Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Book Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Release Date: May 13th, 2014
Publisher: Delecorte Press
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This book has been very highly regarded among my fellow bloggers so when I was granted access to this title, I was excited. I had very high hopes for this book. Upon finishing it, I felt let down in a big way.It wasn’t this amazing book that had reduced me to tears. It was a pretty “meh” book for me overall.
From the beginning, I knew that this book was going to be different. I hated the writing style. It was lyrical and it bored me. I thought the male love interest was a colossal jerk and I couldn’t understand what Cady saw in him. Also I really didn’t like Cady all that much. At times, I felt sympathy for her, but I never really warmed up to her the way I wanted to.
Through the first 70% of the book, I was bored. It seemed like the book was too long for not much to happen. Maybe it had to do with the insanely slow moving plot that only picked up in the last 30% of the book. Maybe it had to do with the characters. There seemed to be too many of them and not enough time was devoted to really developing them the way I would have liked.
Now the last 30% was like someone completely different wrote the book. The writing was less lyrical and more straightforward and the feels were there in a way that they hadn’t been in the first seventy percent. It was like it was a totally new book. That was really disconcerting to me.This book lacked fluidity throughout.
I’ll admit that in the last 30% I teared up. I didn’t full on sob like a baby, but tears were produced. In the interest of not spoiling things, that’s all I’ll say about the ending. Oh and that things aren’t always how they seem.
If I was rating just the first seventy percent of the book, it would get only one star. If I was rating just the last 30% of the book, it would be getting 4.5 stars. I’ll average it out to three stars. I hated the first seven-tenths of the book but I loved the last three-tenths of the book.Overall I didn’t hate the book, but I didn’t love it either.However, I know many other people loved it, so some of you may as well.

Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Book Title: Panic
Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 4th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Thriller
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes an extraordinary novel of fear, friendship, courage, and hope.

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of twelve thousand people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game; he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Already optioned by Universal Pictures in a major deal, this gritty, spellbinding novel captures both the raw energy of fear mixed with excitement as well as the aching need to find a place to belong.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest opinion.

This book is going to be a tough one to review. Mostly because it took me awhile to actually get into it. The beginning of the book was all over the place and I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on. However, as I read it, I got more and more drawn into the world that Lauren Oliver created. Apparently this book takes place in New York, I didn’t get that feeling. Maybe because I haven’t been to New York ever, but it just didn’t have that New York feel to it.

Panic is a game where secrecy is paramount and the theme of secrecy is carried on throughout the game. Not just between the main four of Nat, Dodge, Heather and Bishop, but through others as well. No one knows anything about the game. No one knows what the tasks will be or who the judges are. Panic thrives in secrecy. 

There is also a romance element that I did not particularly love. I don’t know why but I could not get behind who Heather, Nat, Bishop and Dodge chose to be with. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the couples. I was far more interested in the game and what was going to happen next. It’s never a good thing when I don’t really like the couples. So I was glad that the romance aspect was a much smaller part than I anticipated.

I wish we had seen more of Bishop & of Nat. I don’t feel like I got to know either of them as well as I got to know Heather and Dodge and so I didn’t really get to feel anything for them or about them. I adored Heather, she was easily my favorite character in the book. She valued family and really the only family that she truly loved was her little sister Lily. Her mom, Krista was a mess and home was not a safe place for Lily or Heather.

So Heather did the only thing she could think of. She took Lily and left home, staying in her mom’s car, showering with water from a hose & squatting to use the bathroom. Until, she let Anne in on her situation. From that point on, Lily and Heather lived with Anne. Anne was the woman that Heather worked for, caring for her animals, both wild and tame.

Dodge’s situation was rough as well. A few years prior, his sister Dayna was paralyzed while playing Panic. Ever since then, Dodge has wanted revenge on the player who nearly killed her. That’s what fuels him as he prepares to play this dangerous game. He values family, but in the end he does go a teeny bit to far in order to defend his family and seek justice for Dayna.

The game itself was exciting. I’ve never ever read anything like this and I was always curious to see what the game held in store for the players. Yes you do have to suspend reality but teenagers are notoriously reckless so the story wasn’t totally far out of the realm. Teenagers often “dare” their friends to do stupid things. Is it right? No of course not but I found this to be entertaining.

I didn’t expect feels in this book as I was told it was a YA thriller, but I got the feels and I big time teared up towards the end during a very specific part.I had tears dripping down my face and I had a lump in my throat.

This book is getting 4 stars. The beginning was a little slow and I found it to be kind of jumping everywhere initially. I couldn’t get behind the romance and I don’t feel like I got to know some of the characters as well as the others. I didn’t get the New York feel from it also but I wasn’t that bothered by it. I wasn’t expecting to have feels in this book but I did so props to Lauren Oliver for bringing the feels in with a YA Thriller. However, I did love the actual story. It was full of twists and turns which is exactly how I like my thrillers. 

Review: Emma’s Secret: A Novel by Steena Holmes

Book Title: Emma’s Secret
Author: Steena Holmes
Publish Date: June 25th, 2013
Published By: Amazon Publishing
Genre: Family/Mystery
Series: Book 2 in the Emma series
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
For two years, Megan, Peter, and their two older daughters, Alexis and Hannah, dream of nothing but being reunited with the family’s youngest child, Emma, who was kidnapped just before her third birthday. When Emma is miraculously found living with an elderly couple just miles from the family’s home, they are hopeful that her return will heal the wounds her disappearance created.

But Emma is vastly different from the sunny toddler they remember. She barely remembers her parents or her older sisters. She is quiet and withdrawn, and, worst of all, longs for the very people who kidnapped her.

Megan is consumed with bitterness, while Peter works later and later nights in the company of his gorgeous business partner. And in the middle of everything, Megan’s best friend has become suddenly distant and secretive.

Then a chance encounter in town leads to a secret that changes everything again for Emma. And Peter must decide between the happiness of his youngest daughter and the trust of his family.

Disclaimer: I received this e-book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Have you ever had that period of time where no book can hold your interest no matter how hard you try? Ever felt like you are forcing yourself to read something that you just aren’t feeling right then? Well,that’s what they call a “reading slump” Yup, no matter how much you want to read this book or that book,for some reason you just can’t. 

That’s what’s been going on with me the past week. I am even behind in writing & scheduling blogs because I haven’t done much reading. So when I scrolled through my Kindle, I landed on this book. It had looked interesting but I hadn’t read it yet.

Boy am I glad that I settled on this book. It was a great book with family as the center of it. Very few books that center around family weave other people into it well. First let me get this out. Megan drove me bananas. I understand the desire of keeping your child safe,especially since she had been away from you for 2 years. But I do think Megan took it to an unhealthy level. She wouldn’t do girls nights with her friends,preferring to stay with Emma. Yes I understand the need to be near your child who had just been returned to you,but like I said, Megan went overboard.

I felt horrible for Alexis and Hannah. They wanted their mom’s attention too but Megan was too busy catering to Emma’s needs to even notice her older daughters. I cannot blame Peter for the way he reacted either. Megan was hell bent on hating anyone who had anything to do with Emma’s disappearance. Megan’s friend Laurie was far more patient than I would have ever been. It was clear to me that Megan blamed herself and she was going to bend over backwards to make sure Emma was always safe.

What Peter did was nervy of him. I certainly wouldn’t have done it. I probably would have handled Jack in a combination of the way that Megan handled the situation and and the way that Peter handled the situation.

My heart ached for Emma though. She had spent 2 years with an elderly couple.She had bonded with them and suddenly she was thrust back into arms of parents she didn’t really remember and sisters that she didn’t remember. Her mom was pushing her to forget “Grandma and Papa” but Emma was clearly very attached to the older couple who had kidnapped her. Again I think Megan tried to rush things. I kept screaming at my Kindle for Megan to stop rushing Emma.

When kids are returned to their parents after a long absence such as being kidnapped,it’s not going to instantly go back to the way it was before the absence. I think Peter had a much more realistic view of the situation. Megan had significant tunnel vision.

All in all this book was an enjoyable read. I laughed and cried throughout it. It was also a very quick read,which made me super happy. There were a few issues with the formatting,that bugged me and all but Megan were enjoyable characters that had strengths and weaknesses. I toyed with giving this book 3.5 stars because I don’t think I’ll re-read it again but the character development of Emma was wonderful to watch. So I’m giving it 4 stars.

Review: Poor Little Dead Girls by Lizzie Friend

Book: Poor Little Dead Girls
Author: Lizzie Friend
Publish Date: December 18th, 2013
Published By: Merit Press
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: Amazon 
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Is it a game? Or is it murder?

The first time she’s blindfolded and “kidnapped,” Sadie, a brand-new star athlete at a posh boarding school, is terrified. Luckily, it’s all a prank designed to induct her into a powerful secret society that her mom belonged to at Keating Hall. The circle has it all – incredible connections; fabulous parties; and, of course, an in with the brother society’s gorgeous pledges. The instant popularity is enough to make Sadie forget about the little marks on her arm, creepy black robes, and an unfortunate incident that befell a girl on the team years ago. So the next time Sadie is gagged and kidnapped, she’s only slightly annoyed – even though she should be extremely terrified of what’s to come.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Initially when I first started reading this the word pretentious was hanging around in my head. However pretty quickly I got sucked into this world that reminded me a lot of a darker version of Dead Poets Society, a 1989 movie that I love so much.All the mystery and intrigue in this book kept me guessing until the very end.Now that is the very thing that I look for in a mystery book.

Sadie has lived with only her father since her mother’s suicide.All this time she has believed her father’s stories and explanations about her mother and her illness. After only a few months at Keating,everything she has been told turns on its head.She is forced to figure out the truth. What really happened to her mother? Did the secret society that lives in the underbelly of both Keating and its brother school Graff, have something to do with May Marlowe’s death?  And what does the mysterious Anna who was the most recent casualty of Keating, have to do with all of this.

I really loved Sadie. She was not like the other girls of Keating.She was an esteemed lacrosse player and unlike the majority of the Keating girls, she was anything but rich. I am sure that’s what attracted her to the secret society initially. The secret society allowed her to appear rich when the opposite was actually true.It also allowed her to feel as though she belonged somewhere which was important to her as she was initially feeling like she didn’t belong at Keating.

I knew there was something up with Thayer almost immediately.I knew that she was probably involved in this group and in the initiation ceremonies as well. Her “boyfriend” Finn was an asshole as was his father Teddy. It wasn’t until the end that we realize exactly how important these two characters actually were.

“Try that again and all you’ll be seeing is the tip of my kneecap in your Cranston family jewels.” -Sadie

Finn was quite handsy with every single girl he seemed to encounter. On multiple occasions he attempted to “get with Sadie” but Sadie never fell for it. I felt horrible for Thayer. She was stuck on this guy who clearly didn’t respect her or any other woman.Near the end,I began to realize that Finn’s reactions and behavior was a facade for what he was really going through.

I loved Jessica so much from the very beginning.I had a feeling that she was one of the good ones and I was so glad that she stuck by Sadie through it all. As for the twins, I knew that there was more to them than met the eye. I had thought for the longest time that they were a part of this secret society and it wasn’t until the end that I got my answer.

Brett and Olivia were two other characters that were moderately important to the storyline. Brett more so than Olivia. I actually wished we had gotten to see more of Olivia than we did.

I adored Jeremy,he was a good guy,who like Sadie, got caught up in all this secret society stuff. When he realized the dangers of it,instead of simply continuing with it with no regard for Sadie or himself,he banded with Sadie to stop the craziness.
Something that Jessica said during the second half of the book really stuck with me.

“Trust me,the more you get to know these people,the more you realize that they’re really not untouchable at all. They’re just as screwed up as the rest of us-they just have better costumes to wear” -Jessica

This book was awesome. It was a struggle to put it down at night as I always wanted to find out what happened next.The pacing was great,the editing and grammar could use a little work but the book itself does not come out until December so many of the capitalization and punctuation issues will be fixed I’m sure.It was creepy and thrilling and so many questions were not answered until the very end of the book which I really liked.

So this book is getting 5 stars from me. If you like YA thriller type books,then you definitely need to give this book a try. With that, I will leave you with one final quote from the book.

“Don’t let them take you into the basement.”

Cover Reveal: Crossing Paths by Melanie Stinnett

Cover Reveal
Crossing Paths by Melanie Stinnett

Design by Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations.
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
The crossing paths of friendship, family, love, and loss are often complicated.

June Deckert and Caroline Smith sparked a friendship in college that carried them through graduation. Although they are complete opposites in every way, they have spent the last four years inseparable.

That is, until now.

June finds herself falling for a man who seems unattainable. As she works side by side with him on a new media campaign, their feelings for each other come alive. But when his actions start to speak louder than words, she wonders if she’s missing something.

Meanwhile, Caroline is fighting against her feelings for a recent acquaintance, and she decides to keep her new love interest a secret from June. Overwhelmed by these new emotions, her moods change swiftly, swinging up and down like a yo-yo.

While June and Caroline try to maneuver their way through new relationships, Caroline starts lying to June to protect her from a truth that threatens to break her heart and tear them apart. 

In the end, Caroline’s deceit will test their friendship, and June will have to decide if her chance at love is worth putting her heart on the line.

Excerpt 1:
As I push open the door, he is leaning against the counter, just finishing off a glass of water. His head is tilted back slightly, getting the last drop, before he swallows. I never knew drinking water while covered in sweat could look sexy. I close my eyes to limit the visual stimulation as I try to ward off the blush I feel creeping into my cheeks.
“You took your sweet time getting in here,” he states.
When I open my eyes, he is standing closer to me with his hip resting against the kitchen island.
I walk toward the door that leads to the backyard and pause briefly to face him. “Um, well, I had to traverse the mountain of holiday decorations in the entryway.”
Laughing, he steps toward me and places one of his hands against the door just above my shoulder as his opposite hand takes hold of my hip. Before I know what’s happening, my back is pressed tightly against the door.
“I was hoping we could talk tonight,” he says softly.
My heart begins beating quickly, and it feels like it’s in my throat. “Really?”
He nods and leans in closer to me, his nose brushing against the skin just below my ear. “Have you told June?” he whispers, touching his lips to my neckline.
Goose bumps rise all over my body, and I feel certain that I might faint at any moment. “No,” I respond in a voice so hushed that even I have trouble hearing it.
His lips trace the line of my jaw. Each time he moves to another place on my skin, the prior space feels numb and neglected. When I feel his hand tighten on my hip, my body tenses in response. Just as he is about to reach the corner of my lips, the doorknob turns, and the door jolts against my back. My eyes widen in concern, and Liam hangs his head, sighing in what seems like frustration.
He looks into my eyes as the door continues to shake, and then he nods his head toward the other door. Continuing to hold his weight against the door, he releases his body’s pressure from mine, and I walk slowly backward through the opposite doorway.
I hear a loud thud as the door closes behind me. As June begins yelling something unintelligible, I hold my hands over my mouth, attempting to stifle a laugh. Liam runs through the door at lightning speed, closely followed by June.
Although she stops when she sees me, she’s still yelling loudly. “One day you’re going to regret playing all these nasty jokes on me. I could have gotten a concussion!  You are such a buffoon!” She clenches her teeth and stomps her foot like a small child. “Hey, Caroline. I didn’t know you were here.”
“Just got here a few minutes ago,” I say, trying to act nonchalant. Glancing up the stairway to the wooden railing across the upstairs loft, I catch a glimpse of Liam smiling.
“I’m thirsty. Let’s get a drink,” I say, giving Liam a small smile in return before I walk out of sight.
Excerpt 2:
When I was ten years old, I got a trampoline. My first thought wasn’t about how it would impact my life. I thought about the special tricks I could learn, like bouncing my friends higher than any sane adult would allow. The moment I ripped through that wrapping paper, I was ecstatic as I stared at the picture of three happy kids jumping with their limbs flailing through the air. The box was gigantic, but I found a way to hug that box with more emotion than any other hug I had ever given.
Of course, my dad had to put it together right away. We sat in the backyard with metal pieces and tools surrounding us. The large round fabric was spread out, obscuring the grass from the sun.
Two weeks later, when I was happily jumping up and down, the unimaginable happened. One moment, I was free as a bird, flying through the air, and then falling, bending the fabric toward the ground. As I took my next flight, I could have never predicted what occurred next. When my feet left the trampoline, I raised my hands out from my sides with a huge grin across my face. While my body was in the air, I glanced toward the front of the empty house next door, and suddenly, my world changed.
A petite young girl with blonde hair flowing around her shoulders slid off the seat of a moving van. She was smiling and laughing as she ran up the sidewalk. My body descended, but my heart was still floating above. Then, it came crashing down moments after my eyes lost sight of her.
My young mind had no words for the emotion that planted its seed that day. I should have known then that I would fall in love with her. Instead, with everything in my being, I fought against loving her for the next three years.
About the Author:

I have enjoyed reading and writing since I was very young. Some of my fondest memories from childhood are of spending time with my mom or grandma reading a good book. Over the years, it never crossed my mind that writing my own novel would be an attainable goal. After reading several independently published novels by Jamie McGuire, Colleen Hoover and others, I decided I needed to give that dream a chance.

When I’m not reading and writing, I enjoy spending time with my three favorite guys: my husband and my two little boys.

In addition to being an author, I work as a Speech Language Pathologist to provide therapy to adults who are dealing with speech, language, cognition or voice deficits. My day job is rewarding in many different ways and I love having the opportunity to help others in a time of need.


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