unconventional way, with amazing characters and an extremely interesting storyline. It’s fast paced and exciting, and the ending will leave you speechless!

8

xo

Review: What We Knew by Barbara Stewart

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: July 14th, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Contemporary, Thriller
Synopsis from Goodreads:

When a local myth starts to seem like a dangerous reality, two girls are set on a path that could change their lives forever

“When I was little, I imagined a monster: Scaly hands. Pits for eyes…”

When Tracy and her best friend, Lisa, were kids, stories about a man—a creep who exposes himself to little girls—kept them out of the woods and in their own backyards. But Tracy and Lisa aren’t so little anymore, and the man in the woods is nothing but a stupid legend. Right?

But someone is in the woods. Someone is watching. And he knows all their secrets, secrets they can’t tell anyone—not even each other.

“Monsters don’t exist.”

Lisa’s just being paranoid. At least that’s what Tracy thinks. But when a disturbing “gift” confirms her worst fears, it sets the girls on a dangerous journey that takes them beyond the edge of the woods. But reality is more terrifying than the most chilling myth, and what they find will test the bonds of friendship, loyalty, and love.

“Once upon a time, two girls were lost in the woods.”

In Barbara’s Stewart’s What We Knew, Tracy and Lisa can’t destroy the evil they’ll face, but can they stop it from destroying each other?

my rambles

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

What We Knew was a thrilling page-turner that I devoured in practically one sitting. The synopsis hinted that this was going to be a dark book, and it was. There were lots of moments where I was chilled to the bone by the horrors that this book brought to light — the horrors of reality.

While What We Knew should definitely be classified as a thriller for the mysteriousness in the way that it was written, the content was that of a darker contemporary, and I thought that the story reflected that. The main characters are troubled and there is more going on than just the thrilling and scary aspects of the story, which I really liked.

My favorite aspect of the book had to be the emails that were interspersed throughout the chapters, written from the main character, Tracey to her brother, Scott. Those emails gave lots of insight to what happened to Tracey, her best friend Lisa, and Lisa’s sister Katie at the end of the novel. They created tons of suspense and curiosity to find out what the events described amounted to.

One part of the book was a bit confusing to me and seemed sort of unnecessary (I can’t say without spoiling), which is why I felt like I could only give this a 4.5 star rating.

There is a bit of romance (and I guess you could consider it a love triangle…), but it felt right for the story. It wasn’t overpowering and it made the whole story of a group of high school kids seem more realistic.

I mentioned before the darkness that this book has within its pages. Without spoiling too much, I wanted to warn that sexual abuse is a topic, and it’s handled well, but it’s definitely prevalent and a major part of the storyline.

Overall, What We Knew was chilling, realistic, and a suspenseful page-turner! If you’re into books with dark themes and thrilling stories, this is the book for you!

xo

Review: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: June 9th, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Contemporary, Thriller
Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm & Strange, comes a twisted and haunting tale about three teens uncovering dark secrets and even darker truths about themselves.

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.

my rambles

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me with a copy of the book to review!

The first thought that came to my mind when I closed Delicate Monsters after reading the final page was “What did I just read?!” This book’s title should be found under the definition of psychological thriller in the dictionary, because, wow, I don’t know what to think or how to feel. The initial synopsis for the book intrigued me, but when I read the book it wasn’t what I expected at all. Not to say that I was disappointed, Delicate Monsters was just unexpected and not my typical read.

Delicate Monsters tells its story through three different unreliable narrators, all of which are extremely troubled and have dark and disturbed minds. This book overall reflects the characters personalities – it’s disturbing and will drive you crazy. I hated each of these three main characters, didn’t sympathize or empathize with them at all. They’re not misled, they’re not misunderstood, they’re just cruel and evil.

The events that take place in the book are shocking, serious and no less dark than the characters that do them. Reading Delicate Monsters made me uncomfortable, as I don’t normally pick up books dealing with topics like these. But even through the discomfort, there was something about the book that kept me turning pages. Maybe it was the sick fascination of being inside these twisted, horrible character’s minds, maybe it was the want to know how this crazy story ends. But something about the book made me keep reading and turning page after page.

All in all, Delicate Monsters is an extremely fitting title for this book. The storyline is dark, and follows characters that are best handled with care, and certainly have monsters living deep within them. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, as it is a book that will turn your brain.

xo