Arc Review: Fadeaway by E.B. Vickers

Title: Fadeaway
Author: E.B. Vickers
Genre: YA Contemporary / Mystery / Suspense
Publication Date: March 23rd, 2021
Publisher: Knopf

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!




When a high school basketball star goes missing, a town’s secrets are exposed in this edge-of-your seat, addictive read.

At 8:53 pm, thousands of people watched as Jake Foster secured the state title for his basketball team with his signature fadeaway. But by the next morning, he’s disappeared without a trace. Nobody has any idea where he is: not his best friend who knows him better than anyone else, not his ex-girlfriend who may still have feelings for him, not even his little brother who never expected Jake to abandon him. Rumors abound regarding Jake’s whereabouts. Was he abducted? Did he run away to try to take his game to the next level? Or is it something else, something darker—something they should have seen coming?

Told from the points of view of those closest to Jake, this gripping, suspenseful novel reminds us that the people we think we know best are sometimes hiding the most painful secrets.” (Goodreads)

This book was such a pleasant surprise!

Before going into this one, I didn’t know much about it besides what was described in the blurb. It didn’t take long for me to get sucked into it and not want to put it down. If it wasn’t for sleep and starting it late, I would have finished it in one day.

One thing I enjoy, especially when it comes to mystery/suspense books, is when they use different formats. This one has police interrogations of those close to the missing person, Jake, as well as journal entries from him and his brother. I also liked the use of multiple point-of-views and past/present timelines. It helps to build the relationships of these people with Jake as well as paint the bigger picture of who he is as a person. If that isn’t enough, there is also a point-of-view from Jake from after he goes missing! That one brought on a lot of plot twists and had me so intrigued!

Even though the above may seem like a lot for one novel, this author does a great job of it not bogging down the plot. It’s written well and it’s easy to understand the emotions of all of those involved.

This may have a lot of mystery/suspense to it but I wasn’t expecting it to talk about a tough subject like addiction. It talks about how addiction can impact the person, the family, and those around them in their community. The author spins it into a great story with a lot of meaning and I thought it was well done. It’s definitely a topic that needs to be talked more about.

Overall, this was really enjoyable! My review isn’t too long since with these kinds of books its better to go in surprised.

E-Arc Review: The Obsession by Jesse Q Sutanto

Title: The Obsession
Author: Jesse Q Sutanto
Genre: YA Thriller / Contemporary
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!




A classic sort of love story… except somebody might wind up dead.

Nobody knows Delilah like Logan does. Nobody. He makes sure of it by learning everything he can through her social media and watching her through a hidden camera he has trained on her house. Some might call him a stalker. Logan prefers to be called “romantic.”

But after Logan sees Delilah killing her abusive stepfather, he realizes there’s still more about her to discover. His sweet, perfect Delilah isn’t so perfect after all.

Delilah knows she should feel guilty, but all she feels is free. She’s so over the men in her life controlling her. Except Logan saw what she did, and he won’t let her forget it.

Delilah is done being the victim. And she refuses to be a character in Logan’s twisted fantasy. If Logan won’t let her go… she’ll make him.” (Goodreads)

What even?!

To be honest, I am not sure how to put my emotions into words. I thought I knew what this book would entail before reading but I was completely wrong and surprised by everything! It is just mind boggling.

I went into the book thinking I would read a bit here and there, finishing it in a couple of days. I finished it in one sitting. It was so easy to get pulled into this plot and the characters, especially because there are dual point-of-views. Yes, the stalker himself gets his own. I haven’t read a book like this before but I know of a couple that are out there. I did like it though!

Delilah has had a rough year. Life at home isn’t the easiest and then one day her luck finally changes, at least she thinks it did. She tries her best to get through it all but sometimes, enough is enough. It was interesting to see how the author developed her and where she went with it, I wasn’t expecting. I never disliked her and it was easy to connect with her character but on some level I was questioning her actions. Although, when people are backed against a wall they must find a way to survive.

Before we are introduced to Delilah, Logan enters he scene. He also hasn’t had a great last year but for different reasons. We learn about what makes him tick and what his mother has caught him doing before Delilah enters his life. It’s weird to read about a guy like him and at times it can definitely be too much for my soul but even then, I just couldn’t help but feel bad at times for him. I know that seems crazy but I don’t know! I guess he got into my brain too.

There were quite a few plot twists and I just weren’t expecting them. They seem to come out of nowhere but make the plot that much more intriguing. The ending really takes the cake though! It is was of the most intense endings I have ever read and although it seemed rushed and open-ended, I’m happy to see on Goodreads that there will be a second book. *fingers crossed* I would seriously take it now!

Overall, this was some book and I know it’s one that I won’t easily forget!

CW: Stalking, Abuse (both physical, verbal, and drug related), Talk of Suicide, Mental Health

E-Arc Review: Don’t Tell a Soul by Kirsten Miller

Title: Don’t Tell a Soul
Author: Kirsten Miller
Genre: YA Mystery / Thriller / Gothic Horror / Contemporary
Publication Date: January 26th, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ecopy to read in exchange for a review!




Stay up all night with this modern day Rebecca! Perfect for fans of Truly Devious—a haunting story about a new girl in an old town filled with dark secrets . . . that might just kill her.

People say the house is cursed.
It preys on the weakest, and young women are its favorite victims.
In Louth, they’re called the Dead Girls.

All Bram wanted was to disappear—from her old life, her family’s past, and from the scandal that continues to haunt her. The only place left to go is Louth, the tiny town on the Hudson River where her uncle, James, has been renovating an old mansion.

But James is haunted by his own ghosts. Months earlier, his beloved wife died in a fire that people say was set by her daughter. The tragedy left James a shell of the man Bram knew—and destroyed half the house he’d so lovingly restored.

The manor is creepy, and so are the locals. The people of Louth don’t want outsiders like Bram in their town, and with each passing day she’s discovering that the rumors they spread are just as disturbing as the secrets they hide. Most frightening of all are the legends they tell about the Dead Girls. Girls whose lives were cut short in the very house Bram now calls home.

The terrifying reality is that the Dead Girls may have never left the manor. And if Bram looks too hard into the town’s haunted past, she might not either.” (Goodreads)

The cover for this book takes creepy to a whole new level. You top it off with a creepy title and I’m here for it! Those two things, and of the course the blurb, sold me on this book and I knew I needed to read it.

Bram has had a lot happen to her over the years. It hasn’t been rainbow and sunshines and the past always has a way of coming back, even when it’s not your own. I love her name as it reminds me of Bram Stoker. Even though no one believes her when it comes to certain events, she never once caves to the masses and sticks to her truth. She is strong, brave, and will not stop until she finds out what happened to those girls.

When it comes to the other characters, it’s easy to like some more than others but it’s also hard to decipher who is actually being honest which makes the book just that more intense. Besides Bram, Nolan would have to be my second favorite character. He sticks up for her even when no one else would and I just really appreciate that. Although I really second guessed myself when it came to him, ha.

The book has one timeline, but since it is a mystery there are a lot of times where the past is discussed and it weaves it altogether combining into one bigger plot. The author does a great job of planting things into the story that have more meaning than we are led to believe. I loved seeing how it all unfolded. She also creates a perfect setting that is creepy and kept me hooked. It was hard to put it down.

My only complaint, if that’s what I would call it, would be how I feel kind of impartial to the ending. In ways it felt a bit rushed and leaves me with questions but I’m also glad that when it came to the mystery everything was solved.

Overall, this book was very enjoyable and if you love a good, creepy setting then I’d suggest adding this one to your tbr!

CW: Drug abuse, Mental health, Rape/Sexual Assault

E-Arc Review: Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett

Title: Those Who Prey
Author: Jennifer Moffett
Genre: YA Contemporary / Thriller/ Cults
Publication Date: November 10th, 2020
Publisher: Atheneum, Simon & Schuster

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an e-copy to review! All opinions are my own.




Sadie meets The Girls in this riveting debut psychological thriller about a lonely college freshman seduced into joining a cult—and her desperate attempt to escape before it’s too late.

College life isn’t what Emily expected.

She expected to spend freshman year strolling through the ivy-covered campus with new friends, finally feeling like she belonged. Instead, she walks the campus alone, still not having found her place or her people so far away from home.

But then the Kingdom finds her.

The Kingdom, an exclusive on-campus group, offers everything Emily expected of college and more: acceptance, friends, a potential boyfriend, and a chance to spend the summer in Italy on a mission trip. But the trip is not what she thought it would be. Emily and the others are stripped of their passports and money. They’re cut off from their families back home. The Kingdom’s practices become increasingly manipulative and dangerous.

And someone ends up dead.

At times unsettling and always riveting, Those Who Prey looks at the allure of cult life, while questioning just how far we’re willing to go to find where we belong. (Goodreads)

This one is a bit hard for me to review because I’m not sure where to begin and while reading I just felt conflicted. I guess all I can do is try to explain and see if it makes sense in the end.

When it comes to cults, I am fascinated. What makes someone want to join? How do people just believe the leaders of them? Is it because they are charismatic? Do they just have a way with people? What makes them tick to begin such a group anyways? So many questions and many cults later, there really isn’t much for answers.

I noticed this book on Netgalley and instantly clicked request. The title and blurb are alluring. Even the cover is symbolism all on its own. I don’t think I was prepared emotionally for this book but it was one worth reading.

The book follows the normal format when it comes to chapters but we also get a dose of interviews from other characters that have known Emily. I always enjoy seeing those and one reason I liked Sadie so much. Although you don’t get many, it’s enough to satisfy and also keep you guessing on whether Emily will be okay.

The allure to this group for Emily starts with just trying to find a place to belong but little does she know what being a part of this group actually means for her life.

The author does a fantastic job of making these characters and their actions so realistic and as a reader you are pulled into this group because everyone just seems so kind and are truly looking out for your best intentions. They want you to belong.

As the plot starts to progress you realize that these people aren’t exactly as they portray themselves but at the same time you can’t look away. It’s a train going off a cliff but you can’t jump off. Through it all, I felt uneasy and conflicted with my emotions.

This could be because I have grown up in a religious household and am still religious. I think my husband also put it best, there is a fine line between religions and cults. It’s easy to cross that line as we have seen with many groups. I also liked in the author’s note where she talked about it being easy to take anything, not just the bible, and twist it to fit the leader’s narrative.

My only complaint would be that over the course of a month I have read 3 or 4 books where a cat gets severely injured or dies and this one also had that. As a cat lady fanatic, it just makes me quite sad and I’m just not a fan of reading about it.

Overall, I really liked this book. It’s easy to get swept into and had me staying up past my bedtime to finish. It makes you uncomfortable and gets you thinking. Looking forward to seeing what this author writes next.

Book Review: The Companion by Katie Alender

Title: The Companion
Author: Katie Alender
Genre: YA Suspense / Thriller
Publication Date: August 25th, 2020
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers




“The other orphans say Margot is lucky. Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family. Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night.

And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate.

But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was hand-picked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha – and getting to know her handsome older brother – seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons… and herself.

Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha – but the real nightmare has just begun.” (Goodreads)

I have been quite curious about this one and my curiosity has been growing with all of the reviews I have seen lately. I decided to finally look on my library’s overdrive and it was available without having to put a hold so I figured why not.

There are definitely some positives about this book. The writing is really easy to get into from the beginning and the author does a great job of creating a gothic atmosphere. It’s a book that is hard to put down because I needed to know if my thoughts were right and what would happen next.

Here comes the negatives: the romance and obviousness of the plot.

I really wasn’t a fan of the romance. They start out not liking each other for reasons and then all of a sudden they are closer and kissing. It just didn’t make sense. I understand why the author put it in so that there could be a certain plot twist but it just didn’t work for me.

Even though the plot had me wanting to continuously read, I still felt like it was missing something. There just needed to be more to take me over the top. A lot of the plot twists were obvious from the beginning and it just felt like I wasn’t ever surprised when I should have been.

Overall, it was good but it still could have been better. I’m not mad that I read it and I can see why others have really enjoyed this book.

E-Arc Review: These Vengeful Hearts by Katherine Laurin

46001100._SY475_Title: These Vengeful Hearts
Author: Katherine Laurin
Genre: YA Thriller
Publication Date: September 8th, 2020

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

synopsis header
Anyone can ask the Red Court for a favor…but every request comes at a cost. And once the deed is done, you’re forever in their debt.

Whenever something scandalous happens at Heller High, the Red Court is the name on everyone’s lips. Its members–the most elite female students in the school–deal out social ruin and favors in equal measure, their true identities a secret known only to their ruthless leader: the Queen of Hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Ember Williams has seen firsthand the damage the Red Court can do. Two years ago, they caused the accident that left her older sister paralyzed. Now, Ember is determined to hold them accountable…by taking the Red Court down from the inside.

But crossing enemy lines will mean crossing moral boundaries, too–ones Ember may never be able to come back from. She always knew taking on the Red Court would come at a price, but will the cost of revenge be more than she’s willing to sacrifice?” (Goodreads)

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I was hoping that this book would be good. The cover is amazing and the idea of a secret society doing people’s bidding sounded like a really intriguing plot. I’m glad that it was because I was needing something to help take my mind off the mediocre books I had been reading.

Ember Williams has one goal: take down the Red Court. There isn’t a lot of information given in the beginning about why she is doing what she did besides the fact that her sister’s accident was caused by the infamous group. There is a lot of sacrifice for revenge and sometimes it becomes too much for her to take on. I’m glad that even with what was going on she still had a conscious about it. There are definitely times that she gets swept into it and we get to see how unhealthy revenge can be.

I would say that this book is definitely more plot driven but there is a great cast of characters. Ember’s best friend Gideon is basically her angel on her shoulder. There is also all the people in the secret society and we do get introduced to most of them. Honestly, I thought I knew who the Queen of Hearts was but I was wrong and super surprised at the end!

The whole plot was quite entertaining and I liked seeing all of the tasks unfolding, whether good or bad. The ending felt a bit rushed but it seems that there could be a second book? The ending was kind of left open.

Overall, it was a great read that helped me kick the reading slump blues.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

E-Arc Review: Some Kind of Animal by Maria Romasco Moore

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41016362Title: Some Kind of Animal
Author: Maria Romasco Moore
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Publication Date: August 4th, 2020

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

synopsis header
“A story about two girls guarding a secret no one would ever believe and the desperate lengths they will go to in order to protect each other from the outside world.

Jo lives in the same town where her mother disappeared fifteen years ago. Everyone knows what happened to Jo’s mom. Now people are starting to talk about Jo. She’s barely passing her classes and falls asleep at her desk every day. She’s following in her mom’s footsteps. Jo has a secret — she has a twin sister. Her sister is not like most people. She lives in the woods, wild and free. Night after night, as often as she can manage, Jo slips out of her bedroom window and meets her sister in the woods, where together they run, fearlessly.

When Jo’s twin attacks a boy from town, the people in town assume it must have been Jo. Now Jo has to decide whether to tell the world about her sister or to run. SOME KIND OF ANIMAL is an accessible, feminist thriller that digs into themes of sisterhood, family, and friendship.” (Goodreads)

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I knew going into this I might be disappointed because of the early reviews I had seen. It definitely was better to go in with no hype.

Bascially I’m not even sure how to make sense of anything that happened. There are so many questions that are left unanswered by the end of the book and that just annoys me. As other reviewers have said, it feels like the reader was dropped into the middle of a story without much detail for the beginning or end. Sure, the book does talk about the beginning but not the most important question, why?

There are characters that definitely stick out more than the others, like the sisters. They have a weird past and the one literally acts like a wild animal. It reminded me of Tarzan and Jane. I understand the bond between sisters since I have 3 but at the same time you would think you would want to help your sister not live in the woods. I mean, that’s what I would do.

The author paints the picture for the town of Lester to be home of monsters and devils. The sisters mother believed this and the one from the woods does. Jo decides to go along with it even though she has lived there her whole life but because she wants to keep her sister safe even though her she does crazy things, Jo says, “screw all those people! They are weird.” See? that doesn’t make any sense. There isn’t nothing believable about this situation because there is nothing written to make the reader want to believe in the crazy.

A lot of the characters play minor parts and if they don’t when their use is over with they are thrown aside. I’m not really a fan of this method to keep the plot moving along.

I did continue to read this because I wanted to see where the story went, I can’t say that it wasn’t the slightest intriguing but again, there are many questions left unanswered.

Overall, there is some appeal to this book but it wasn’t enough to make fully invested in the characters and it didn’t fill the void of needing answers.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

 

Book Review: Fractured Tide by Leslie Lutz

Bookreview2

48855952Title: Fractured Tide
Author: Leslie Lutz
Genre: YA Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: May 5th, 2020
Publisher: Blink

synopsis header
Lost meets Stranger Things in this eerie, immersive YA thriller, thrusting seventeen-year-old Sia into a reality where the waters in front of her and the jungle behind her are as dangerous as the survivors alongside her.

Sia practically grew up in the water scuba diving, and wreck dives are run of the mill. Take the tourists out. Explore the reef. Uncover the secrets locked in the sunken craft. But this time … the dive goes terribly wrong.

Attacked by a mysterious creature, Sia’s boat is sunk, her customers are killed, and she washes up on a deserted island with no sign of rescue in sight. Waiting in the water is a seemingly unstoppable monster that is still hungry. In the jungle just off the beach are dangers best left untested. When Sia reunites with a handful of survivors, she sees it as the first sign of light.

Sia is wrong.

Between the gulf of deadly seawater in front of her and suffocating depth of the jungle behind her, even the island isn’t what it seems.

Haunted by her own mistakes and an inescapable dread, Sia’s best hope for finding answers may rest in the center of the island, at the bottom of a flooded sinkhole that only she has the skills to navigate. But even if the creature lurking in the depths doesn’t swallow her and the other survivors, the secrets of their fractured reality on the island might.” (Goodreads)

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I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book. I don’t usually go for eerie books but this one just kept calling my name the more I thought about it.

I can’t say that it was a bad book because I did finish it in a couple sittings since I wanted to know what was going on. It does a good job of pulling you in and keeping you there. There were times I was wondering why I was torturing myself reading this because there were some very creepy things going on, haha. The thing is some of the twists just didn’t feel like they were explained very well and even the ending just felt a bit rushed.

The book is definitely more about the plot than the characters. The characters were fine, I didn’t mind them. Sia was given the most development since she was struggling through family issues. She is the narrator of this until the end where there is a couple pages from someone else.

The biggest thing I didn’t like about this one was the relationship that was blossoming for Sia. It lacked and maybe it was because I wanted her to be with someone else. 🤷‍♀️😂

Overall, I think that the author did a great job of making a very creepy environment but I wished it would have been flushed out just a bit more.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

 

Book Review: Come Find Me by Megan Miranda

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35065766._SY475_Title: Come Find Me
Author: Megan Miranda
Genre: YA Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: January 29th, 2019
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

synopsis header
“After surviving an infamous family tragedy, sixteen-year-old Kennedy Jones has made it her mission to keep her brother’s search through the cosmos alive. But then something disturbs the frequency on his radio telescope–a pattern registering where no signal should transmit.

In a neighboring county, seventeen-year-old Nolan Chandler is determined to find out what really happened to his brother, who disappeared the day after Nolan had an eerie premonition. There hasn’t been a single lead for two years, until Nolan picks up an odd signal–a pattern coming from his brother’s bedroom.

Drawn together by these strange signals–and their family tragedies–Kennedy and Nolan search for the origin of the mysterious frequency. But the more they uncover, the more they believe that everything’s connected–even their pasts–as it appears the signal is meant for them alone, sharing a message that only they can understand. Is something coming for them? Or is the frequency warning them about something that’s already here?” (Goodreads)

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I’ve wanted to read this since seeing it on NetGalley last year. I didn’t get to read it then since I was declined, but I did find a hardcover at my Half Priced Book Store Earlier this year for only $2. I couldn’t beat that price!

The book chapters are split into two point-of-views: Nolan and Kennedy. Each teen is trying to figure out what happened in separate cases that involve their families but somehow they are connected by a date and frequency.

When I first started reading this it was talking about frequency waves and satellites. My mind automatically went to aliens but obviously that wasn’t the case, ha. The plot was nothing I was expecting and that’s usually a good thing, it also was in the case of this book too. I wanted to keep reading and find out what happened next because it easily pulls you in as each plot twist is unraveled.

I had never read a book by this author before but after reading this one I would definitely check out her other books. It’s been a bit since I’ve found a YA Mystery / Thriller that I really enjoyed reading.

Overall, this was the perfect book to take a break from fantasy.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Book Review: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

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40916679._SY475_Title: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Author: Holly Jackson
Genre: YA Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: February 4th, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press

synopsis header
The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth? ” (Goodreads)

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Honestly, I have no idea why it has taken me so long to read this book. I remember seeing it on NetGalley last year and then realizing it was for the UK so off to Book Depository I went to buy that copy, ha! I have had it sitting on my shelf for a year and in that time it has come out in the US. Dang. Clearly I have a “book buying but not reading them” problem.

Anyways, this was such an exciting and thrilling ride! So thrilling that I got scared reading from different parts and even though it was past my bedtime I still stayed up to finish it because how was I going to fall asleep anyways?

One cool thing about this book is the format. The main character Pippa is doing a school project based on this murder that happened five years ago. Since it’s a project, every chapter has interview styled pages, notebook pages, and diagrams. These really added to the whole project thing and took the book to a whole new level. It reminded me of Sadie in that way.

I like reading mystery/thrillers because it’s more about the plot than the characters. I don’t have to feel a connection towards them and it’s fine. I did feel bad for certain characters though because some of the things they went through were rough.

The plot was everything I wanted and more! I really wasn’t sure how this would play out but the plot twists were so intriguing that when I would reach one it would make the book too hard to put down. There are so many things going on and so many connections between the characters that it’s hard to ever pin point the murderer. I had no idea who it was/how it happened and was very surprised when the truth came out. Looking back on it now I should have known, ha!

Overall, this was a really good book. I have been looking for a new YA Mystery / Thriller author and I will most definitely be checking out her other books that will be part of a series with this one. I already ordered the second book on Book Depository! Ha.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)