The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight is an intense mystery that doesn’t completely unravel. Wylie has lost her mother in an accident and she can’t seem to overcome her loss. On top of this stress, her best friend Cassie is missing. Cassie’s boyfriend, Jasper, comes to Wylie’s house and shows her the texts he’s received from Cassie begging him to help her. Wylie and Jasper go on a treasure hunt of sorts looking for Cassie as they receive small clues a little at a time. They finally reach Cassie and the three of them find themselves in a situation comparable to a horror movie setting. Every time I thought I had the mystery figured out, something would change proving me wrong. The suspense and underlying mystery kept me reading to the end where, once again everything changed. I’m anxious to read the sequel, The Scattering. I give The Outliers 4 stars for a story that dropped the floor out from under me!
Thanks to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the opportunity to read and review Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow! A young woman named Charlie is found outside a hospital, hurt and alone. She’s treated in the hospital for seven days and then is taken to a psychiatric ward. She has cut herself to cope with the struggles in her life. She’s released from the ward and tries to get through it all one day at a time, and sometimes one moment at a time, while she finds a place to live and a job. Her social circle grows and she finds herself dealing with other’s problems and she wants to move forward not backwards. Girl in Pieces is a true pay-it-forward story and the author relays her own story and shares resources with readers at the end of the book. A deep, complex story as raw and realistic as life gets. 5 stars for this young adult realistic fiction story that’s inspiring and eye-opening.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Project Pandora by Aden Polydorus. Several teenagers are under a trance and are ordered to kill and commit other crimes for someone that goes by the name of Zeus. The mystery surrounding the teens unravels throughout the story as their pasts are explained and, while their memories gradually return, we see the torture they underwent as part of the experiment they evolved from. The teens have three names each: the regular name they go by, a mythological name and a number. The story is told through their alternating points of view, which is intense and suspenseful. Hades’ story is a bit different from the other teenagers and his is more heartbreaking and tragic, more complicated and interesting. Project Pandora is a multiple genre book which can be classified as science fiction, dystopian and mystery. Worthy of 5 stars because of its riveting plot and the steady unraveling of the mystery.
Made you up by Francesca Zappia- Alex goes through each day trying to figure out what is a hallucination and what is real. She keeps her schizophrenia hidden from everyone and deals with it secretly and on her own, besides her family and her therapist. This book contains completely endearing and realistic characters with clever writing and interesting background building. Laugh-out-loud funny at times and empathetic at others, as well as heart-breaking, Made You Up is a must read realistic fiction story with food for thought; 5 stars. The minute I finished reading it, I wanted to turn around and read it all again.
The Syndicate by Sophie Davis impressed me with its mix of science fiction and history. The story begins with the Prologue during May, 1796 in Florence, Italy, which is being occupied by Napoleon and the French army. The main character, Stassi, has stolen Napoleon’s letter to Josephine and she’s running to ensure her escape. She’s helped by her partner Gaige. They work for The Syndicate as runners and travel to the past to procure requested items that rich people pay a good chunk of money for. Gaige and Stassi later travel to 1925 Paris to collect a Rosenthal manuscript and they attend a party celebrating Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and its publication. Along with finding the manuscript, a serial killer on the loose adds to the suspense and danger. The elaborate cover stories of the runners, the historical background and interesting, dynamic characters make this a very fun science fiction read worthy of a 5 star rating!
Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Book Group for the opportunity to read and review Midnight at Madame Leota’s (Tales from the Haunted Mansion #2) by Amicus Arcane. The disclaimer of the ARC is even written in Haunted Mansion-ese, clever and sets the spooky stage from the beginning. This book tells the tale of William and his visit with Madame Leota and contains several stories within a story. William wants to talk to his deceased sister, but has to listen as librarian Arcane reads spooky tales to him first. The first tale is about a truly haunted house attraction at a traveling carnival. The second is the history of a vampire resident of the Haunted Mansion. Third is a spooky horror story about a man losing his beloved theatre and the last story tells a young girl’s tale and how she came to be at the Haunted Mansion. Finally, William meets Madame Leota and gets what he’s been asking for. Fun and spooky. 5 stars for this creepy addition to the Haunted Mansion volumes!
Thanks to NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends for the opportunity to read and review Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller! The princess is on a mission to rob the pirate ship, Night Farer. Princess Alosa has been sent by her father, the Pirate King, to steal a piece of the map that shows the way to the Isla de Canta., the island where sirens have placed their treasures throughout history. Alosa proves herself to be a very deceptive spy and a skilled fighter who can take care of herself. Riden, the brother of the Night Farer captain, knows Alosa is hiding secrets and wants to know what they are. Riden also seems to be more observant than anyone else she has ever met and Alosa isn’t sure how he can sense and see the changes in her as she uses her powers. Alosa is tough, has a clever intelligence and wit and I enjoyed her sarcastic comments throughout the story. Her focus and confidence help her through many tough struggles. Alosa’s secrets are revealed while her father’s story is told also. The story will continue in the sequel, Daughter of the Siren Queen, scheduled for release February 2018. 5 stars for an entertaining adventure fantasy!
I am reviewing Freeze by Kaitlyn Davis for a blog tour. Freeze begins where Frost left off. Pandora is imprisoned in a cell and Sam visits often. He teaches her to transport, and that along with her power to hide in the shadows and become invisible, helps her escape with another prisoner, Naya. Naya is a werejaguar and a necromancer. Pandora and Naya help each other through escapes and attacks. They also become friends and share their secrets with each other. Naya wants to save her brother who has been turned into a vampire while Pandora wants to speak to her mother that is no longer alive. This is how Pandora plans to find out the mysteries of her past. Pandora isn’t sure about Sam or Jax , the two men she cares for, and she doesn’t fully trust either of them. Pandora’s life continues to become more complicated and confusing. When she finally speaks to her mother, she’s given advice and more vague warnings about her future and the people she knows. The story continues in the third book, Fractured. The complex characters and situations keep the mysteries strong and the story interesting. 5 stars for a intriguing supernatural read!
Overturned by Lamar Giles has a unique plot and sarcastic humor. The second line of the book is priceless, “He was my dad’s latest and greatest attorney from the law firm of Cheap Suit, Bald Spot & Smoker’s Cough.” I immediately appreciated the author’s use of humor. Nikki Tate is keeping her family’s business running while her father is in prison. Nikki’s mother tries to help but is not quite capable enough to handle the casino business on her own. Her father is released from prison and sees that Nikki is using her gambling knowledge and card skills to earn money for college and what she considers freedom. Nikki has a crush on Davis, the new student. Davis’ family owns the new casino in Las Vegas that Nikki’s father seems to be spending a lot of time at. He’s also showing Nikki the ropes of high stakes gambling. Nikki and Davis’ relationship is adorable and the dent they made in the hood of a borrowed car while kissing made me laugh out loud. Things take a turn for the worse when Nikki gets a crime scene thrust in front of her eyes. The mystery builds and then unravels. The author created complex and wonderful characters; I cared about them and enjoyed their personalities: Nikki’s maturity and intelligence, Molly’s snark and loyalty and Gavin and his protectiveness. 5 stars for an interesting mystery that kept me entertained!
Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf for the opportunity to read and review Gork, the Teenage Dragon by Gabe Hudson. This book is humorous and representative of teen angst through the portrayal of Gork. A silly dragon version of finding love, learning about family and growing up. A coming of age story with a sci-fi and fantasy twist. 4 stars.