The Carnival Keepers by Amber Gulley

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review The Carnival Keepers by Amber Gulley! The cover is beautiful and the synopsis sounds interesting. James starts off the story in the prologue as the main character. Violence ensues, creatures come out, characters are not what they seem and more and different characters take over the story. I was confused about the plot of the story and I felt like it kind of jumped around and I did not have any concern for the characters and I didn’t feel invested in the story at all. The writing is good, but not my kind of story; 3 stars.

 

Chameleon by Zoe Kalo

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review Chameleon by Zoe Kalo! Paloma is taken to a convent to “repent, grow and become a better person”, as the head nun tells her, even though Paloma feels as though she’s being punished. She is dropped off at the convent by her mother, stepfather and her younger half sister, Sara, who is sad to leave Paloma. The reason Paloma is in trouble is because she tried conducting seances to reach her father, who died when she was young. Paloma becomes part of a group of teenage girls that each have a story of their own. She is unsure who she can trust, any of the girls or even the nuns. The story pulled my attention in from the beginning with its suspense, mystery and a promise of the paranormal. The complex characters and layered mystery kept me on my toes! 5 stars for the twists, turns and the interesting setting of this story!

Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano! Wow! The story jumps right into the action and mystery by opening with a girl waking up in a gully, with no memories of the past year or where she is or how she got there. Little by little, she learns what has taken place as her memories trickle back. The human trafficking in this book reminds me a bit of the Liam Neeson movie, Taken, with plenty of mystery and action all on its own. Rachel has a strength unmatched by others and she has to rely on that strength to get her through her current struggles. As her memories resurface, Rachel realizes that many teenagers- male and female – are in danger and she will do whatever it takes to help them. Banter between Rachel and her brother Kyle, alleviate some of the teen angst and dark struggles in this story. A bit of hopeful romance adds charm that lightens the mood also. This is unpredictable and a unique take on young adult mystery and I rate it 4 stars! I appreciate the author adding runaway, suicide, teen safety and teen health and wellness hotline information at the end of the book. As is often the case, when someone suffers it is difficult to ask people we know for help, so this hotline information is a wonderful resource.

Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty

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Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty is told in Mori’s point of view. She’s the daughter of a police officer, Moriarty. Mori’s given name is James Moriarty and that is why she goes by the name Mori. Mori’s family is struggling after the death of their mother. Since then, her father drinks a lot and has become verbally and physically abusive to her and her younger brothers. Mori is a very logical person and she meets Sherlock and finds they have more in common than she cares to admit. A man is murdered and Sherlock wants to make a game of solving the mystery with Mori. Everything involving the mystery becomes too personal and it’s a race against time to stop the murderer. The story brings friendships, suspense, cleverness and romance together for a wonderful read – 5 stars!

House of Silence by Sarah Barthel

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read and review House of Silence by Sarah Barthel! Isabelle is happily engaged to Gregory after spending the required year of mourning after her father’s death. Then she witnesses Gregory committing a fatal act, but he creates a believable story that makes him look like a hero, so no one believes Isabelle when she tries to convince them that Gregory is a murderer. Out of desperation and for her own safety, she is sent to Bellevue Sanitarium where she befriends Abraham Lincoln’s widow and gains allies in her fight against Gregory. A historical fiction mystery that takes place in the late 1800’s. I enjoyed the characterization and the deception of the antagonist along with the suspense – 4 stars!

First Contact by Kat Green

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Thanks to YABoundBookTours for the opportunity to read and review First Contact by Kat de Falla and Rachel Green (Kat Green)!
First Contact marks the beginning of the Haunts for Sale series. Sloane is a paranormal real estate agent that searches for haunted houses that her customers want to purchase. She’s using this guise to search for her fiance, Michael, who was killed by a drunk driver just weeks before their wedding. He had a motto for being patient and now Sloane is following it to search for him: “…be patient and if things weren’t working out, give it a year and a day.” This is now Sloane’s mantra to keep her going. The haunting mystery holds suspense and creepiness throughout the whole story. The romance factor adds a nice, warm touch to the spooky tale. Lovable protagonists and horrible antagonists kept me on my toes! I give this book 4 stars and recommend it to anyone wanting a macabre, spooky adult read!

The Amateurs by Sara Shepard

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Hyperion for the opportunity to read and review The Amateurs by Sara Shepard! This new series by the well-known author of Pretty Little Liars impressed me. The mysterious disappearance and murder of a teenage girl goes unsolved for five years and then a group of online detective teenagers, that are part of the website known as the Case Not Closed group, decides they want to solve the mystery. Brett, Aerin (the victim’s sister), Maddox and Seneca each have their own tragedy that they are dealing with. They are a team full of teen angst and have to struggle and come to terms with each other to work well together. Dangerous events threatening their lives make them wonder if they should stop investigating and if they are getting closer to solving the mystery. The twists are fun and unpredictable and include a cliffhanger ending that left me anxious for the sequel. It’s nice to have a modern mystery fiction series for young adults to enjoy-5 stars!

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and review I See You by Clare Mackintosh! This mystery thriller has three points of view that switch on and off throughout the book. Kelly (a police officer), Zoe ( a nervous citizen) and the person behind the stalking and other awful acts that are occurring to random women that have somehow had their photos secretly taken without their knowledge or permission and posted onto a dating chatline. I was interested in the mystery and tried to figure out the guilty party, but it is very unpredictable and every time I thought I had it, I found out I was wrong. The twists and turns, the unpredictability and the ending that is creepy to the core make this murder-mystery a must read for suspense lovers; 4 stars!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Aaahhh, the joy of returning to the Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling! I watched the movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, before I read the screenplay. As I read this book, it was like re-watching the movie all over again, plus a bit more! I actually became teary-eyed because of pure happiness. It is so good to have a story written totally by J.K. Rowling that once again transforms reality into a wonderfully creative fantasy! The story curiously brings us to America, as we watch Newt Scamander trying to control his briefcase and immediately the action begins with interesting creatures, characters and thrills! Highly recommended, especially if you want a bit more insight and if you also want to relive the movie – 5 stars!

And the Trees Crept In

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Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for the arc of And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich! The story opens in the 1980’s when three girls playfully make a protector out of cloth, clay and other items they find around the house. Then, the story jumps to 2013 and a thirteen year-old teenage girl (Silla) and her four year-old sister (Nori) walk a long distance to live with their Aunt Cath in Blood Manor. They enjoy their time with Cath, until she becomes irrationally upset when Nori almost goes into the woods; the woods Cath has warned them to NEVER enter. After that, she lives in the attic while the house deteriorates and the food dwindles. In the meantime, Silla and Nori meet Gowan, a young man who claims to know Cath personally. As time passes, Silla slips further into confusion and madness. The woods keep moving closer and the manor seems to be sinking, while Silla and Nori grow hungrier. This book is creepy and mysterious and sometimes confusing, but then the author shines the light on the twisted story and it makes the confusion worth it. It makes sense in the wonderful ending and this book is proof of why I always finish the books I start reading because there is always the hope that it will turn out to be a good book! I also enjoyed the use of typography to portray emotion. Impressive – 4.5 stars!