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review 2018-04-20 00:51
Debut author surprises with a clever YA thriller, one that I hope doesn’t fly under the radar
Lies You Never Told Me - Jennifer Donaldson

Well, this was a surprise. The whole book was a surprise just like the secrets and lies held within, all the way until the end. 

I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway some time ago and didn’t have the chance to get to it until just now, and I feel like it’s one of those books that’s going to fly under the radar and it shouldn’t.
Debut author Jennifer Donaldson has written a very cleverly crafted young adult mystery/thriller that for a good portion of it, reads like a contemporary novel, and is told through with the voices of two main characters, Gabe and Elyse, who seem to live very separate lives. There are also two other main characters central to the story, Catherine and Sasha. Gabe is a young Hispanic skater boy who tries to break up with a very possessive, but popular, high school girl called Sasha, and she is making it be known that she is not happy about this. He has a six year old sister Vivi, with special needs, who he cares very much for, and is close with his family. Elyse, on the other hand, lives a very different sort of life. She has basically fended for herself for years, even paying the household bills with jobs while she has been in high school; her mother is addicted to opiates and spends most of the time out of it lying on the couch. She has come to rely on nobody but herself, and doesn’t expect anything good of the world. Which is why, when she gets chosen for the lead in Romeo and Juliet, she can’t believe she has got the part over her best friend Brynn, but soon is swept off her feet by the school drama teacher, Mr. Hunter.
I generally try not to guess endings of stories, and I’m not one to skip ahead, so, at least for me, this novel cleverly gives you one wallop over the head when you realize what the big twist is at the end. I can not say one thing more, lest I give anything away, but this is one clever book and had me engaged entirely. There are some big topics involved here too - scary exes with major infatuation problems, and teacher-student relationships, not to mention addiction issues - but the two running storylines are excellently written and don’t rap you over the head with the morality stick (you get to think about those afterwards). I hope this gets picked up by a good lot of people who enjoy thrillers with a side of romance (there’s a lot of ‘sweet’ to go with the ‘salty’), and it’s super smart.
I’d be on the lookout for what Jennifer Donaldson writes next because I believe there are a lot more phenomenal books in her yet.
*Thank you Goodreads and Razorbill for the early copy of this book!
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review 2018-04-19 22:10
A ghost story set in the Arctic landscape of fictional Gruhuken; the darkness and frigid cold alone are nightmarish enough!
Dark Matter - Michelle Paver

I’m now (finally) done with Dark Matter, my latest read for my #ScreamsByMail #HorrorPostalBookClub on Litsy. When I was actually reading it, it sped by, but I took a MASSIVE break in the middle of it because of animal death (yes, I know it’s par for the course in the Arctic circle but I couldn’t deal with it at the time). It reads as a journal, so it’s fast reading, but honestly being stuck on a polar ice cap in the dark sounds like a horror story to me anyway! I can’t think of anything more lonely or terrifying...
I was distracted for a good part of the book by the dogs’ well-being (the main character Jack luckily had huskies for company), as well as how animals are spoken about. This sort of thing trips me up in novels quite a bit (see above). It pulled me out of the actual story, and away from the ‘ghost story’.
Since we are writing in a journal (funnily enough) for the postal book club, and mailing that around too, I won’t write too much here. I will say though, that the writing by Michelle Paver is remarkable and fits very well with the time period and the character she writes for. I was very struck by this. She also obviously did extensive research into the area she writes about (although Gruhuken is fictional), and this is key to the effectiveness of the atmosphere of the novel. It will also ensure that you never, ever find me going near these parts. And it reminded me how much I hate the snow!

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review 2018-04-18 03:17
Mistborn - Brandon Sanderson

Good day dear readers! I had originally intended to bring you this blog last week, but there was a little trouble with my WordPress account, so I had to sit on this delicious review for a couple of days. I hope that you enjoy it, and of course, if you have not read the book - you need to! It is one of the more fascinating reads I have completed in a while! 

Review:

The skaa have been beaten into submission. They keep their heads down, work hard, and do their best to survive. Some dare to dream of something more in the Final Empire. Kelsier has begun to plan something larger than the Final Empire has seen in centuries - an uprising that will destroy the Lord Ruler and free the skaa from the meager existence that they are eking out. 

While he begins to build his team, he has once again recruited several men that have worked with him before, but he is also looking to bring on another member - one that has hidden powers, that they do not fully understand themselves. As he brings Vin into the crew, her demeanor is one of distrusting and wariness. She does not trust these men, even though they appear to be a lot closer than most of the crews that she has dealt with in the past. Her last crew was one of pain, hunger and humiliation. Members would sell you out for the smallest offense. Vin learned early on to keep her head down and keep to herself as much as she could. 

Kelsier has started a small rebellion, one that started with the killing of a nobleman on a plantation - while the skaa hid in their homes. He has built a name for himself. He is a survivor of the Pits. The pits of Hathsin are a desolate place, one where people are sent to die. The atium that the Lord Ruler hoards so closely is mined there, and it is worth a fortune. No one has ever returned from the pits before, so Kelsier has become a celebrity in the underground networks, a person who should not be alive but has defied all the odds so far. As talk of rebellion begins - Kelsier lays out a plan so daring, most think he has finally lost his mind and is wandering around insane. Death does not scare him, and yet he is willing to lead others into danger to accomplish the task that they have been asked to fulfill. 

As Vin and Kelsier begin working on the powers that lay hidden within Vin, she learns that she can do so much more than soothe the people around her. While it is a good power to fall back on, there are so many other areas that she did not know she could access. She is a Mistborn, an allomancer. Allomancy is the mystical power held by the nobility, granted to them by the Lord Ruler some thousand years before as a reward for their loyalty. Skaa are not supposed to have these powers, and anyone who shows knowledge of them without being of noble birth is slated for execution. While there are some skaa who have these powers, they are few and far in between, and they have to be extremely careful, as they are hunted by the Obligators and the Inquisitors, who stifle any form of rebellion or security risk to the Lord Ruler quickly. 

The plan? Draw the armies out of the city, put the major houses in a power struggle and war against each other, and then hopefully be able to defeat the Lord Ruler. The odds are definitely stacked against them, and the chance of actual success is slim. Vin is going to act the part of a noblewoman, and begin to infiltrate the noble houses, and begin to glean some information on the members within each household. Sazed, who is a keeper, begins to give her some pointers and tips on passing as a noblewoman from the countryside, the niece of a minor nobleman. As she debuts into society, she meets the heir of the highest house, but this young man is much different from much of the nobles in the city. He thinks differently, and prefers to spend his time with books instead of people. While she is not impressed with their first meeting, feelings quickly change and a small friendship begins to open between the two.  But the tensions between the houses are rising, and nobleman are beginning to turn up dead. It is only a matter of time before the entire city erupts, and the plans that have been laid so carefully by Kelsier, Breeze, Clubs, Dockson, Ham, and Vin are about to be swept away like the ashes that rain down on the city....

 

Oh my! If you have not read this book before, you need to do so! I was immediately transported into the book, and hours would slip by before I realized, I should probably be sleeping or working. In my head I kept singing "Radioactive" by the Imagine Dragons as I was adventuring through this book. Brandon Sanderson draws you completely into the pages of his novel, and does not release the hold he has over you at all. This is the first book in a series of three - so be prepared for an epic journey! Pack your favorite treats and drinks and settle back on your couch for a vacation that will leave you breathless. 

This is one book that honestly will make you sit on the edge of your seat and wonder what is going to happen next - the twists, the turns, the secrets.... they are all there waiting for you to discover them!!

Grab your copy today - and remember - There is always another secret....

 

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review 2018-04-15 19:00
BLOG TOUR REVIEW: 'In Her Skin' by Kim Savage
In Her Skin - Kim Savage

 

I'm host on a blog tour for another great new book, and this time it's for one you may recognize the title for, but not the cover; it had a bold cover change recently, and it's just in time for release day. I love suspenseful novels like this one so I was all in. Make sure to enter the giveaway for a copy of the book after you have read my review!

 

Thanks again to my bookish pals at The Fantastic Flying Book Club for including me on the tour!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, KIM SAVAGE

 

KIM SAVAGE is the author of three critically acclaimed young adult novels, After the Woods, Beautiful Broken Girls (named by Kirkus as one of the 10 Best YA of 2017), and now In Her Skin (releasing April 17, 2018), all with Farrar, Straus, Giroux/Macmillan. Her novels have been published in Spain, Brazil, and Turkey, and have been optioned for TV. Kim presents at conferences and book festivals nationwide; has been featured on NPR, Herald Radio, and on local cable stations; and she reads from her novels at bookstores across the country. A former reporter with a Master degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, Kim's stories are based in and around Boston. She lives with her family near Boston, not far from the real Middlesex Fells Reservation of After the Woods. Kim and her husband have three children, each of whom beg to appear in her books. They shouldn't.  

 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

In Her Skin

by Kim Savage

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Release Date: April 17, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery

 

Book Synopsis:

A dark, suspenseful young adult novel about crime, identity, and two girls with everything to lose.

 

Fifteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain takes on her biggest heist yet—impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasnt been easy, and she hopes to cash in on a little safety, some security. She finds her opportunity with the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family tied to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine.

 

When Jo takes on Vivis identity and stages the girls miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household—and some secrets refuse to stay buried. When hidden crimes come to the surface and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold on to an illusion of safety or escape the danger around her before its too late. In Her Skin is Kim Savage at her most suspenseful yet.

 

MY REVIEW: 

Wow. That will be the first word that comes out of my mouth (and therefore, my fingers)  in response to how this book made me feel.

In the same way that this book left me feeling like the wind had been knocked out of me a few times, it also left me feeling so desperately sad. I'll get back to that..

 

Jo Chastain, a young homeless teen, who basically wants a family of her own, assumes the identity of a missing girl (who would now be a teenager), in order to live in a wealthy household. Ignoring how hard I think it would be to actually assume the identity of a missing person and start living a new life, it takes a lot of tenacity and desire to want to rid yourself of your past and get yourself into a new situation, and risk being found out.

The home that Jo comes to live in is one where she now not only has the 'parents' she never had, along with the wealth, she also has the daughter of the Lovecrafts, Temple, who becomes like a sister and best friend to her.

 

As Jo (now Vivi) becomes lost inside this new identity of hers, and becomes attached to Temple, she has to remind herself of her truth because she starts to realize things are not quite as 'peachy' in the Lovecraft household as she once thought, and there's definitely an ominous tone. It takes a long while for the suspense to build and it's a slow burn that creeps up on you; the book is broken up into three different parts (of which, the first is the bulk of the book), and at the end of the first part the biggest twist comes.

Suspense in a book like this spells danger for a character like Jo, and the book is turned on its heels and at the same time it made me gasp (it's blatantly obvious I can't give you spoilers), this was very cleverly written.

 

What I felt is so sad about all this, is that we have one young girl wanting a family so badly she is willing to go to these lengths, and within the inner workings of this novel, there's another very sad tale going on for Temple too. This intimate friendship of these two girls starts to look very dysfunctional and you can't help but feel something's not going to end well unless...well, something.

 

Ultimately though, Kim Savage has written a very engrossing novel about a case of stolen identity, yet it's so much more than that; I read this book from beginning to end with hardly putting it down, and I now know I need more of her writing! 

 

 

 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! 

Get your chance to win ONE COPY of 'IN HER SKIN' by entering through the link below! (US Only)

Starts: 4/10 Ends: 4/24

CLICK HERE for a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR! 

You can find the full blog tour schedule at this link: IN HER SKIN BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

 

BOOK LINKS

And after you have added the book to your Booklikes shelf, and your Goodreads TBR, this is where you can order and BUY YOUR BOOK!! 

 

 

BOOK LINKS

 

 

 

Good luck with the giveaway, and happy reading (as always)!!! ~ K

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-04-15 09:45
A Worthy Sequel of Gone.
Hunger (The Gone Series) - Michael Grant

What began in GoneHunger gets right down to business on tackling the realism of one situation - food. As read previously (finally following up the series after more than a year) in Gone, the kids in Perdido Beach are now facing a major problem - food. Starvation is reaching in all corners of the FAYZ and with trouble brewing on all sides of it, Sam Temple and his crew are going to tackle adult problems they never faced before... and a looming darkness in the mineshaft, ever ready to come out of whatever intentions this darkness calls 'gaiaphage' wants. With CaineDrakeDiana and a few others raiding the power plant for control, another problem arises - what divides those with powers and those without. As problems escalates, Sam is left with a few decisions he has to make that wills sacrifice the life of his friends.

 

Reading Gone had me at the first page of curiosity and excitement that I long for for a long time. Its a good first book to read that lasted so much impression on me. Hungeron the other hand is a sequel that is worthy of the first book. Michael Grant had really outdone himself with laying out the plot lines of realism and even further more, issues of adults upon teenagers. Yes, there are parts of this book can be squeamish, not easy to read but important part of and there are some really intense moments that really builds up so fast, it doesn't waste any time on any thing else. Clues are given more as to know who 'gaiaphage' is and how its link to Little Pete. More characters are introduced and even though, its still not much a development in character, the entire book itself is like watching a good Season 2 television series of your favorite TV show.

 

Hunger is a sequel worth picking up. It begins with a want and ends with a fulfillment of hope. I am looking forward to the end book and hopefully, it doesn't fall out a little as to how the book turns out to be for Lies. I do recommend this series to anyone who wants some thing fast and an exciting read.

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