9 Books To Read To Fill The Pretty Little Liars Shaped Hole In Your Heart

 

You ever have those shows that just go on and on and you have a love/hate relationship with them but you keep watching anyways? Pretty Little Liars has been that for me for the past 7 years. Sometimes it would start to lose me or make me mad but then it would suck me back in somehow. I can’t deny how addicted I have been to that show — no matter what happened.

As I’m writing this it’s a couple hours before the finale of Pretty Little Liars (have no idea if I will finish it in time to post it before it airs) and I’m just SO sad it’s ending even though I think it DOES need to end. It’s the end of an era and that always makes me sad. It’s always been my favorite twisty teen mystery to watch and scream in misery over as we get one answer for every 50 new questions that pop up. I never did read the books but maybe will someday to see how the diverge but I’ve just always enjoyed having this show to keep me on my toes.

So I figured I would put together a book list for those of you who are going to have that same void needed to be filled now that Pretty Little Liars is OVER. WAH. But the good side to this is…with these books you won’t have to wait 7 years to find out the answers! So that’s a win?

I hope you will leave your own recs of books to fill the void for me in the comments!!

 

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas: If you’ve followed this blog for a while you know how much I rave about this mystery. I devoured it from page 1. It is twisty and suspenseful and you will be addicted in this story about a group of friends having the time of their life on Spring Break until one of the girls ends up brutally murdered in their house and the main character ends up being a suspect and being at the center of a murder trial in a different country. SUPER TWISTY LET ME TELL YOU.

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Book Talk: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on July 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA, 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!

 

 

 

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

 

A1

Tess has grown up with her grandfather but when her sister, who she hasn’t seen in years, comes to visit and realizes things aren’t what Tess pretends they are at home, she’s suddenly whisked off to DC. She is enrolled in a super private school which seems to be the pulse of Washington as the rich and politically inclined have sent their kids there. She learns very quickly that her sister is famous in DC — she’s a political fixer. Without meaning to, she is thrown into fixing some of her classmates problems and finds herself tangled in a dangerous conspiracy that has implications for her classmates and higher up in Washington.

a2Is this going to be a series because that would be fun??? *scurries to Goodreads*
(There is at least a sequel from what I see but this totally stands on its own)

a4Oh this was fun! It was the perfect read for being on vacation because there was mystery and scandal and a fast moving plot to keep me reading and not distracted on the beach/at the pool. This book was pitched as Scandal meets Veronica Mars and I’d have to say it’s pretty accurate. It’s basically like if Olivia Pope had a little sister who came to live with her and caught up in messy Washington things. I get the Veronica Mars nod with the teens getting caught up in things and trying to solve/fix stuff but I can’t FULLY get behind the VMars comparison there will never be another character like V because she’s so perfectly snarky and charming (even though I rather liked the main character here). So that’s my thought if you saw the comparisons and wondered how it held up!

I got sooo wrapped up in the dramz in The Fixer — the sister drama, the new school drama, the political drama. OH SO MUCH GOOD DRAMA to keep the pages turning. Murder and scheming and political maneuvering, oh man! It was exactly the kind of twisty stuff that I love about an episode of Scandal or a show in that same vein. I loved that it kept me guessing as the mystery got twistier and twistier and the stakes even higher. I kept changing my theories…although I had a nagging suspicion about one thing and turned out to be right and I was like AHHH I KNEW I KNEW IT (but not in a bad way that was like UGH SO PREDICTABLE but in a DAMN THAT WAS GOOD..YOU ALMOST GOT THAT PAST ME).

There’s a whole host of interesting characters and players in The Fixer and I am really delighted that it looks like we will get to know them better with another book. I love romance in most of my books but it was refreshing for there not to be a full scale romance in here because I was ALL about the political thriller-ness that was this book — just maybe some inklings of something something in the romance department later on in the next book?? MAYBE. HOPEFULLY.

TIME FOR SOME SPOILERS:

View Spoiler »

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ plot, characters, twists & turns, writing, unputdownable quality
–  Nothing.

Re-readability: Probably not (I don’t tend to read mystery/thrillers again so that’s just a me thing)
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Because it’s not an all time favorite or a book I’d reread, no. But I wouldn’t hesistate to buy it for a gift especially for the teens in my life who like fast paced books.

a5fans of thrillers & mysteries (especially of the political variety), fans of Scandal and Veronica Mars (love when the “this meets this” is actually accurate on marketing material), readers looking for something fast paced and that will hook you easily, people who are looking for a book with basically no romance (but some kind of ~feelings there~ vibes and banter)

a8The Fixer was such a fun, thrilling book. I loved Scandal so I was happy this kind of lived up to that political twisty-ness. Loved that I was constantly changing my suspicions and, even though I had a nagging suspicion about something, that I was still like AH OMG throughout because the stakes were so high and the reveals were so spectacularly written.  If you are in need of a book that will just HOOK you, get this one immediately!

review-on-post-itthe-fixer-jennifer-lynn-barnes

 

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?
What other YA political thrillers are out there? (I’d also totally take great adult ones but asking specifically for YA because I feel like there are barely any!)

 

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

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
Also by this author: Girl Against The Universe
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

Book Talk: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Book Talk: The Walled City by Ryan GraudinThe Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Published by Little Brown on November 4, 2014
Genres: YA Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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

The Walled City is home to about 30,000 people all cramped together in about 6 acres. Everything is built up so high that the sun barely shines in and it feels suffocating, it’s dirty and people live in poverty and there is so much lawless danger — drug lords, street gangs, brothels run by bad guys and more. The three main characters are all in the walled city for their own reasons and their stories become intertwined. Dai is trying to secure his freedom which involves having to run drugs for the most ruthless drug lord in the walled city who also runs a brothel. Mei Yee was taken and forced into working at a brothel two years ago and her dreams of escaping one day are always snuffed out after other girls attempt and fail. Jin went into the walled city to find her sister Mei Yee and disguises herself as a boy so she can look for her sister and tries to stay as invisible as possible while she does it.
.

a2I’m glad I stuck with it even though I had a rough start with it!

a4I had a really really rough start with this book. I just could NOT get into it at all but once I pushed through it had me just flying through the pages. While it didn’t blow me away, it was still an enjoyable read that I’m glad I stuck with in the end.

What I liked:

1. The setting was FASCINATING: The idea of this walled city fascinated me but once I learned that it was based on a REAL thing that existed my fascination level grew. I think Ryan Graudin really nailed the atmosphere of it. It’s this cramped walled city (like 33,000 people in 6 acres or something crazy like that) that houses all sorts of degenerates and drug lords, street gangs and brothels and people, lots of young people, who were dumped in there because they were criminals, stolen, abandoned or sold off. It’s dark and violent and filthy and I could SEE it and feel it as I was reading. I could feel the hopelessness and the looming super high buildings (because everything was built up) that made you feel even more trapped. The author definitely made me feel the danger and just the awful conditions these people lived in.

2. I loved the way the three main characters stories were woven together: Each character had their own reason for being in the walled city. One was taken there and forced into a brothel, the other was trying to save her sister in the brothel (and she was dressed up like a boy to survive to do that!!) and the other has a mission to help gain his freedom. I loved how they were brought together and were the key to each other’s survival and freedom in a setting where trust was hard to come by. I really began to care about them and hoped all three would make it out alive.

3. Once I got over the hurdle of getting into the story it became a gripping and thrilling ride: It seriously was this heart-pounding, action-filled story. The danger and the high stakes became so palpable as I was reading. I mean, they were dealing with some of the worst baddies in that walled city and were risking a lot for the freedom they were trying to gain.

4. It was a standalone: It’s not very often that I find an action-y type of story that isn’t part of a series so this was fantastic for me!!

What I wished would have been better:

1. It was SO hard to distinguish the three main characters from each other: I don’t mind multi POVs but I just felt like their voices sounded SO much the same. At the top of each chapter was the name so we knew WHO it was but if I had just read random parts from the book, without context to tell me whose story it was, I would never have been able to distinguish who was who because their voices just sounded like the same exact character.

2. It was hard for me to figure out the PLACE and TIME of this novel: As well done as The Walled City was it kept bothering me that I couldn’t figure out if this was set in the midst of our world or if it was a completely different world. The Walled City itself made me feel it was set further in the past but then there was this part that talked about a plane flying past so I knew that okay planes were a thing so I guess it is more modern setting.

 

a6RATING-LIKED

factors+ action, thrills, setting
writing/storytelling

Re-readability: No
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No but I do want to give my copy to my teen nephews because I think they would like it.

a5people looking for a more action-packed standalone, fans of gritty settings, readers looking for a non-US setting

a8Despite the slow start for me and being tempted to put this one down, I ended up being glad I stuck this one out because it became an absolute thrilling race to the ending and I actually grew to care about the characters in spite of how much their voices blended together and didn’t feel very distinguished. I was absolutely transported to the dark, dangerous streets of the walled city and the fear and the danger the characters were experiencing were also mine to bear as I was reading.

review-on-post-it

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
Did you have a hard time distinguishing the voices or was that just me??
Did we ever figure out WHERE this city was located exactly? I can’t even remember after reading it.
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
*

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

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 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
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...