3 May/June Releases I Read

Summer has been busy and my attention span has been that of a gnat to actually sit down and write a ton of book talk type stuff. So mini review time for some books that were released in May and June that I just really would like to talk about sooner rather than later.

Made You Up Francesca Zappia

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

About In A Sentence (ish): Alex is starting a new school her senior year after an incident that got her kicked out of her last school. She wants to make it through the year with no trouble which is hard considering she has schizophrenia — something she tries to keep to herself and she’s trying to keep in check until she meets a boy who looks like someone from her hallucinations.

Thoughts: This one was really interesting as the main character is a little bit unreliable to us as readers. She has schizophrenia so as things are happening within the story you are constantly wondering if it is real or not real. I really loved Alex and how tough she was. I could feel how frustrating it must be for her to be unable to always decipher reality from delusion but I loved the ferocity in which she lived in spite of that and how she really tried to take control of it in her own way. I loved her so much and my heart broke for her in those moments where she was so confused no matter how much she tried to manage it. There’s a pretty great cast of characters in general — like Miles, the love interest — and I just couldn’t put it down because of my desire for Alex to persevere and to find out what is real/not real especially with some conspiracies. There is a moment, a thing that I guessed and ultimately turned out to be true, and the realization of that moment just broke me down. Made You Up was just a very fantastic read that I recommend. I can’t say how accurate its portrayal of schizophrenia is but, to me, I found Alex’s schizophrenia to feel so real and like while a big part of her…it didn’t at all DEFINE her.

Rating:

RATING-reallyliked

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

The Devil You Know By Trish Doller

About (in a sentence-ish): Cadie has spent a lot of her time going to school, working and taking care of her dad and sister so when she has a chance for adventure with two boys she meets at a campfire she takes it. All is fun until it’s not because one of the boys might not be what he seems.

Thoughts: This is the saddest thing — to not mark a new book by a favorite author as a new favorite book — which is not to say I didn’t like it. I loved Trish’s first two books but I didn’t LOVE this the way I loved them. I think it’s more of a “me” issue and my deal with mystery/thriller/suspense kind of books. Unless I’m shocked or the mystery is super elaborate or all sorts of mindf*ckery, it never gets like super high ratings. If I completely guess it without any wavering or found it to be obvious, no matter how objectively good the book is (which I can still enjoy those parts), I have a hard time rating it high because it kills some of the enjoyment for me. While it got super creepy and twisted at times, I didn’t find it to be all that mysterious or hard to crack what was going on. I didn’t feel the suspense or exhilaration to because I was certain what was going on  even though I DID fly through this book. I just kept waiting for something to happen to make me be like WOW OKAY but in the suspense/thriller department it didn’t.  But what it didn’t do for me there,  there was so much GOOD. It had Trish Doller’s signature writing which is always so fantastic and a main character who is just SO complex plus she owned her sexuality and her life choices which I loved. I loved reading about her family dynamics and could feel the weight on her shoulders so I just so understood her desire to just be free and a bit reckless when she gets the chance to do something that ignites the desires of her heart that have been kind of locked away. I’m sad I can’t give this higher marks but it just didn’t make me fall in love like her other books Something Like Normal and Where The Stars Still Shine.  All the things I found great about it are so typical of those books…I think it just comes down to the genre being a hard one for me.

Rating

 RATING-LIKED

 

 A Sense of the Infinite Hilary T. Smith

A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith

About In A Sentence-ish: Annabeth and Noe have been best friends for years and even have planned their future endeavors together until Noe starts dating a guy and their friendship shows signs of drifting apart at a time when Annabeth needs Noe because her personal life is complicated and doesn’t know what to do without her.

Thoughts: What a great and complicated book about friendship! I’m all about books that have really strong friendships but I also really love ones that explore that fragile nature of friendship and those friendships that slowly start to crumble as two people go in different directions life-wise but still want to hold on for whatever reasons. It was such a great portrait of a friendship breakup, especially a really like exclusively close bff duo, and Annabeth’s story was really compelling to me especially with her family dynamics and secrets. Plus Hilary T. Smith’s beautiful prose strikes again! I loved Wild Awake and I could tell she was a talented writer, and while very different kind of style compared to Wild Awake, it’s equally as stunning. I will probably write a whole post devoted to all the things this book brought up re: friendship soon!! It’s a quieter contemporary YA but it explores a lot of things very poignantly.

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

 

 

 

 

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Book Talk: Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

Book Talk: Liars, Inc. by Paula StokesLiars, Inc. by Paula Stokes
Published by HarperTeen on April 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

Max, his best friend Preston and his girlfriend Parvarti start this business (they call it Liars, Inc) of selling forged permission slips and tests and excuse notes to their classmates. Basically they provide students with cover stories and such. Business is going great and they are making lots of money until Preston asks Max for a cover story of his own to go meet a girl he met online and then nobody hears from him. Soon the police are looking for him and Max seems to be suspect #1.

a2HMM why don’t I read more mysteries?

a4

I don’t often read a lot of mysteries but I do like them! Every time after I read one I wonder why I don’t read more of them. I love being kept on the edge of my seat and constantly guessing who did it or what is going on. It’s so fun! (I also really loved Nancy Drew and Clue as a kid). Liars, Inc. definitely kept me on my toes with its twists and turns. I guessed right quite a bit before it was revealed but I was impressed with the way the clues were laid out and loved waiting to see if my suspicions were right. It was definitely an explosive ending.

I seriously could not stop reading it. Paula Stokes hooked me from the beginning — like the first page which is always a welcome feeling to just feel like you are going headfirst right into the tangly web. And after that strong start I was just devouring it because I had to know what was going on. The circumstances were so fishy around Preston’s disappearance and it was so frustrating that it looked like Max was being framed. Every time something made him look like suspect #1 I was like just like NO NO NO. This story was full of tangled webs and lies. LOTS OF LIES. Lies that started everything, lies that keep it all going.

There was a romance in this book. It was important to the story but I can’t say I really had many feelings either way towards it. I was more interested in the twists and the turn which the romance did factor into it in ways.

Overall, I enjoyed the ride and the characters though, I feel like, because I’m such a character-driven reader that I never fall in love with mysteries or their characters as much as I do other kinds of books. That’s not to say in SOME mysteries I don’t but that always seems to be my deal with most. I think? But sometimes I also read mysteries for different reasons than I read other genres so that’s okay? Anyways, I will say I thought the characters to be very well written compared to a lot mysteries I read so YAY.

a6RATING-LIKED

factors+ page-turning qualities, twists & turns, interesting plot
–  didn’t completely blow me away like I need to rate a mystery higher (I need complete mindfuckery for that)

Re-readability: No
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No, not personally because it’s not a favorite or one I would re-read. I tend to borrow rather than buy mysteries.

a5YA readers who like mysteries, people wanting a quick read that will be HARD to put down, readers who are newer to mysteries (I think if you read A LOT of them it’s not WOW enough to be honest), fans of Dangerous Girls looking for more like that (though I rated DG higher for sure)

a8Liars, Inc was a twisty, turny mystery that I gobbled right up. Intriguing premise and characters and full of tangled webs and lies. Reminded me how much I love reading mysteries!

review-on-post-it

Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

Did you guess what was going on (if talking spoilers, which I would LOVE to do with you, please mark them in the comments)?

What did you think of the whole Max and Parvarti situation?

Do you have any recs for good YA mysteries? The more crazy and twisty the better!

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

A January & February Release I Enjoyed!

I’ve got two mini reviews for you today! Just trying to get caught up — that ever so elusive achievement for me!

 

Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

 

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

Amazon // Goodreads
Published: January 2015
Received a copy for review from the publisher. This is no way influenced the opinions shared.

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: One day Avery think she is a semi-normal teenager and the next she’s being whisked away to Paris and told she has a secret, powerful family who has had a hand in a lot of the world’s history. And then she finds out that she might just be part of the key to decoding an ancient prophecy that has alluded people which makes her a pawn for the people who want to use her to figure out this mystery and also those who want her dead because of the power she could hold.

This one was fun and had me racing through the pages as the stakes kept getting higher and the conspiracies kept getting more layered. I’d heard it described as a YA DaVinci Code (also reminded me of National Treasure) and I can see that totally! You’ve got to suspend some disbelief obviously and forgive Avery for things, as a reader, you see pretty clearly (I totally guessed some things or called bad decisions) but it didn’t detract from my experience. I loved getting to know this dangerous and powerful family that Avery discovers that she has and seeing how lavish their lifestyle is and the secret hand they have in a lot of the world’s history (so much historical goodness). It was exciting and truly mysterious as danger seemed to lurk at every corner and plots to use Avery were a plenty. The only things I didn’t love: the romance (I don’t really feel it in any REAL way) and also I just struggled with the characterization not being as strong as I typically like. I will be continuing on with this series because I love a good, fast paced conspiracy thriller and I’m so interested in decoding this mystery right along with them (hopefully with even more whisking away to foreign countries)! Super entertaining!

RATING

RATING-LIKED

 

 

My Heart & Other Black Holes

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Amazon// Goodreads
Published: February 10, 2015
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way influenced the opinions shared.

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: The main character has spent much of her life plotting her suicide because she doesn’t want to end up like her father — a man who committed a violent crime that has made her a pariah amongst her peers. She realizes that she won’t carry it out on her own so she finds a website that helps you find a suicide partner which leads her to Roman — a boy so haunted by a tragedy in his family.

I named this as one of my favorite 2015 books I read in 2014 so you may have already seen how much I loved this one! This one was heavy and super emotional but also so full of life and hope despite the sadness crying out from the pages. Reading it made me feel the weight of all the books I own (a lot) on my chest. The two main characters both have some awful things that have happened to them and they feel the burden is just too much and that transferred on to me as a reader.  It’s so hard to read as they plot their mutual suicide and, as the countdown until the day it is supposed to happen, you just so desperately want them to find that one shred of hope to turn back from the plan especially as they start to truly form a bond. Warga deftly explores depression and suicide in a way that just haunts you. I really loved Aysel’s voice — it was just so REAL and honest and her personality was just so vibrant even amongst all the darkness she felt. *kind of spoilery* I was nervous when this book started going into romance territory because I was like “NO. THIS IS SO GOOD PLEASE DON’T SCREW THIS UP” but I thought Warga handled it pretty delicately and realistically and rather than handing us this “LOVE CURES ALL” story I think it was more that Roman became this mirror to which Aysel suddenly could see herself more clearly. Would I honestly have preferred it just to be a friendship? Yep. As a personal thing I think it could have shown it just as clearly how important their connection was in how it sparked some more life-affirming thoughts within them. *end spoiler* Hauntingly beautiful this one was and I dog-earred so many pages because, man, Jasmine Warga can write!

RATING

RATING-loved-it

 

 

 

Have you read either of these? I’d love to know what YOU thought!! If you haven’t read them, do you think they are something you are interested in?

Find Me by Romily Bernard | Book Review

Find Me by Romily Bernard | Book ReviewFind Me by Romily Bernard
Published by HarperTeen on September 24, 2013
Genres: YA Mystery, YA Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

three-stars

 

 

 

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?

three-stars

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!

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

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?

 

three-half-stars

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:

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

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.

four-stars

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.

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

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. :)

two-half-stars

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!

two-half-stars

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??

four-stars
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