Review: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Book Title: Don’t Look Back
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published Date: April 15th, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA Mystery
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend. 

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it’s one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took “mean girl” to a whole new level, and it’s clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She’s getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she’s falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn’t just buried deep inside of Sam’s memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review:
This was a book that I was extremely excited about, but was unable to purchase it. So when I found out my library had it, I was ecstatic. I actually had to take the first copy back because it smelled like cigarettes and just inhaling the scent made me ill. So last week, I picked up a new copy and a few days later, I settled down to read it.

Holy crap on a cracker, JLA should just write these thrillers all the time because the way she weaves the story is amazing. The way she drops little clues throughout the book is awesome. I would read the book and every once and awhile, I’d make a note of something, thinking that it sounded like a clue. I spent the entire book, totally confused while my brain worked overtime to try and solve the mystery myself. I came up with so many scenarios, none of which even came close to the truth.That’s when I know a book was really good. When books keep me guessing all the way through and nothing I come up with is even close to the truth.  

I loved Samantha. She was clearly struggling with the knowledge that she couldn’t remember anything about her life before the accident. Not only that, but apparently she had been a royal bitch before the accident. She didn’t remember that girl. but she didn’t want to be like her. She wanted to be a good person who cared about others. She no longer liked her boyfriend Del and they had been together for a very long time. Things about him bother her a lot. 

She starts to wonder if he had anything to do with her disappearance and with Cassie’s disappearance.

I loved the relationship that Samantha had with her brother. He was such a good brother to her. He protected her and loved her. So often you see brother-sister relationships in YA and they are filled with angst. There was obviously angst with this one, but it wasn’t related to Scott and Samantha’s relationship.

Also, I have mad love for Carson. Carson and Samantha go way back and even though Samantha wasn’t always nice to him before the accident, he was still loyal to her. He loved her despite the fact that she didn’t always treat him nicely. Carson was adorable and I loved his close friendship with Scott. Despite the fact that Scott and Samantha’s parents looked down on him for being the son of  “the help” Carson didn’t let that affect him or his friendships with Scott and Samantha.

The last 100 pages especially were filled with so many twists and turns. My mind was constantly twirling. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know who was behind the disappearance of Samantha and Cassie. The ending was so mind boggling that I had to sit back and take some breathers because I kept saying “Oh my god” and “Holy crap” I loved this book and I am so excited to buy my own copy of it. 5 stars to this incredibly twisty book that kept me guessing all the way through.

Review: The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer

Book Title: The Secrets Of Lily Graves
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Publish Date: May 13th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
With the intrigue of Pretty Little Liars and plenty of romance, bestselling author Sarah Strohmeyer weaves a story of secrets and lies—set in a funeral parlor.

Growing up in a house of female morticians, Lily Graves knows all about buried secrets. She knows that perfect senior-class president Erin Donohue isn’t what she seems. She knows why Erin’s ex-boyfriend, hot football player Matt Houser, broke up with her. And she also knows that, even though she says she and Matt are just friends, there is something brewing between them—something Erin definitely did not like.

But secrets, even ones that are long buried, have a way of returning to haunt their keeper.

So when Erin is found dead the day after attacking Lily in a jealous rage, Lily’s and Matt’s safe little lives, and the lives of everyone in their town of Potsdam, begin to unravel. And their relationship—which grew from innocent after-school tutoring sessions to late-night clandestine rendezvous—makes them both suspects.

As her world crumbles around her, Lily must figure out the difference between truth and deception, genuine love and a web of lies. And she must do it quickly, before the killer claims another victim.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
This book had been floating pretty far under the radar among my fellow book bloggers so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I got was a mind-blowing, hangover-inducing twisty ride that I never wanted to get off of.

Lily Graves lives in a home with her mother, grandmother and aunt, all of them being morticians. That was so totally awesome. I completely enjoyed that aspect of it. I had always found funeral homes & the morticians that run it, incredibly fascinating. So a family of morticians was awesome and unique.

Then there was her best friend Sarah. Lily & Sara had been friends their entire childhood. They bonded over the fact that they were “freaks” Sara had a deformed hand & Lily and her family lived in a funeral home. Despite Sara’s family’s very strict rules, Lily and Sarah’s friendship had lasted a long time.

After Erin is found dead, things begin to change for everyone. Lily & Matt, Erin’s boyfriend are now surrounded by suspicious people. No one believes that Lily and Matt had nothing to do with this. Even Sara doesn’t believe that Matt is innocent.

So now Lily must figure out what the police department cannot figure out. Who killed Erin? Was it suicide or homicide? If it was a homicide, who was responsible? Lily must figure all of this out before another life is lost.

Now this book was filled with twists and turns, most of them, I didn’t even see coming. The tangled web of lies and deceit had been weaved so brilliantly that once I finished reading I was left with a massive book hangover.

I absolutely loved this book and it should surprise no one that I am giving it 5 stars. The pacing was quick and exciting, the beginning was awesome and it allowed for me to be immediately drawn into the story, which absolutely loved. The ending absolutely blew my mind and it was crazy-awesome, twisty and shocking. I would totally recommend it to anyone that likes mysteries because while this was a thriller, it was also a mystery and a very well written one at that.I literally have nothing else to say about this crazy ride except, you need to read it.

Review: 12th Of Never (Women’s Murder Club #12) by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Book Title: 12th Of Never
Authors: James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Release Date: January 1st, 2013
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Mystery
Series: Book 12 in Women’s Murder Club series
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Lindsay Boxer’s beautiful baby daughter is born! While Lindsay and Joe are at home in bliss, San Francisco gets hit with multiple killings. An eccentric English professor has been having vivid nightmares about a murder that he claims is real. No one believes him-until a vicious shooting fits the man’s description to the last detail. 

Then the girlfriend of a star player for the San Francisco 49ers is found dead in her car, making the athlete the prime suspect. This seems like an open-and-shut case-until the body inexplicably vanishes from the morgue. When the desperate chief of police calls for help, Lindsay is forced to return to work after only one week at home with her newborn. 

But all the crimes in the world will seem like nothing when she suddenly faces the most devastating loss of her life. With heart-pounding emotion and suspense, 12TH OF NEVER is James Patterson’s most shocking and sensational Women’s Murder Club novel yet.

Disclaimer: This book was a personal purchase.

Review:
I have been a big James Patterson fan for at least the last ten years, possibly longer. I have read essentially all of his books, give or take a few.I grabbed this one when I was at Costco a month or so ago. I was excited as I hadn’t gotten to this one yet, despite it being out for a year already. The 11th book in this series was a bit lackluster, so I was kind of concerned about this one and hoping that the series wasn’t coming to a close.

Thankfully, the book was back on par with what I have come to expect from the joint writing of James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. It was a book that had many twists and turns, both in the various cases that the ladies were dealing with, as well as in their own personal lives.

I know there were some complaints about Lindsay in this book and I don’t get it at all. She’s a new mom who returned to work much earlier than she intended to. Of course she is going to be a bit scatterbrained and not totally with it. She just had a baby. She’s a mom to a newborn now. I have never had kids, but even I understood that Lindsay was just trying to adjust to everything as quickly as possible. It doesn’t help that Julie is not an easy baby either. So she’s dealing with that as well.

I wanted to wring Cindy’s neck though. She had essentially pushed her fiance Rich, onto the back burner. Totally unfair and it made me question if she really wanted to marry him. I mean they had been engaged for awhile, but no date was set? Um, if I am madly in love with someone and want to be their wife, I would not wait longer than maybe a week, to start planning a wedding. But Cindy & Rich had been engaged for  a year with nothing even set in stone yet. I started to feel crappy for Rich.

The biggest surprise was at the end and it had me practically screaming “WTF is going on here?” That was a twist I absolutely did not see coming. However, I thought it was awesome even if it did give me a WTF moment. This book gets 4 stars from me. I enjoyed it a lot and it was absolutely better than the 11th book.Go read it if you have read all of the other books in the series. I promise you will not be disappointed.