Books · Reviews

WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart


Genre: Young Adult/Fiction


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.

Opinion: Beautiful, heartbreaking, shocking, and innocent. This book has been getting a lot of attention and praise in the “Bookstagram” community (I swear it’s like an entirely different world in there) and I can now see why. The book has a splash of everything you would want in a YA/Coming of Age story: innocence, love, family, greed, tragedy, heartbreak, truth, and of course lies. It takes the reader through a time of happiness and tragedy as the protagonist, Cadence, searches for the truth behind an accident that caused her to lose more than just her memories of what happened in Summer Fifteen.

Cadence Sinclair Eastman, Mirren Sinclair Sheffield, Johnathan Sinclair Dennis, and friend Gatwick Matthew Patil are the “Four Liars” of Beechwood Island. Coming from a family of old-money and pride, the “Four Liars” and their families spend every summer on Harris Sinclair’s privately-owned retreat. However, during Summer Fifteen (summer + current age of the Liars) Cadence was found alone on the beach, half-naked, and nearly underwater with a serious head injury that resulted in her losing her memory of what happened. For the next few years Cadence spends her time suffering from terrible migraines, taking painkillers, and no memory of most of Summer Fifteen. Now two years later, Cadence is finally returning to Beechwood after her accident to be reunited with her liars and to find out what really happened to her that summer.

“Then he pulled out a handgun and shot me in the chest. I was standing on the lawn and I fell. The bullet hole opened wide and my heart rolled out of my rib cage and down into a flower bed. Blood gushed rhythmically from my open wound, then from my ears, my mouth.

It tasted like salt and failure. The bright red shame of being unloved soaked the grass in front of our house, the bricks of the path, the steps of the porch. My heart spasmed among the peonies like a trout.

Mummy snapped. She said to get hold of myself.

Be normal, now, she said. Right now, she said.”

We Were Liars has everything you could ask for in a YA story. The author shows innocence through the “Four Liars” as they grow up together every summer, and the loyalty they have for one another as they are thrust into the center of greed that surrounds the rest of their family members. The reader experiences love and heartbreak between Cadence and Gat, the obsession of money taking control of morals and values, and the truth and lies that shape and destroy the liars. The writing is beautiful and descriptive. I found myself completely submerged in understanding for Cadence when her father left, and how it must have felt to pretend that it didn’t bother her.

It is very hard to go into too much detail when reviewing this book, and I know how frustrating it is reading the reviews because they are so cryptic. If you love young adult books than you really cannot go wrong here. The author embodies the emotions and rational thinking of four teens as they grow, and the harsh realization of what really happened to Cadence. The characters in this story are both self-absorbed and caring, brilliant and ignorant, and terrible and wonderful. Even if you don’t live their lavish lifestyle, there is something in this story for everyone to relate to. This story will make you smile, and it will definitely pull on those little strings that are attached to your heart.

Bottom Line: JUST READ IT


Books · Reviews



Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Raven PA, for an honest review.

Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Fiction/Paranormal

Plot: Life was full of nothing but darkness for Nathan Stevenson until Jasmine appeared in his life. She brought his innermost desires to the surface. She burned her way through to his heart to become embedded in his soul. He knew she was dangerous but would she break down his wall as he dreamed of her touch and fought against the impulse to protect her? Would their love be enough to defeat his demons? Was he strong enough to resist her or would her light burn irrevocably?

Opinion: First, the description of this book does not at all give the reader, or prospective reader, any insight into what this book is about. All we really find out is that the story is centering around a guy named Nathan, there will be romance with a girl named Jasmine, and that Nathan has some “demons” that their love could possibly extinguish. So, please allow me to give you some in depth insight to what this book is about:

Nathan Stevenson is a demon. He has been chosen to be the one of the next candidates by the council of Superiors for the next four years. His most important role will be to take the powers from each mortal sacrifice (their luminosity that both sustains and feeds the demons) brought to “Halloween” for the candidates and the demon populace. But Nathan is dealing with the stresses of making his parents proud, keeping up with his demon obligations, and that he keeps dreaming of a girl who he has never met. Soon Nathan finds out that the girl he has been dreaming about is indeed the next sacrifice, Jasmine, and that he will need to kill her in order to fulfill his commitment to his fellow demons.

This book is around 100 pages, so be aware that it is going to be a quicker and shorter read than other novels that you might be purchasing. I have been reading shorter books lately in exchange for reviews, so I am slowly getting used to the idea of less details and writing that gets straight to the point. But I will admit, I love those overbearing details to attention (must be my OCD 🙂 ). With some minor things aside, this is a really original read. The entire concept of a story centering on demons and their obligations is really interesting, not to mention the brutality that surrounds them. By brutality, I mean BRUTALITY. Nathans parents are downright vicious to him, and his is only sixteen. Granted these are demons were talking about, so I wasn’t expecting hugs and kisses before bedtime for these characters. But I will tell you that I definitely wasn’t expecting Nathan getting whipped and beaten as early as the SECOND chapter, just for being a disrespectful teenager. The beatings go on for the entire book, so if you can’t get past that then this might not be a book for you.

The writing style is unique as well, at the beginning and mostly throughout the book the scenes change with every paragraph. This starts to slow down as the story progresses, but it was really hard for me to get used to this style for at least half of the read. There were quite a few things that were not explained thoroughly in this story, or things that were mentioned and not brought back up again. Can you say CONFUSING? The character of Nathan could have been more developed for me. I am BIG on character development, and I can honestly say that I wasn’t too fond of him at the beginning. He lacked an actual sense of depth or emotion for me. While reading I was only SEEING that characters emotion, not feeling or understanding it with him. BUT, the story starts to get better the farther you read. This is a Young Adult book and the romance really starts to kick in towards the end, so be ready for that and the abruptly random ending. There were SO MANY ways this could have ended, and it just…STOPPED. *Sigh*…oh well.

Basically, a good read that needs some adjusting but has legs to really go somewhere. I am interested to read the next book in this series to see where the characters go and how Nathan decides what to do in his situation, as well as seeing how the writing improves.

3 Stars612B40E9C1CD2F68AD9B9A8097CED4FF

Books · Reviews

The Bookwyrm Series: Part One by Suzanna J. Linton


Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Raven PA, for an honest review.

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal

Plot: Helen Delacroix can read auras and is a part of a community of supernatural beings: wizards and witches; telepaths and telekinetics; were-creatures and beings that were never human to start with. Anything can walk through the door of her store, The Bookwyrm: humans, non-humans, or eerie things that exist in-between. Lately, it’s been nothing but danger.

A family being terrorized by a poltergeist approaches Helen for help because they have nowhere else to turn. As Helen tries to figure out how to do that with dangerous objects flying at her head, she receives a death threat in her mail. Someone is gunning for the local supernaturals, starting with her…

Opinion: This book is said to be “Part 1” in the Bookwyrm Series and it is only about 30 pages long in Kindle formatting, so definitely a quick read. Due to it being so short, there is obviously a lot less of character building, setting, and plot buildup. For a book that is in the Paranormal and Fantasy genre, I am sure you guys can imagine how difficult that actually must be. I am very used to creative and ongoing writing for this genre of book, so I found it a bit refreshing to have a book just get STRAIGHT TO THE POINT. I did enjoy the creative writing aspect in this, Suzanna J. Linton has a nice way of constructing her sentences and describing things in few words. Of course I missed my pages and pages of character development (still not quite sure who Helen, the main character, is or how old she is) and the excessive amount of descriptions in this style of book, but it was a nice change.

This book has a lot of potential to turn into a great series once it has been a little tweaked and lengthened. I think the author could have definitely given the introduction to the “magical world” more depth, it felt like it was just dropped into the middle of a page and at a completely random time. I think that should really be a focus for this story, as it does center around magic and the supernatural. But, every great story has a character you can remember right? I couldn’t remember the main characters name until the last page when I went back and checked, which means she doesn’t stand out much at all. Character development can’t hurt you, just ask Stephen King…he puts so much into getting the reader attached to his characters, and then he just kills them. 🙂 Overall, a good start for a series that can really go somewhere amazing. I look forward to seeing this author develop their writing and seeing where it goes.

2 Stars612B40E9C1CD2F68AD9B9A8097CED4FF


DREAMLAND by Sarah Dessen


Genre: Young Adult/Fiction

Plot: Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He’s magnetic. He’s compelling. He’s dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else–her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

Opinion: I have read Dreamland quite a few times over the past ten or so years that I have owned it (wow, time flies), and I can honestly say that it has and always will be one of my FAVORITES. Every time I pick this book up after some time has passed, I feel like I am seeing it in a completely different way. Maybe it has to do with me getting older and appreciating beautiful writing as it is, or maybe it is life experiences that I have encountered that have given me an even deeper connection to it. But really, the most amazing aspect of this entire book is this: no matter your age or your experiences in life, it is near impossible not to feel a deep connection or understanding to the characters or events that take place in this story.

Caitlin has always felt like she was living in the shadow of her perfect older sister Cass. But when Cass runs away on Caitlin’s sixteenth birthday, Caitlin is left to deal with the emotional turmoil it leaves on their family and to fill the place of her older sister. As Caitlin and her family start to live their lives without Cass in it, Caitlin tries to forge her own path in life without following in Cass’s perfect footsteps. Soon Caitlin meets Rogerson, a mysterious guy that at first seems to be Caitlin’s perfect match. But too soon their relationship turns from beautiful to ugly, and Caitlin slowly starts to withdraw from everyone and everything around her.

Though I have read this book many times over the years, I feel like this time I feel COMPLETELY different about it…in a good way. When I was in high school, I connected with the character of Caitlin easily because she was young and trying to figure out who she was and what she wanted out of life. Not only was she trying to become her own person, but she was trying to be something different than her older sister. Back then I saw this book as a young adult love story gone wrong, with a main character who was so far in love that she could not get herself away from the terrifying situation of Rogerson and his fists. I couldn’t understand why Caitlin wouldn’t run away from Rogerson, flip him the bird, and go on with her life. Now, several years later (and older and wiser… 😉 ), I have come to see a few differences. Not only does Sarah Dessen know how to do wonderful transitions from dialogue to memories that Caitlin has with her sister, but she has a beautiful creative writing ability. When Caitlin is describing the toll her relationship is taking on her, the reader feels entirely encompassed in her feelings. I found myself going on an emotional roller coaster with her as she went through it.

“But what he didn’t understand was that this dreamland was preferable, walking through this life half-sleeping, everything at arm’s length or farther away.
I understood those mermaids. I didn’t care if they sang to me. All I wanted was to block out all the human voices as they called me name again and again, pulling me upward into light, to drown.”

I of course took a look at some other reviews of this book, and I noticed that many readers were commenting on how Rogerson was just another made up “bad boy” and that nothing about him was explained. I personally think that the author not giving away too much on Rogerson is spot on. A lot of times with relationships that involve physical or emotional harm, the person being harmed in the relationship starts to realize that the person they fell in love with is a stranger to them after all. I think the reader never knowing exactly why Rogerson hit Caitlin (obviously his father beating him had something to do with it) or exactly who he was just built his character even more. Sarah Dessen did a great job of getting the reader attached to him just as much as Caitlin was, and I find that a hard thing to do.

This is a darker read for a Sarah Dessen book, but is ABSOLUTELY worth the read. It is perfect for all ages (as it doesn’t get too violent) and I think shows a great outlook and insight into relationships that can turn to something unexpected.


Books · Reviews

THUMP SQUASH by Robert Pence


Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, Robert Pence, for an honest review.

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/YA/Adult

Plot: There’s a full moon. The wind is blowing. Your parents are sound asleep. You hear the ‘thump’. You hear the ‘squash’. These are the sounds your friends warned you about. Thump Squash is coming down the hall for you.

May you never hear, late at night while lying in your warm safe bed, the horrifyingly foreboding footsteps of the legendary evil monster known as ‘Thump Squash’, slowly creeping down your hallway. When Humphrey’s best friend Billy disappears, his investigation begins. All clues point to the legendary ‘Thump Squash’. His friends have different theories about who or what ‘Thump Squash’ is. Is he the Janitor, the Farmer, a ghost, or something even more unimaginably frightening?

Opinion: This is the second book I have read from author Robert Pence, and I hope it will not be the last! I noticed that there has been barely any reviews on this book, and I have NO IDEA as to WHY. It is not very often that you find books that all ages can enjoy (like Robert Pence’s other amazing book called One Deed Dude), but Robert Pence really knows how to write stories that anyone can get lost in. This book would be great for adults, teenagers, and even kids. This feels like a great bedtime story for the kids, or just a lazy day read like it was for me.

Eleven-year-old Billy was looking out if his apartment window one night when he noticed a tall black creature, who was holding a heavy looking hammer in his hand, staring up at his window. The next day Marley and Humphrey, best friends of Billy, find out that he is missing. The police believe he has either run away or has been kidnapped, but Humphrey thinks otherwise.

After their friend Danny tells them the story of Thump Squash, a local creature that kidnaps children and cuts off their feet, Humphrey and Marley decide to take it upon themselves to find Billy, along with the help of Danny and his little brother Jimmy. Through tunnels and deep investigation, the four hunt for clues as to where Billy might be and to who might have taken him. While some of their suspects include their schools janitor and a local farmer, Humphrey can’t shake the feeling that it might be the creature named Thump Squash who was said to have died years ago.

The writing, as usual per Robert Pence, is really great. He completely captures the way of thinking and thought reasoning that an eleven and thirteen-year-old would have, as well as the silly ideas and comments that come from eight-year-old Jimmy. I laughed to myself a few times when Jimmy would shout out a silly theory about what he thinks is going on, very spot on for that age group. There is not a lot of character development in this book, but it really isn’t needed at all with the focus that the story has. The author gives the reader information about each character that is “need to know” and important to the story, and leaves out the unnecessary descriptive ramblings. I personally loved this aspect of the writing, it was clear that the focus was of the mystery at hand and nothing else. I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone, but after I finished the book I was left wondering what the specifics were to why who or what had “done it”. I am curious to know if this was the authors’ intention or if it was assumed that the reader would put it all together on their own.

Basically, this is a book for all ages and definitely an exciting and fun one at that. If you love MYSTERY and SUSPENSE or if you just need a new book to read, than this is a great story to choose to read next.

4 Stars612B40E9C1CD2F68AD9B9A8097CED4FF