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review 2019-04-08 22:53
Truly Devious
Truly Devious - Maureen Johnson

I am a well...no, scratch that... I am an ocean of adoration, confusion, and affectionate Feels for this book!!


I have to admit that I am quite behind on my ARC reviews BUT I felt like I needed to take some time to read some of the other lovelies on my radar that are not on my early review pile. Note: I'm about to fangirl all over this review so brace yourself.


Do you love brilliant, eccentric, expertly crafted characters? Check!


Do you love enigmatic "Who Done It"s starring quirky teenage virtuosos that are dealing with untimely deaths and also learning to navigate the terrain of their newly budding hormones? Check!


Do you love confusing cliffy endings? Double Check!!


Ok, now that we've established that you're in the right place, let's move along.


I feel the need to shout from the rafters...I LOVED this book and its writing! The writing was smooth and paced perfectly! The humor was slight, alluring and hysterical (in a subtle way). It held me firmly with rapt attention and I was incapable of dragging myself away. It was amazing how the pages, and hours, just melted away leaving behind a bewildered person shaped puddle.


I also LOVED the entire cast! I especially fell for the present day MC, Stevie! She was quietly, nimbly, unapologetically brilliant! She was observant, tenacious and felt like a female Sherlock Holmes... or a CSI- Crime Scene Investigator...or even more aptly a Criminal Minds behavioral analyst... MAN I used to watch too much criminal TV. Anywho, Stevies' best friend, Janelle, was a much appreciated POC representative that happened to be gay and also into the Sciences. GO STEM Ladies!! Nate was a subdued wet blanket but a really good friend in a pinch who put aside his own fears in order to help out a friend. Then there was David... ohhhh David. He was rude and fickle, offputting and angsty but about half way in I fell for his backhanded allure. He was devilishly charming, disarming, a flat out ass AND then back to an exquisitely delicious love interest.


Be warned: there were dueling time periods, which normally irks me to no end BUT it worked here and was even remarkably satisfying. The duality felt like there were two mysteries unfolding simultaneously, which there was, and it was pulled off seamlessly.

Now on to that ending...That ending... holy hell in a handbasket!!! I am a mess right now with theories swirling around my head. I am Sooooo confused. I NEED the next book Toot Sweet! I am exclamation point crazy over this!! I know this whole book was carefully crafted to set up for more books to come but come on... that ending was too cliffy for my brain-heart-Feels to take!! I loved David by the end BUT what the hey hey?? Just be prepared to be abruptly confused, annoyed and in love all at the same time.


Overall: I am a fanatic for this book!! It's going straight into my favorites list. It will not pass GO or collect any cash but it will live on in my pile of literary loves, which I happen to adore more than cash... well.... maybe not but I still loved this book. It happened to be Mysterious and Unconventional and so well paced that I tore through it like it was my personal letter from Hogwarts!! It caused me to (over)use the exclamation point like I have never before... like I invented the damn thing. Not so unlike my punctuation craze, I was also infatuated with the writing, world development and character development. They were all spot on. The character development was my favorite by far. I loved-loathed & felt deeply for each and every character. I can't gush enough about my affections for this book! I highly reccomend it!!


~ Enjoy!


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review 2019-03-10 17:39
Ellingham Academy - Was geschah mit Alice? // Truly Devious!!!
Was geschah mit Alice - Maureen Johnson

german and english review (spoilerfree)

lovelybooks Leserunde


Inhalt: Willkommen in der Ellingham Academy!
Versteckt in den Bergen Vermonts ist die Privatschule der ideale Ort für die begabtesten Schüler des Landes – Bestsellerautoren, YouTube-Stars, Künstler, Erfinder. Doch das Internat umgibt eine tragische Geschichte. Vor mehr als 80 Jahren wurden Frau und Tochter des Schulgründers entführt. Genau deshalb wird Stevie Bell an der Akademie aufgenommen: Sie soll die bisher ungeklärte Ellingham-Affäre lösen.
Und schon bald erhält sie eine mysteriöse Botschaft, die einen Mord ankündigt. Als ein Schüler kurz darauf tot aufgefunden wird, ist Stevie überzeugt, dass es einen Zusammenhang zwischen diesem Todesfall und den Verbrechen aus der Vergangenheit gibt.

Stevie Bell ist großer Fan von Sherlock Holmes und Agatha Christie. Aber noch viel mehr begeistern sie reale Kriminalfälle – wie die bisher ungelöste Ellingham-Affäre. Als Schülerin der exklusiven Ellingham Academy kann sie endlich selbst am Schauplatz der legendären Entführung ermitteln. Doch als ein Mitschüler ums Leben kommt, muss Stevie nicht nur das Verbrechen von damals aufklären.


Meine Bewertung: Ich hab nicht wirklich das bekommen was ich erwartet hatte und das hat mich doch sehr enttäuscht.


Zu allererst muss ich sagen, dass mir der Schreibstil wirklich gut gefallen hat. Das Buch hat sich wirklich flüssig und gut lesen lassen. Ich schaff selten ein Buch in neun Tagen. Also am Schreibstil kann ich wirklich nicht meckern. Ich mochte auch total den Wechsel zwischen der Vergangenheit und dem Hier und Jetzt. Die Rückblicke in die Vergangenheit haben mich absolut nicht aus der aktuellen Storie rausgebracht.


Die Charaktere. Stevie. STEVIE. Sie war ein wirklicher guter Hauptcharakter für das Buch. Ich fand sie gleich von Anfang an richtig interessant und mit ihrem Interesse für Kriminalfälle und dann auch noch ihre Panikattacken, ich hab mich einfach gleich mit ihr verbunden gefühlt. Aber dann...sie hat wirklich einige Entscheidungen getroffen mit denen ich nicht ganz einverstanden war, vor allem die Tatsache, dass sie wieder und wieder zu David zurück gegangen ist obwohl er sie eigentlich nur belogen und manipuliert hat, und einfach unerträglich war.


Janelle. JANELLE. Ich mochte sie wirklich so gerne und hätte gerne noch viel mehr von ihr gesehen. Und Vi. In dem nächsten Buch brauch ich eindeutig mehr von den Beiden.
Nate. Hach, ich mag ihn. Ich mag ihn wirklich gerne. Er ist auch überhaupt der einzige Kerl in dem ganzen Buch, den ich wirklich ertragen kann. Weder Hayes noch David waren mir wirklich sympatisch. David hat mich sowieso immer auf den falschen Fuß erwischt jedes Mal wenn er in dem Buch aufgetaucht ist.
Ellie. Bei ihr bin ich mir super unsicher. Ich fand ihre Art am Anfang noch recht unterhaltsam, dann wurde es mir mit der Zeit einfach zu viel. Und am Ende weiß ich sowieso nicht was ich von allem denken soll.
All die Brownie Punkte an Larry. Larry hat mein Herz gestohlen, das muss ich echt sagen. Ich mag eine väterliche Beziehung zu Stevie und einfach seine ganze Art.


Alles im Allen, hätte mir das Buch unheimlich gut gefallen, wenn Stevie mehr ermittelt hätte und dafür weniger Zeit und Interesse an David verschwendet hätte.




Summary: Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. "A place" he said, "where learning is a game."

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.


My review: That book wasn't what I expected at all and it left me kinda disappointed.


First thing, I truly loved the writing. It was such an easy read and I just flew through the pages. It's really not often that I read a book in nine days. So I can't complain about the writing. I also really loved the change between the past and the here and now. The flashbacks to the past didn't take me out of the current story at all.


The characters. Stevie. STEVIE. She was a reall great main character for this book. Right from the start she was just super interesting, and with her interest in True Crime and with her issues with having panic attacks, I felt such a connection with her right away. But then...she really made some decisions that I couldn't understand at all, mainly the way she always went back to David, who kept lying and manipulation her, and who was just unbearable.


Janelle. JANELLE. I just really liked her and I would've loved to see so much more from her. And Vi. In the next book I need so much more about the two of them.
Nate. Ahh, I liked him. I liked him a lot. He was the only guy in the whole book that I could stand anyway. Neither Hayes nor David were even a bit likable. David just rubbed me the wrong way whenever he showed up in the book.
Ellie. I'm not sure about her. In the beginning she was pretty entertaining but it got old really fast. And at the end of it all, I really don't know what to think or how I should feel about any of it.
All the brownie points for Larry, tho. Larry stole my heart, not gonna lie. I love his fatherly relationship towards Stevie and just his whole personality.


All in all, I would've liked the book much more if it would've focused more on Stevie doing more detectiving and less of Stevie wasting her time and interest with David.


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text 2019-01-23 07:36
No. Just no.
Truly Devious - Maureen Johnson

I paid $9.99 for this and all I got was "To be continue" and NO solution?  Fuck that,  I want my.money back.  if you're going to pull that shit,  it better say so on the cover. SO pissed off I spent half the day reading 423 pages and then NOTHING.  TWO MURDERS and NO solution.  And $10.99 for the NEXT BOOK?  Fuck that. 

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review 2019-01-16 03:28
Maureen Johnson: Truly Devious
Truly Devious - Maureen Johnson

In the first of a new series, Maureen Johnson takes readers to an elite school that is shrouded in myth, mystery and murder:

In Vermont there is a school for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists; Ellingham Academy. Not only is the school for the brightest but the grounds and buildings were built in the 1920s by Albert Ellingham who was always found of riddles and games. Shortly after the school is opened Albert is faced with a deadly riddle after his daughter and wife are kidnapped, sadly this is one game that where the crimes will go unsolved and Truly Devious is never found. Enter present day and True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell who is determined to be the first to solve the mystery.But Stevie was not prepared not only for the demands of school but for Truly Devious to make return and soon Stevie as more than one crime to solve.

This is the first book that I have read by Johnson so I was interested in seeing where she tool the premise of the book and how well it would unfold in the YA genre. This book was a joy to read as well as an easy read and hit me at the right time as I was looking for something along these line that was not all doom and gloom. This book really is a light read considering it is center around murders but I think how Johnson decides to tell the story made it feel this way.Johnson decided to give the information about the murder and missing persons case from the 1920, a mixture of events told from that time, interviews as well as the video production that Stevie finds herself a part of.

This book has your typical high school students stereotypes in it but a times takes them to the extreme as this school is supposed to have the best of the best in each subject or career path, so there are times when I found some of the secondary characters a bit annoying. Additionally as this book is based in high school you do have the moodiness of youth that age as well as some teenage drama with the main character, Stevie. I found that at times these events/emotions took away from what should be the primary premise of solving the 1930s murder and then the present day one as well. I think there is a part of Stevie that we as readers will all like and relate to. I mean isn't trying to solve the mystery in each book we read true crime or not part of the joy of reading? I know it is for me, this is why I really liked Stevie as a character Teen Drama and all.

Of course this book ended on a cliffhanger so that means that I am wanting to read the next book in the series, The Vanishing Star which is coming out later this year (2019). Even if there wasn't a big cliffhanger I would continue on just for Stevie.


If You Like This,
Check These Out Too: 
http://j9books.blogspot.com/2014/03/matthew-quirk-500.html  http://j9books.blogspot.com/2014/08/barry-lyga-i-hunt-killers.html
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text 2018-11-08 21:30
It's so much easier to find women holding weapons....
Breath of Fire - Amanda Bouchet
Magic Triumphs - Ilona Andrews
Trail of Lightning - Rebecca Roanhorse
Dark Queen - Faith Hunter
The Myth Manifestation - Lisa Shearin
Stalking Jack the Ripper - Kerri Maniscalco
The Devious Dr. Jekyll: An Electric Empire Novel - Viola Carr

...than to find women holding flowers!


Who knew that I was such a violent creature.  :)


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