Find Me by Romily Bernard | Book Review

Find Me by Romily Bernard | Book ReviewFind Me by Romily Bernard
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen- September 24, 2013
Genres: YA Mystery, YA Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: None -- debut!
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

After their mother committed suicide and their criminal father fled to allude the police, Wick and her younger sister Lily have been placed in foster care and are trying to leave their life behind. The only thing is that it keeps catching up with them and Wick’s hacking skills don’t help keeping them out of danger. She tries to lay low with it until she receives the diary of a former childhood friend on her doorstep and then she finds out at school that Tessa is dead — a suicide. The Post It with the diary says “Find Me” but Wick doesn’t want to get involved until she finds out something that threatens someone she loves and knows she has to do whatever it takes.

Find Me by Romily Bernard was quite the page-turning thriller and I think that was the type of read I needed to get me out of my weird reading slump I mentioned I was in where I was putting down all sorts of books after 1 or 2 pages.  But here’s the thing, the strong start that kept me panicky and flying through it slowly dissipated for me a little more than the halfway mark. I was feeling super bummed and kept me at a point where I couldn’t say this was the phenomenal read I saw it shaping up to me — just a good one. Still positive feelings toward it — I liked it– but I became a little disappointed by the end.

Find Me opened up real strong for me and really progressed at a rapid pace. We learn about her past and find out along with Wick about the suicide of her old friend, Tessa, along with diary that finds its way to Wick. As the contents inside are revealed I couldn’t stop turning the pages and HAD to know what happened to Tessa and who the older creeper was she had a relationship with that made her commit suicide — especially when we find out who his next target is. I was ready for Wick, who is pretty kickass & a hacker, to start using those skills and find this mega creep. I was ready to get my Nancy Drew/Veronica Mars on with her!

I was flying through this book and it had that perfect amount of mystery to keep you going and thinking up all sorts of theories. But then about half way (or a little more than halfway) it became really obvious where this was heading to me as I started to eliminate people logically and think about certain things. What I was really hoping was that I was WRONG about who it was or that some new suspects would be introduced or a twist or something to at least trick me a little bit or make me doubt myself. Instead, it played out exactly how I thought it would so when the big reveal happened it was a bit luckluster for me and so the pursuit and resolution weren’t as “OMG AH WHAT IS GOING ON??” for me. I just needed a little bit more I think — there was only a certain amount of people and connections that could possibly be introduced. There was nothing too shocking for me. But that’s my dilemma when it comes to these types of books. I AM good at guessing so was it really just the book and the way it was plotted or should I be pursing a career in detective work instead??

Despite the way I thought the story went, I still liked other aspects of it. I really loved Wick and Lily and loved the strong sense of family loyalty between them and how each girl felt about their new family with their past still lingering. There was also an interesting thread in the story that had to do with Wick and Lily’s real dad and showed a lot of their past and you could just see how this transition into a new life would be hard. Wick was a great character and definitely not cookie cutter for me. She was quite sassy sometimes, loved her sister fiercely and was a hacker! I will say, I’m probably in the minority, but I didn’t LOVE the romance in this one but did appreciate that she didn’t become some weak and feeble girl when a boy came in the picture.

Find Me by Romily Bernard definitely was the page-turner I needed to snap me out of my reading slump because it immediately had this MUST FIND OUT mystery element to it. However, it became really predictable in the way it was plotted out, for me, so then the big reveal seemed lackluster because I had ruled out the other possibilities pretty easily. No doubt I enjoyed most of the book but for me to be anywhere other than “just liked it” it would have had to deliver something else that blew my mind. Luckily there were great characters and some familial threads that gave some more meat to this story as well.

Recommendation: If you are one who has read a lot of thrillers, you might end up predicting it early on like I did because there wasn’t much else that made sense and no other possible twists thrown out. If you don’t really pick up thrillers often, I absolutely recommend this because it’s such a page-turner and maybe you won’t read it the same way I did!

Find Me by Romily Bernard review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Did you like it more/less than I did? Did you guess who it was?? Or am I just the boring person who apparently guesses everything all the time?? GRR. On that note, does your ability to predict a book effect your enjoyment of a book? I definitely still enjoyed this but the fact it didn’t surprise me at all made it on an OMG MUST READ. But is that MY great guessing skills or the book’s fault? SIGH. What are some thrillers that kept YOU guessing?

The Rules For Disappearing by Ashley Elston | Book Review

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston cover & reviewBook Title/Author: The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
Publisher/Year
: Disney-Hyperion – May 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA – Mystery
Series: The ending seems  to leave it open that it could be one (and I see a #2 on Goodreads) but I think it could also stand alone.
Other Books From Author: None — debut!

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I received this from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

Meg and her family have been put into the Witness Protection Program and have been bounced around to new towns and given new identities six different times. Meg doesn’t what her dad did to land them  in the program and her parents refuse to speak about it. Meg sees her family falling apart — her mom is drinking a lot, her dad is keeping something and look stressed all the time and her little sister is so fragile and is barely speaking — and she knows she has to figure out why they are in this situation to save her family and to stop all the tiring identity changes. She’s sick of making relationships only to have to leave so she enters this new school keeping a low profile and vowing not to make any friends — until she meets Ethan, the cute farm boy, whose curiosity could be dangerous for them both.

I really enjoyed The Rules For Disappearing though the first half was significantly a better experience for me in many ways. I didn’t fall in LOVE with this book like so many did but it was a pretty good read for me that and the MOST PERFECT gym book! It was a fun blend of mystery, romance, action, great character development and some nice familial aspects that I don’t often see.

The premise, right off the bat, drew me in as it was wholly unique with the main character and her family being in the Witness Protection Program. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of the WPP and Ashley Elston definitely drew me in with the main character’s experiences of being moved around and having new identities all the time. The majority of The Rules of Disappearing takes place in the latest town but I loved the way we learn about the prior moves and how, at this point, she’s just so weary of it all. You really see why she is so hardened now when she arrives in this new town and I really felt for her and how her life was now totally different than it ever was. I felt for her especially since it seemed like the rest of her family was taking all of this even worse than she was and I was drawn into how all of this moving and changing of identities could wreak havoc on a family. I thought Ashley Elston really excelled in creating a believable voice and exploring how this experience might really mess a family up –especially with so many secrets and mystery around WHY they are in this situation.

The mystery element of this book was what made it the most perfect gym read because I just wanted to keep finding out MORE of what happened that put them in this Witness Protection Program and her dad was so hellbent on not telling her that it drove me just as crazy as Meg. It was unraveled at what I found to be a good pace and I was surprised once we finally found out the event that was the catalyst for everything. I figured out “the twist”  for sure because of how fixated Meg was on it but the actual event was surprising to me but that’s where it kind of got EH for me as things start being remembered and Meg decides to take matters into her own hand.

Things that prevented this from going beyond a GOOD read to that next level? I thought the romantical element started out  interesting — she was so cold to him because she knew they’d probably have to uproot again and he kept annoying her and trying to find out more. I thought their exchanges were fun and playful but then as the romance progressed it just fell flat for me. The love interest is by all standards swoonworthy and I really adored Ethan but it just really felt like really intense so soon and the things that I loved about Meg just seemed to get lost inside of this romance. There was just so much of her doing things wrong and him always coming in to save the day and I just thought the first part of the book was better in terms of their relationship dynamic. I just didn’t feel anything after the halfway mark when  I was LOVING their exchanges in the beginning.

The second part of the book gets increasingly action packed and I had a love/hate relationship with it. It was good because it kept up this page-turning tempo that held my attention until the very end but pretty much I had to suspend my disbelief VERY often. I mean,  I know it’s fiction but just the way everything went down I started to get eyerolly about certain things and it distracted me from the things I LOVED about this book — the character development, the familial dynamics, etc.

The Rules For Disappearing was a book that I enjoyed but ultimately didn’t finish as strong for me. It made a great gym read for me because of the mystery and the building suspense. I was invested in Meg and her family and finding out the reasons for why they were thrust into the Witness Protection Program but as the why’s started being revealed I felt conflicted about where it went. On one hand, I flew through it but, on the other hand, I just thought it missed the mark as it progressed. I loved the character development and the unique premise and thought it was a breeze to read and quite fun. It never went anywhere past the “good” mark for me but overall an enjoyable read.

 

The rules for dissappearing ashley elston

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of it?  If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? I’m probably in the minority on the love story huh? I mean,  I did LOVE Ethan but I just loved it more in the beginning than the end. Did you guess the twist? Have you read any other stories with the Witness Protection Program plot?

 

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley | Book Review

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz ColeyBook Title/Author: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
Publisher/Release Date
: Katherine Tegan Books – March 19th 2013
Genre: YA Mystery, YA Contemporary
Series: No.
Other Books From Author:

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I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

The last thing Angie remembers is being thirteen and at Girl Scout camp. When she finds herself in front of her house with no memory of why she’s standing there, she finds out from her very shocked parents that she’s actually been missing for 3 years and is no a sixteen year old. Angie has no memory of the last three years at all. She struggles to make sense of what happened and tries to remember and piece together the mystery of her kidnapping and captivity while trying to reintegrate back into her normal life — but her psyche is making that very hard.

I went into Pretty Girl-13 knowing it was going to be a pretty intense book — after all I saw a blurb saying it was reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case and I knew of her story of being kidnapped as a young teen and eventually found so I knew that sort of storyline was going to not be a light read. I was definitely right. Pretty Girl-13 had my attention from the start. Liz Coley immediately begins it in a way that unsettles and intrigues and the questions started flooding to my brain. Who did it? How did she escape? Why can’t she remember? What happened in those 3 years?

I have to applaud the way Liz Coley unraveled this mystery with, what I thought, was perfect execution. The mystery of who abducted her is weaved together with a psychological mystery too — why is her own mind shutting her out and causing her to not remember where she was for 3 years?  We get some pieces here and there and things are revealed in a way that just makes you hunger to know more and turn the pages faster. Sometimes we are learning things along side with Angie and sometimes we are meant to understand and piece things together before she does and have to experience her painful journey to figure out the tidbit we just figured out. It took me a little bit to get into it and figuring out who was narrating because there is the story and then there are these pages in italics but you quickly figure it out and understand what is going on. But even with that..it made me even MORE intrigued and once you start to understand a little bit of WHAT is going on with her mental state it makes a ton of sense and becomes this page-turning mystery that I honestly had a hard time putting down.

I was a little scared as to HOW intense this book would be because I’ve read some kidnapping stories before and, even though they are all equally hard, some are way more graphic and disturbing than others. This one is quite disturbing — there is sexual exploitation — but it never went to the graphic side. All of the sexual abuse that I remember was very much alluded to or “behind the curtain” so to speak. The psychological aspect of this was absolutely fascinating. I don’t want to give too much away (because I think this is a good book to go in somewhat blind to)  but it was absolutely riveting and frightening to me.

Pretty Girl-13 was one of the most gripping stories I’ve read in a while. Angie’s story of being kidnapped and returning home with no memory of the last three years was riveting, chilling and made my heart heavy but also appreciate the ability of the human spirit to triumph and be courageous against all odds. The mystery of her abduction and the psychological state she is in was revealed in a way that made it impossible to put it down! It’s definitely not a light read and will twist your insides around but I really recommend it if you are okay with something a bit darker but not graphic or explicit.

 

 

Pretty Girl-13 Liz Coley Review

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Think it sounds like something you’d like to read? What did you think if you have read it? Did you find the psychology part fascinating like I did?  Have you read any other kidnapping stories? They intrigue me but are super hard to read! I can’t imagine being a parent and having this happen or being the child and being ripped away and abused.

The Ruining by Anna Collomore

The Ruining by Anna Collomore - YA new release 2013Book Title/Author: The Ruining by Anna Collomore
Publisher/Release Date
: Razorbill – February 7th 2013
Genre: YA Thriller
Series: No
Other Books From Author: None — The Ruining is her debut title.

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I received this from Penguin in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

 

Annie can’t wait to leave home after she graduates high school — there’s too many things that haunt her there. She’s lined up a nanny job with a picture perfect family across the country where she’ll also attend her freshman year of college. Immediately she gets along great with the Cohens and she absolutely adores the wife, Libby, who seems like a sister to her. It doesn’t stay perfect for long — Libby starts snapping on her and accusing her of things she knows she didn’t do (like staring flirtatiously at her husband). The job becomes more demanding and Libby seems to go from hot to cold easily and Annie finds her privacy suddenly stripped away when the door is taken away because Libby thinks it’s broken and needs to be repaired. Annie finds herself struggling to keep up and on Libby’s good side but has a hard time staying afloat as she becomes more and more suspicious of Libby and also haunted by her past.

I have beyond complicated thoughts right now about The Ruining. My whole brain is just feeling like it’s in a post night out drinking haze where I’m like “How did I get into bed with my shoes still on, the key still in the door and why did I call Pizza Hut 50 times?” My brain is just reaaaaaching to find some clarity here so I can tell you about this book and my thoughts on it but the book was complicated. It’s complicated further by the fact that I can’t say TOO much or I will spoil it for you because it’s the kind of book that really relies on the element of the MindWTFery…like most psychological thriller type books.

The first 50-75% of this books was flipping fantastic for me! I was intrigued by Annie’s new life as a nanny and immediately I kept getting little pricks of “something isn’t right here!” within this picture perfect family and giddily awaited the potential MindWTFery. As the story progresses, my mind went into overdrive trying to figure out if the things that were happening in the story were real or if Annie was  crazy. I pretty much changed my theory every chapter as things escalated. Sometimes I thought Libby was a psycho and then other times Annie’s reactions to things were so extreme and then I would feel all suspicious of the family again….all to sit there and think, “I really have no idea because at the end of the day Annie seems like she could be a pretty unreliable narrator and now I feel crazy because I’m in her head.” The suspense was perfect and clever because you never felt completely sure what was going on and things just got crazier and crazier.

The part that really keeps from me RAVING, in the way I thought I would as I breezed through the first 75% of The Ruining, was the ending! It was a huge letdown. Friends, I am a HUGE lover of a good mind-you-know-what. I relish in them and am a psychological thriller junkie. And normally I never see it coming. And remember all those theories I told you I came up with? There were some I never wavered from because I felt so strongly about them and, honestly, a lot of them seemed so obvious. I kind of figured I would be wrong about them. But then unfortunately I was right about all of them. Admittedly, I DO guess things in books and movies but it’s quite rare in a really good psychological thriller that I do. I walk away stunned with the ending and my head spinning and this was not the case.

But not only did the actual ENDING let me down but the way the ending WAS just killed the mood. Through the first part of this book I was very on edge and feeling everything — that tension of truth and not truth was intense. But then the ending and the revelations were just so dull, rushed and anti-climactic. It wrapped up so quickly and without much oomph ( I wish I could explain more but I don’t want to give it away). Revelations were just sort of told rather than experienced and I kept thinking, “that’s all?” all the way up until the end. Resolutions happen very behind the scenes and we aren’t a part of it like we were in the beginning. I get WHY because of what’s happened to Annie but it just, for me personally, was a let down to how Anna Collomore had me feeling before.

Random but this also reminded me of a movie or something that I CANNOT for the life of me think of!

My feelings on The Ruining are so complicated. I very much enjoyed the ride of feeling like I couldn’t tell what was real or who was the crazy one in this story. I knew SOMETHING wasn’t right. The tension was perfect that I flew through. But then the ending…the execution and the conclusion of that last quarter of the book were just such a let down for me that I can’t really rave about this book as much as I would have had it stayed on par with what I came to expect or would have hoped for it. I’m a huge fan of the MindWTFery and maybe because I’ve read and watched so much of those psychologically jarring books/movies that I was hoping for something more WOW. It was pretty much the most obvious things and the storytelling  became dull compared to how fantastic it was before. If you are new to psychological thriller type books, I’d say you might like it compared to someone who has read a lot of them.

 

For Fans  Of: psychological type thrillers, MindWTFery, suspense, books dealing with mental illness, people who don’t mind a bit of predictability

Get Another Opinion: The Quiet Concert loved & gave it four stars!

The Ruining by Anna Collomore

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Did you enjoy it/not enjoy it? Heard of it? If you have read it, did you find that your theories were right in the end? And what did you think about Owen? Because honestly he seemed charming but towards the end I was getting some controlling vibes. ALSO, have any of you ever been loving a book but then the end of the book is a complete let down for you?  Anybody have any good psychological thriller recs? I’m talking Fight Club-ish. :)

Review Of The Innocents by Lili Peloquin

Book Title/Author: The Innocents by Lili Peloquin
Publisher/Year: : Razorbill October 16 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary Mystery
Series: YES!
Other Books From Author: None!

Amazon| Goodreads | The Innocents Facebook
I received this ARC from the publisher and, while appreciated, this did not sway my opinions in any way.

Sister’s Alice & Charlie have always been close — best friends even. When their mom gets remarried to a very wealthy architect, the girls get uprooted from their small home and the life they’ve always known and are move to their new stepfather’s mansion and are thrust into the lives of the rich where scandals and secrets abound and where the allure of it all could threaten their bond. Charlie easily embraces her new rich life while Alice rejects it and falls into a web of secrets that could put an even bigger wedge between her and Charlie.

Oh this book. I have confusing feelings. I didn’t hate this book by ANY MEANS but it just wasn’t fully what I was hoping for unfortunately. I could see something compelling and intriguing just bubbling under the surface but unfortunately it never came into fruition until about 75% of the way in and the BIG SHOCKING REVEAL (really the only BIG one to be honest ) that I kept reading for was something I predicted so very soon in the novel. I expected at least something else CRAZY to go along with it.

I mean by the end we are left with SO many intriguing things to find out — what Tommy’s big secret is, how Camilla found out — and so many things we KNOW are going to go down as a result of events — like how Charlie is going to find out the BIG SECRET or her confronting her dad about things. To be honest, I WANT to read the second book for all the potential mystery, suspense and crazy huge drama that this book set up for — seems like it really could be along the lines of Pretty Little Liars meets Gossip Girl meets Revenge. THOSE kinds of awesome dramas with secrets and crazy plot twists and rich families.

But that’s mostly what this book was for me — a tease for what’s to come — because seriously I couldn’t even figure out where this story was going for like 50% of the book and then it didn’t start getting REALLY compelling until 75% of the way through like I mentioned. It just seemed it was, prior to becoming engaging to me, all  “hey this is a story of two sisters who are uprooted when their mom marries a wealthy architect and they have a hard time adjusting to rich society and they both fall in insta-love and one is super paranoid that there is this conspiracy and I don’t quite know why.” TRULY that’s all I was getting in the beginning. That’s all it seemed like and I was just DYING for some drama and mystery and twisty turns that would induce gasps of shock and horror. But when it got good…it was GOOD. Really good. I felt like I was MEH until the 3/4 mark and then the rest of the way I’m breathless and turning the pages like a madwoman. Wished that feeling had been stretched out evenly during the book and not contained to the last part. Like I said, I so WANT to find out what happens in the next book. I just hope it’s better for me than this book.

I had my difficulties with Alice among many of the characters. Firstly, she starts sleuthing around based on really nothing. She has all these theories and things (which clearly they are founded) but most of the book it doesn’t seem like there is any basis to any of her theories. She just has these hunches but none of them seemed like obvious red flags until she gets digging around a bit. It just seemed like her suspicions came nearly from thin air. Also, she’s really quite a tightwad? Harsh perhaps but OH MY GOSH she was rather abrasive at times. She was always thinking everyone was slighting her or out to get her.

 

I think this series will be popular amongst the Pretty Little Liars fans as well as for people who like shows like Gossip Girl, 90210 & Revenge. It’s got the potential for major mystery and suspense, drama and those oh so seductive twists, turns and family secrets amongst rich society members that has me tuning into ALL OF THE ABOVE shows each week. Unfortunately for me, all THAT came to late in The Innocents. I was barely intrigued or engaged until 75% through in which I was left with an OMG ending that was packed with all the ingredients that make me love those shows. This book didn’t do it for me but I am going to book 2 a chance because 1) This book set up for some potentially awesome storylines and 2) Peloquin’s writing is quite good.

 

For Fans Of: Pretty Little Liars series, contemporary YA mysteries involving scandals & rich society
** An FYI for anyone wondering about content issues — a fair amount of cursing, alcohol, weed & such. Just so you know **

 

Let’s Talky Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? Was I the only one who found it slow until 3/4 of the way through? ALSO, I want recs for books like this and the Pretty Little Liars series!

Review Of The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting

Book Cover Of The Last Echo Kimberly DertingBook/Author: The Last Echo: A Body Finder Novel by Kimberly Derting
Part Of A Series: Yes – The Body Finder (Bk 1) & Desires Of The Dead (Bk 2)
Genre: YA mystery (supernatural elements but  it’s not paranormal)
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen – April 17, 2012
I received this from the publisher for an honest review & it did not sway my opinions on this book or series.
Buy It Here | Goodreads

 

The Last Echo, the third installment of The Body Finders series by Kimberly Derting was by far the CREEPIEST & most thrilling (and my personal fave) of the three books. In the first two books, Violet has used her ability to hear echos from the dead to solve murders on her own. But in this book, she’s working with a team – an underground government agency if you will – with special abilities similar to her own that we were introduced to at the end of Desires of the Dead. Working on these cases with this group seem to get her into even more trouble!

As in The Body Finder & Desires of the Dead, every few chapters we get inside the head of who Violet is tracking down. This time around was THE creepiest ever. I honestly kept shuddering while reading the killer’s perspective in this one because it was just psycho killer movie type creepy to me as he hunts down girls from a local college. I wasn’t frightened but I definitely got the heebie jeebies for sure by being in his delusional mind. Though I thought one of the big things that happened to Violet was a little predictable (but then again I’m always guessing what’s going to happen in movies and tv shows), I compulsively had to read to figure out how this killer would be caught. I felt like a crazed detective that can’t eat or sleep until the case is cracked.

I loved learning more about Rafe and Sara and the rest of the gang. Although, my biggest issue with how this storyline was done  is that I wish we could have learned more about them and their abilities but hopefully we’ll get to learn more in the next book. I thought this storyline was interesting and made for some ultra tense moments that were eluded to at the end of Desires of The Dead… although I was a little distraught at the lack of Jay in parts of the book. I LOVE ME SOME JAY! But the parts he was in were worth it..especially a sexy little scene.

Let me just say the ending – SHOCKING. Cannot wait for the next book to see how THAT all plays out!

The Final Thought: If you want thrilling mysteries that involve supernatural elements & a tinge of romance, this is a great YA series for that! These books are always very quick reads and always keep my attention. The Last Echo did NOT disappoint for me as it upped the thrills and creepiness factor. I flew through it and couldn’t put it down until the very end…which left me with my mouth open and anxiously awaiting book 4! My crime drama show loving heart can’t help but love this series because they are a cross between Criminal Minds, Medium & a dash of Veronica Mars for good measure.

You Might Also Like: Clarity by Kim Harrington

 Review On A Post-It

PS. I’m looking to find even more YA mysteries that are either contemporary or have some supernatural elements (I already know a ton of paranormal mysteries). Recommendations??

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