Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Book Title: Beware the Wild
Author: Natalie C. Parker
Published Date: October 21st, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp — the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance — and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her. 

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

Disclaimer: I received this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
This book was straight up, freaking awesomesauce.

I really needed something creepy, so I was hoping that this book would deliver the creepiness that the cover teased us with. And it DID!
When the book really gets going, everything is different. Phin is not only gone, but no one remembers him. Not even his own mom. Sterling remembers him, but she also remembers memories of Lenora May. The Lenora May that appeared out of the swamp shortly after Phin disappeared. Nothing makes sense. She knows Lenora May isn’t actually her sister and she does remember her older brother Phin.
It isn’t until she begins talking to the town loner, Heath. Heath has his own secrets. The most important secret that he carries with him is that he believes Sterling. He knows she’s telling the truth. He remembers Phin and he remembers his best friend. His best friend disappeared into the swamp a year ago and, Heath’s been living with the knowledge that only he remembers his best friend. 
No one else in Nathan Payola’s life or home remembers him. Not his mom or dad. Only Heath.
Sterling knows she’ll be labelled as crazy if she talks to anyone about the swamp and the fact that she believes both Phin and Nathan and probably others have been taken by it. Even her friends Abigail & Candace “Candy” This book had a healthy dose of great friendships, which really excited me.
“I’m trusting you not to get eaten Saucier. And if that trust is misplaced, so help me, I’ll tell all of your worst secrets at your funeral.” -Candy-

As the book goes on, and we learn more of who Lenora May is and how she came to be, Sterling feels herself fighting the ever present pull of the swamp. It’s lights are enticing and her desire to save Phin is constant and relentless.

“As much as I hate that my brother is trapped here, I somehow can’t wish the swamp away.” -Sterling-

Lenora May’s past was one of my favorite things to learn about. I was so curious to figure out how she was connected to the swamp, why she had come out of the swamp shortly after Phin disappeared. I wondered if she had some sort of history with Sterling’s family. The idea that she could simply walk into the house and it was like she had been there all along was so mind boggling to me. I felt sympathy for Sterling who was so clearly confused initially.
I absolutely loved this book. I am so glad I read it when I did and I cannot wait to get a finished copy of it soon. The twists and the turns were there in abundance. The creepiness factor was very high as the world building was spectacular. I am giving this awesome and unique story 5 stars. I cannot wait to see what the author writes next.

Review: Feral by Holly Schindler

Book Title: Feral
Author: Holly Schindler
Published Date: August 26th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened. 

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

Disclaimer: I received this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
What a mind blowing, confusing, twisty book this turned out to be. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started it and even now that I finished it I am still unsure of exactly what I read.

But I’m unsure in the best way possible. Because this book was confusing and I kept having a million and one questions and theories. It took me awhile to really get into the book and a couple times I contemplated not finishing it because it was taking so long for me to get into it. If I hadn’t been looking forward to this book so much, i probably would have decided not to finish it.

But I’m so glad I stuck through it because it was totally worth it. The way Schindler used the cats in this story added an extra level of creepiness in it. Bonus being that I love cats so to see them featured so prominently in this book was an awesome treat. 

Claire Cain was a great main character. She was dealing with her attack in Chicago as best a person can deal with it. I loved that she had a father who was so present in her life. Usually in YA books, the father is AWOL or he’s a total douche-canoe, so yay for good fathers. An added bonus was that he was a single dad. Those are featured even less often in YA, so kudos to Schindler for that. 

I really loved that Claire wanted to go into journalism and that he desire to work on certain projects wasn’t hindered by a guy. She stayed focused on what she was trying to accomplish.

The only secondary character I really liked was Rich. Becca, Chas and Owen were overall pretty bland characters. I didn’t feel like I got to know Becca, Chas or Owen very well throughout the story. There was definitely some lackluster character development here.

The ending was my favorite part. It was fast paced and totally creepy. It kept me guessing all the way to the end. Even when I thought things would end one way, I was wrong and things ended a completely different way. I give this book 4 stars. It did take me awhile to get into it and there was lackluster character development for the secondary characters. But definitely read this book if you like creepy stories that keep you guessing.

Blog Tour: Feral by Holly Schindler

The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.


It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

FERAL Trailer:
FERAL AND THE PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER:
FERAL falls squarely into the realm of the classic psychological thriller.  While the book features mystery, horror, and paranormal elements, the emphasis is on the “psychological” rather than thriller / action.  The novel features a Hitchcockian pace and focus on character development (here, we’re exploring the inner workings of the main character, Claire Cain).  Essentially, every aspect of FERAL is used to explore Claire’s inner workings—that even includes the wintry Ozarks setting.  The water metaphor is employed frequently in psychological thrillers to represent the subconscious, and here is incorporated in the form of a brutal ice storm (that represents Claire’s “frozen” inner state).  The attempt to untangle what is real from what is unreal (another frequently-used aspect of the psychological thriller) also begins to highlight the extent to which Claire was hurt in that Chicago alley.  Even the explanation of the odd occurrences in the town of Peculiar offers an exploration into and portrait of Claire’s psyche.  Ultimately, FERAL is a book about recovering from violence—that’s not just a lengthy or hard process; it’s a terrifying process, too.  The classic psychological thriller allowed me to explore that frightening process in detail. 

What are your top 10 favorite books of all time?
I’m a lifelong reader.  I had to have a new Little Golden Book every time I went to the supermarket with my mom, back when I was still little enough to fit in the cart.  When I graduated to novels, I was usually reading them with a flashlight under the covers until all hours.  I was literature major in college, too—and while I dearly love contemporary reads, there’s just something about a classic.  Something sort of…soothing or delicious about a book written hundreds of years ago.  So my all-time favorites run the gamut.  These are my favorites from childhood, from my “classics” shelf, from more recent years:
   1.      IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote – I discovered this one in college.  One of my profs asked me to proctor a final exam for him; I brought it on a whim to have something to do (I was finished with my own tests).  I was completely mesmerized by the quiet, chilling portrait of murder in a small town—so much so, I wished I had another test or two left to oversee!
   2.      FALL INTO DARKNESS by Christopher Pike – I grew up on contemporary, realistic fiction.  When I found Christopher Pike in junior high, I discovered books that were more adventure-driven, felt cinematic.  I loved that.
   3.      THE PAIN AND THE GREAT ONE – Judy Blume’s picture book about a couple of siblings.  Her descriptions of the brother and sister could have been me and my younger brother.  It was the first time I saw myself in a book I was reading—and that was a big part, I think, of hooking me as a young reader.
   4.      JANE EYRE by Charlotte Brontë – I must’ve read this one three or four different times in college.  It just kept getting assigned—in Victorian Lit, Women’s Lit, etc.  I remember one of my friends asking me why I was taking the time to read it again when I’d read it for a class the semester before.  I had to admit it was for pure pleasure. 
   5.      THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by JD Salinger – As someone who writes in the YA category, I’ve just got to love this one.  Its impact on YA lit is still being felt today.
   6.      TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee – My favorite of all the books assigned in high school (isn’t it everyone’s)?
   7.      EMILY DICKINSON’S COLLECTED WORKS – I love Dickinson.  And when you read her poems all together, one after another, they begin to read like a novel in verse.
   8.      MYSTIC RIVER by Dennis Lehane – A contemporary classic.  A mystery that reads like a literary novel.
   9.      FIELD OF DREAMS by W. P. Kinsella – Also one of my all-time favorite movies.  Just a great fantasy story.
   10.  Laura Ingalls Wilder – I’m a Missouri girl, so I had to put a classic Missouri writer on the list.  I think Wilder’s work tends to trend younger now—her LITTLE HOUSE books are generally considered children’s literature—and I read them as a girl, too.  So you can also say Wilder’s one of my favorite MG authors as well.

Author Bio:

Holly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs). 

Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud.  Kirkus Reviews called THE JUNCTION “…a heartwarming and uplifting story…[that] shines…with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.” 
FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first psychological thriller.  Publishers Weekly gave FERAL a starred review, stating, “Opening with back-to-back scenes of exquisitely imagined yet very real horror, Schindler’s third YA novel hearkens to the uncompromising demands of her debut, A BLUE SO DARK…This time, the focus is on women’s voices and the consequences they suffer for speaking…This is a story about reclaiming and healing, a process that is scary, imperfect, and carries no guarantees.”
Schindler encourages readers to get in touch.  Booksellers, teen librarians, and teachers can also contact her directly regarding Skype visits.  She can be reached at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com, and can also be found at hollyschindler.com, hollyschindler.blogspot.com, @holly_schindler, Facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor, and hollyschindler.tumblr.com. 

Giveaway of a Signed Copy of FERAL

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Review: Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

Book Title: Nearly Gone
Author: Elle Cosimano
Published Date: March 25th, 2014
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Genre: YA Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother’s job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone’s skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn’t trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn’t figure it all out soon—she’ll be next.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review:
I had my eye on this book for months. I was so excited about it and desperately could not wait to get my hands on it. Totally worth the wait!

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. She doesn’t talk about the fact that her mom is an exotic dancer at Gentleman Jim’s. She doesn’t talk about how her dad walked out on them several years ago, and she certainly doesn’t talk about the fact that her mother and her are living in a trailer park. But her other secret, the one about the personal ads, is about to take on a more sinister nature.

She scoured the personal ad, desperately hoping that one day, she’ll see something from her beloved father. She didn’t think much of the first ad that she noticed,

Newton was wrong. We clash with yellow.
Find me tonight under the bleachers.

But by the time the second one appeared, Nearly knew that something was going on, but she wasn’t quite sure what it was.

Archimedes knew the play wasn’t really the thing.
Do the math and find me after the show.

These little clues gave Nearly an idea about who was going to be targeted next. She was also being taunted by cryptic and chilling messages that were carved into her desk in chemistry and messages were appearing her locker, slipped in the locker vents.

As the messages become more mathematically advanced, the murders become more violent.

We all fall down. The tower will point the way.
It’s 68 ft. higher than three times a side of its square base.
If the sum of these two is 1,380 at day’s end you’ll know
where to find me.

At this point, whispers are beginning to run around the school. Nearly has a connection with these victims. Questions are running rampant around the school. Nearly is climbing to the top of the suspect list.

I’m serious. I’m done chasing my tail, trying to be the big dog.
I’m the brightest. Lie back and watch me shine. 

While all this craziness is going on, Nearly’s friends Jeremy and Anh are barely speaking to her. Nearly’s forming a bond with troublemaker, Reece Whelan. He’s working undercover and he’s supposed to be keeping an eye on her. What neither of them ever expected was that they would fall for one another.

Isosceles had the right angle.
The Torpedo is a straight shot to the Yards.
Follow my tracks.

This book was fabulous. I cannot say enough awesome things about it. I was worried that some of the math concepts would go over my head as I am absolutely awful at math, but I didn’t have any problems with it. Actually, I think it added a very unique element to the story. 

The pacing was perfect for the story. It was fast paced, leaving my heart racing. I couldn’t wait to figure out what was going to happen next. I couldn’t wait to find out if any of my theories were correct (spoiler alert, they weren’t) I love it when I am unable to guess the ending. That makes the book even better.

I must buy a copy of this book for my own personal library. Then, I’ll push it on everyone and I won’t stop until everyone has read it. 5 stars to this fast paced, exciting roller coaster of a book. 

Review: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Book Title: Dangerous Boys
Author: Abigail Haas
Publish Date: August 14th, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: YA Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: The Book Depository 
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?

Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Abigail Haas is a diabolical GENIUS. It’s no secret that I loved her previous book, Dangerous Girls. I honestly didn’t know what to expect with this book, but I hoped that it could measure up to Dangerous Girls.

And it did just that. Actually I think I enjoyed it more than Dangerous Girls, but I’m not exactly sure why that is. Two completely different ways of telling a story, but they both had the suspense, the mystery and the intrigue. I really loved how the story was told with two separate timelines. One was present day and one was everything leading up to that day. That way seems to be a new way of telling stories and I’m digging it big time. One of my other favorite books of 2014, Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang, also told the story in the same way.

In Dangerous Boys, we meet a girl by the name of Chloe who is living in her own personal hell. She’s taking care of her mom who had fallen into a deep depression after her husband left her for his pregnant mistress. I had complicated feelings about this scenario. On one hand, I was frustrated that Chloe didn’t go away to college like she planned because she felt like her mom needed her. It was not Chloe’s responsibility to take care of her mother. Her mom was an adult for goodness sakes. Yet, I am extremely close to my mom and she went through her own bout of depression 4 years ago and I could never have left her to fend for her own. I would never have forgiven myself for leaving her.

See, what did I tell you. Complicated.

Chloe meets Ethan and his older brother Oliver. Ethan makes her feel safe, protected and adored. Whereas Oliver challenges her, and awakens a part of her that she didn’t even know existed. Chloe remains torn on these boys even as her relationship with the younger Reznick brother, grows. She cannot shake the feelings she is having for Oliver.

When something happens to Chloe, she calls Oliver and I think it’s because two of them would have handled the incident the same way. If Ethan had been made aware of what had happened, things would have been handled much differently and both Oliver and Chloe realize that.

The ending was amazing, and full of suspense as we, the reader is finally given the full picture of what happened on that night. Which boy survived? Which boy did Chloe leave to die in the burning inferno.Was it murder or self defense or a terrible accident. I can say that I absolutely didn’t see so much of this coming. Abigail Haas has definitely earned herself a spot on my auto-buy list. 5 stars for this book full of mind fuckery.

Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Book Title: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Published Date: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
SHHHH!
Don’t spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.


It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Disclaimer: This is a library book.

Review:
Holy crap on a cracker, this book was terrifying. I really need to remember not to read thrillers like this in the middle of the night.  Unless, of course, I don’t want to sleep. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this book. I had heard mixed things about it, but I had had my eye on it for awhile and so I wanted to at least give it a shot. 

I am so glad I gave this book a shot. From the beginning, it’s clear that things aren’t what they seem. The supposed host is not there, even though this is her parents house and she sent out the invite.

Or did she?

After the DVD with the creepy message is watched, things go from lighthearted fun, to terrifying reality. Teens are being picked off left and right, each of them more disturbingly than the previous one. Before too long, the remaining teens are forced to realize that either there’s someone else in the house with them who’s killing everyone. Or, and probably more disturbing, the killer is one of them.

This book was filled with twists and turns and I honestly had no idea what was going on. At any one time I had 5+ scenarios running through my head at once. I didn’t know what to expect, who to trust, who was behind everything that was going on at the house.

I wanted more character development aside from Minnie and Meg. I didn’t feel like I got to know Vivian, Lori, Gunner or any of the others all that well. Really the character development issue is my only complaint. The book was fast paced, which I loved and it totally left me in a state of confusion until the end. I love when books do that.

I am going to give this book 4 stars. If you like YA thrillers, then you should definitely give this one a try. It was a great read and I am excited to read Gretchen McNeil’s next book.

Review: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Book Title: Dangerous Girls
Author: Abigail Haas
Published Date: July 16th, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. 

As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer; she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

As she awaits the judge’s decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine…

Disclaimer: This was a personal purchase.

Review:
Holy crap.

This book was dark, twisty and totally messed up in all sorts of awesome ways. Yes, this book did remind me of the Natalee Holloway & Amanda Knox cases. However, I was able to put those aside and just focus on how things were unfolding for Anna herself.
Anna was a quiet, shy girl until she met Elise. Then she changed. Elise was a terrible influence on her. It was Elise that coaxed her into drinking, partying and taking drugs. It was Elise who wasn’t careful with who she surrounded herself with. Especially when it came to sex. Elise preyed on the fact that Anna’s mom was sick. She made it her mission to change Anna. 
Anna wasn’t brave enough to put a halt on it.
Elise was conniving and sneaky, all the things that right after Anna is charged with Elise’s murder, her so called friends accuse her of being. Suddenly, they are making statements that incriminate Anna. Suddenly, Anna and Elise were always fighting.Suddenly Anna is violent and aggressive. Even Anna’s behavior right after Elise’s body is discovered is called into question.
It broke my heart that the only people who believed her were her father and her legal team. Melody didn’t believe her. AK didn’t believe her, Chelsea and her twin brother didn’t believe her. Not even Tate, the boy Anna has been dating for several months. Anna is basically abandoned by her friends in the hardest time. I got so angry with them. Why did they not believe Anna? Why was the word of an Aruba detective enough for them to believe Anna had done it?
I never expect feels in thrillers, but this one totally blew me away. I cried, I sympathized. I got angry. I absolutely loved this book. I adore thrillers and after being recently disappointed with a couple of them, I  am so excited to give this one 5 stars. I cannot wait to read whatever the author writes next.

Review: That Night by Chevy Stevens

Book Title: That Night
Author: Chevy Stevens
Publish Date: June 17th, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night. 

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni’s innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni’s life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.

Disclaimer: I received this print ARC from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
I was unbelievably excited to receive an ARC of this book. I fell in love with Chevy Stevens’ books last summer so I was eagerly anticipating her newest book. I got a major surprise when I got a package from St. Martin’s Press with this book inside of it. I hadn’t emailed a request or anything, so it really was a shock to get it.

The first 80 pages were really slow and I was upset about that because it was a far cry from her previous books that had just jumped right into the twists and turns. This book spent more time setting the scene. Actually the readers were being told too different scenes. Toni’s jail time and what happened before she ended up in jail. Thankfully, it was written so that there was no confusion on the timelines. I knew exactly where she was in each of the flashbacks.

I felt it hard to drum up any sort of sympathy for Toni. Plus I really didn’t like Ryan either. I actually liked Nicole best, even though we didn’t get to see much of her. Shauna was an awful girl. Both in the flashbacks and in present day.I did get the feeling that Shauna was the ringleader of the “Mean Girls” and that the other girls were probably afraid of her.

I did feel a bit of sympathy when it came to Toni’s parents.I mean, holy crap, her mom was awful to her and I actually found myself defending Toni when it came to her mom. I mean, yes it’s got to be awful to have your youngest daughter murdered, but why turn your back on your oldest daughter? I mean favoritism was clearly shown in this book and that made me angry.

Ryan was so underdeveloped as a character. I wanted to know more about him, his time in prison and who he thought really murdered his girlfriend’s little sister. I think Ryan really got the short end of the stick when it comes to character development. We only heard about Toni’s time in jail, when I know that Ryan’s imprisonment must have been even harder.

Ashley’s appearance felt random. I mean, I know how she was supposed to be connected to the story, but it felt too convenient. I liked her, but I didn’t really understand why she was necessary to the story. At times, it kind of felt like she was an afterthought.

The twist at the end seemed cliched. It felt like it was a twist that I had seen in a dozen other thriller books. So I wasn’t shocked or surprised by it. Actually I was annoyed that the author chose to make this the twist, rather than think outside the box. So I’ll be giving this book 3 stars. It wasn’t terrible, but it definitely was not her best book.

Review: Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

Book Title: Complicit
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Release Date: June 24th, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: YA Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Two years ago, fifteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else.

But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie.

Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know this one simple truth: she’s not the crazy one and never has been.

He is.

Disclaimer: I received this e-galley from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
By the time you read this I will have read and reviewed the first Stephanie Kuehn book Charm & Strange. I just knew the moment I read the blurb of this one, that I had to have it.The blurb sent chills up my spine. So when NetGalley approved me, I was super excited about it and I dove right in.I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but what I got was 256 pages of pure awesome mind-fuckery.

Jamie has been dealt a rough hand. As a child he lived with his mother and big sister Cate. Until the day that his mother was shot and killed right in front of him & Cate. After that, they went into foster care until rich people Angie and Malcolm Henry adopted them. It’s very hard for school-age kids to be adopted but this was a special case. Angie and Malcolm had recently lost their two children in a traffic accident.

At first Cate seems like she’s the well adjusted one. But Jamie starts to hear stories. Stories about how his sister is making other kids do stuff.Stuff that they don’t want to do. Of course Jamie is loyal to his sister, but then an incident changes that. An incident that shows that all those kids saying those strange things may not be so far off.

Then the fire happens and Cate is eventually charged with the crime. Finally, Jamie can breathe easier. “Crazy Cate” is in a juvenile detention center where she can’t get to him. But nothing is the same anymore. He’s an outcast, even his former best friend Scooter won’t talk to him. After all it was Scooter’s girlfriend who was horrifically burned in the fire that Cate set which also killed horses.

And then he meets Jenny. Sweet Jenny, kind Jenny. Jenny doesn’t know about Cate because her family just moved here. So to her, Jamie is just a normal guy. When she finds out about Cate from the other kids at school, she doesn’t shy away from Jamie.

Now Jamie is getting calls from his sister. He hasn’t spoken to her in two years and now she’s out and constantly hassling him over the phone.Jamie doesn’t want to ruin what he’s got going with Jenny but he’s also trying to recover certain memories. Memories that only Cate would be able to relate to.

It isn’t until he comes face to face with Cate for the first time in 2 years, that he starts realizing things. Memories that had been long repressed creep back into the forefront of his brain. Suddenly, everything he thought was true is being called into question.

Malcolm & Angie played pretty minor parts. Angie was in it more than Malcolm was. They were okay people. Angie was a good mom to the kids and when Malcolm was around he was good to both Cate &
Jamie. They definitely grieved for their birth children, Madison & Graham. Even going as far as encouraging Cate & Jamie into doing the kinds of things that Madison and Graham enjoyed. Such as horseback riding & playing the piano.

I think they tried to protect Jamie in the end. They had already lost their biological children and their adopted daughter was lost to her troubles. So they focused on keeping Jamie safe and happy. Even going as far as to baby him a bit. Especially when it came to the nerve damage to his hands.His hands had started giving him problems the night of the fire. Now whenever he was stressed out, the issues flared up again.

I just cannot believe what a ride this was. And the mind-fuckery? Totally crazy and this book messed with my mind in the best possible way. Oh man this book was fantastic.It was a total page turner because you never quite knew what was going to happen next and it was oftentimes, totally unexpected.

Thrillers are harder to review because there’s often no true feels in the books. There’s craziness and mind-blowing and all sorts of other things, but no true feels. With that said, this book will be getting the full 5 stars. It was totally awesome and Stephanie Kuehn has become another one of those auto-buy authors. Which means, I’ll buy anything this woman writes. I definitely plan on ordering a finished copy of this book.

Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 TBR List

This feature is hosted by the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish.
I was excited about this list as I have a lot of books that I want to read on my TBR this spring.But I had to narrow it down to the ten most important books. Since I have a ginormous TBR pile, I am going to do 5 personal books & 5 review books.
Review Books
Great by Sara Benincasa
-This book comes out next month so I definitely need to have it read soon.
Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington
-This book came out last week so I really need to read it-
Insanity by Susan Vaught
-This one came out last month but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet-
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
-This one comes out next month and I am so excited to read it. i’ve heard nothing but amazing things about it-
The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting
-My blogger friend Andi has been pushing this one on me for the past month-
Personal Books
Siege & Storm (Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo
-I have had this book since September but have not read it yet-
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
-This one is a recent purchase. It looks like something I’ll enjoy and I am excited to get to read it-
A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
-Bloggers Giselle and Gillian sold me on this book despite it not being a genre that I read-
In The After (In The After #1) by Demitria Lunetta
-I have the sequel to this one in e-ARC format. Plus this one looks really good-
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
-I love contemporaries that make me feel and apparently this one will bring the feels-
So what books are on your Spring TBR?