Book Reviews · Netgalley · New Releases

Book Review: Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Harlequin – Mira, via Netgalley for an honest review.

Genre: Mature YA/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new novel examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to to protect their secrets.

Opinion:

Goode perches like a gargoyle above the city’s small downtown…It is quiet, dignified, isolated. As are the girls who attend the school; serious, studious. Good. Goode girls are always good. They go on to great things.”

After the unexpected deaths of her scion father and mother, Ash Carr arrives at Goode – a private college preparatory school for teenage daughters of the elite. Goode breeds exceptional ladies who go on to top schools, and who become leaders in their industries. As a sophomore, Ash is quickly thrust into the strange dynamics of these powerful and privileged girls. Keeping up with the honor code of the school and high intensity academics is one thing, but navigating the ways of her classmates is an entirely different game. But things for Ash have never been easy, so why should her time at Goode be any different. After the sudden death of her roommate turns Goode upside down, Ash fights to keep her name cleared of any involvement. But things are beginning to unravel, and no secret is safe, not even hers.

I love a good murder mystery/thriller, but a murder mystery in a private school of privileged girls? Psh. Cancel my evening and clear my schedule, because I am THERE! One series that has been a personal favorite of mine for years is Private by Kate Brian. It’s a YA drama-fest of secrets, lies, murder, backstabbing, secret societies and boatloads of privilege. Needless to say, when I came across Good Girls Lie, I needed it in my hands immediately.

And it was all I could have asked for

and then some.

This book is oozing with secrets made of manipulation that have been dipped in lies, doused in deception, coated with blindsides, and sprinkled with levels upon levels of twists. Think you know where this is going? Think again. Think it’s over? THINK AGAIN! J.T. Ellison keeps the reader drowning in psychological torment until the very last page. So much so, that you’ll even find yourself reading the acknowledgments just to get a deeper look inside the head of this author.

I was unimaginably hooked on this story and the character of Ash. I needed to know her deep dark secrets, and the secrets of all these strange girls at Goode. Because they aren’t just rich girls thrust into a top school because their daddy knows a guy. Oh no. These girls are brilliant, border-line geniuses in their fields. Whether it is art, business, computers or writing – these girls excel in every subject. They are cunning and devious, sure, but also surprisingly honest and mostly decent to one another. And yeah, they’re a little crazy, but that’s to be expected.

It’s a bit like entering a prison, only here, the inmates are upstanding teens with daddy issues.”

Goode is the typical private bordering school that we have seen and read about. There are the popular head girls who rule over the school, secret societies and hazing, and a whole lot of sneaky things going on in the shadows. But the real star of this story is Ash Carr and her journey to Goode. Before her father suddenly dies of a drug overdose, and her mother commits suicide shortly after finding his body, Ash is told that she will be attending Goode in two months time. But after the death of her parents, and with her inheritance tied up until her twenty-fifth birthday, Ash is granted a scholarship into Goode by the dean of the school.

But naturally, Ash’s past is much more complex than one could ever guess.

They say her name, an unbroken chain of accusation and misery.”

Ash.

Ash.

Ash.

Ash is such an interesting character to have tell this story. My initial reaction upon learning that she is harboring a dark secret made me watch her closely, but her character is so intricately created that you forget to look at her as anything but a teenager. She keeps to herself at school, doesn’t make any quick and strong relationships with any of the other girls, and simply focuses on her studies and staying under the radar. She is the embodiment of a girl who has seen tragedy and hurt throughout her life, and I felt such a sense of sadness for her. But naturally, there are instances throughout this story that makes you question her and the motives of every single girl around her.

Lies will flow from my lips, but there may perhaps be some truth mixed up with them; it is for you to decide whether any part of it is worth keeping.” – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

I have been reading a TON of thrillers lately, so I had a pretty good idea of where this was going. But NOT AT ALL to the extent that it went! Every time I made a conclusion on how this book would end, something would happen that would force me to rethink everything. And even when I finally got all the answers, ANOTHER blindside was waiting for me! This is the kind of thriller I have been needing. One that makes my face hurt while giving me a weird sense of envy that I was never shipped off to a boarding school and tapped into a secret society.

Woe is me.

As a whole, I loved Good Girls Lie. Why yes, there were a bit of unnecessary PG-13 (R?) rated scenes that I didn’t see any point to. And yes, the constant drastic age differences in these romantic relationships did make me slightly uncomfortable. But, what is life, right? All in all, this is a really addicting story about secrets and the need for freedom. It’s sad, it’s dark and it is even a bit sweetsort of. My only true qualm is that this is a stand-alone, when all I really want is about ten more of these books.

“Mmm. Death tastes so good.”

4-5-stars

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Netgalley · New Releases · Upcoming Releases

Binding of Bindings #33: December Anticipated Book Releases

It’s almost the end of 2019
and apparently the end of an abundance of book releases.

There may only be 5 books on my December Releases list, but trust me when I say, they’re gunna be good!

 

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~*My 5 Anticipated December Book Releases*~

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Yep, just five.

1. Reverie by Ryan La Sala
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/LGBT

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So this has obviously released already, but if you haven’t heard of it yet…allow me to indulge you!

Reverie follows a young man named Kane Montgomery after he is involved in a car accident that leaves him with amnesia. As he struggles to remember his day to day routine in high school, and is subjected to torment from his peers for his sexual orientation, Kane learns who he truly is – an Other.

The Others work together to save the world from rouge fantasies that transform into actual alternate realities, also known as Reveries.

This promises to be an action-packed and fantastically campy tale, with a blend of The Magicians and Inception.

 

 

2. Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance by Jennieke Cohen
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Genre: YA/Historical Romance

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Calling all Jane Austen fans!!!!

Dangerous Alliance is a fun and witty tale about a woman who consults her beloved Jane Austen stories for guidance and wisdom as she enters society in search of a husband.

Try as she might, she is finding little help in between the lines of her favorite tales and is still unsure of how to spot a man who just wants her dowry, a man of honor and duty, and how exactly to fend off unwanted affections. And best of all, there seems to be mysterious “accidents” following in her shadow.

I mean, I was hooked by the cover alone. Just as you should be too.

Also: This author is named Jennieke and mine is Jenaca and we both pronounce it the same…?

 

3. A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon, Book 1) by Kelsey Quick
Release Date: December 9, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal-Vampires

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I know this cover isn’t much to look at, but I am halfway through this book AS WE SPEAK and oh em gee

I am loving it!

And yes, this is a vampire book. And yes, I agree, the vampire stories are a tad tired but for some reason I just had to request this book and I am soooooo happy I did.

A Violet Fire is basically a vampire vs. human version of The Handmaids Tale or Vox where vamps rule the world. To ensure there is no shortages of blood, for centuries vampires have been enslaving humans to work as servants, blood supply units and breeders. When a human comes of age, they are brought before their master to have their blood sampled. If their blood is accepted, they are brought to their masters home to be used as a supply unit when needed. If their blood is declined, they are fed to the fallen: humans who were bit by a vampire and turned into blood-thirsty creatures.

For Wavorly, one of the few humans enslaved that was captured in a human settlement and not inbred, she seeks only freedom or death. Unlike all the other supply units who worship their masters, Wavorly knows what she truly is: a slave.

Guys. Just read this. Please. READ IT!

 

4. Daughter of Chaos (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Book 2) by Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal-Witches

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Guess who.

Book two is about to come out and my witchy little heart hasn’t even read book 1 (the prequel) yet! Blasphemous, really.

Daughter of Chaos picks up where season 1 of the Netflix series does – with Sabrina leaving her mortal friends behind and attending the Academy of Unseen Arts. Here she begins to delve deeper into her magic, while making new friends and enemies along the way. Oh and of course there’s an uncanny amount of blood being spilled and demons being worshiped.

*sigh* what a dream.

 

5. Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison
Release Date: December 30, 2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

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Good Girls Lie is another book I have an ARC of, so I am really stoked to get into this once I finish A Violet Fire.

It’s your typical posh boarding school experience where a sweet girl named Ashlyn arrives at a new academy after the sudden death of her parents. There are mean girls, creepy halls and buildings, and a mysterious history of the school. Ashlyn struggles to fit in and acclimate to her new environment, and to make matters worse, girls start dying.

I love a thriller and I love one that has potential to blindside me, and I am thinking this one is going to do just that!

 

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As always, stay Witchy

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Pre-order · Upcoming Releases

Binding of Bindings #22: My Top 10 Anticipated July Book Releases

Do you hear that…?
Someone’s knocking

I think it’s July book releases.
Sent up from the depths of Hell to drag you into a deep, dark, black abyss of book obsessions and character addictions.
So…what do we do?

 

We help them into the damn tower, of course!

 

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~* My 10 Anticipated July Book Releases *~

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1. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu
Release Date: July 2, 2019
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mystery

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I am starting this beautiful babe tonight, and I cannot wait!

The Best Lies is about a girl named Remy who had an amazing life, until her best friend Elise shot her boyfriend.

Devastated and shocked, Remy sifts through her memories to find ANY plausible explanation for what happened. The story showcases toxic relationships, jealousy and revenge, and is said to be a Thelma and Louise meets Gone girl psychological thriller!

 

2. The Beckoning Shadow (Book 1) by Katharyn Blair
Release Date: July 2, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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This book has AMAZING reviews all over Goodreads already, and with a cover and plot like this, I’m simply not surprised.

The Beckoning Shadow follows Vesper (sick name, right?) has the ability to summon one’s worst nightmares and make them real, but her unique power has lead her down a road of regret. So when she is thrust into the Tournament of the Unraveling to compete for a chance to rewrite the past, she desperately works to win with the help of Sam Hardy – a former MMA fighter with a past just as tragic.

 

3. Season of the Witch (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Book 1) by Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror

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*Commence the obnoxiously loud fan-girl screams*

I KNOW!

THIS. Is ACTUALLY. HAPPENING!!!!!

Season of the Witch is a prequel to the Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and documents the summer before we all meet her. This is the summer that she and Harvey first get together, but she isn’t sure of Harvey’s feelings for her. By her cousin Ambrose’s suggestion, Sabrina performs a spell, but it backfires.

From the reviews I have read, it would be a good idea to watch the first season of the show before you read this. It might give some spoilers away if you haven’t seen the show yet, and who wants that?!

Obviously, I am SUPER excited for this release. My witchy heart can barely contain itself!!

 

4. Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Release Date: July 29 2019
Genre: YA/Horror/Mystery/LGBT

Wilder Girls

This is probably the third or fourth time I have posted about this book, but can you blame me?

You can’t.

Wilder Girls is the private school meets fast-spreading virus meets feminist vibes story that you obviously just need. A virus breaks out at a private school located on an island, and three girls are forced to fight for their lives as it spreads. Reviewers are describing it as a Feminist Lord of the Flies.

Intrigued?

Of course you are.

 

5. Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Genre: YA/Mystery/Thriller

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Heartwood Box is a dark romantic YA Mystery that follows Araceli (again with the cool names) as she is sent to live with her great-aunt in a Victorian home. But this new town isn’t as quaint and normal as Araceli expected. There are countless “missing” posters everywhere, a creepy lab on the outskirts of town nobody talks about, and her aunt is a little…unhinged.

The mysterious conspiracies may commence now.

 

6. Vox by Christina Dalcher
Release Date: July 16, 2019
Genre: Fiction/Feminism/Science Fiction

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If you’ve got a hardcore addiction for The Handmaid’s Tale, because you like your heart being ripped out each week – Read THIS!

I started it a few days ago and let me just tell you…

…it’s f***ed.

Vox is a re-release Dystopian Feminist story set in America where women are only allotted a total of 100 words to speak in a day. Similar to The Handmaid’s Tale, slowly women are stripped of their rights, and thrust into bracelets that counts their words and gives them electric shocks if they exceed their limit.

To make it worse, female children are given these bracelets too and never taught to read or write.

This book is told from Dr. Jean McClellan’s point of view, and it is…hard to read.

*Sigh* my heart!

 

7. The Phantom Forest by Liz Kerin
Release Date: July 16, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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The Phantom Forest is a story for every Underworld loving creature of the night out there!

The Forest of Laida is the most holy place of the Underworld, and each tree houses a soul that is able to return to the mortal world for another life. But when Seycia’s (seriously, THE NAMES!) father is killed and she is chosen as a human sacrifice, she is thrust into the Underworld to protect her family.

I received this from Netgalley (you can still get a copy) and I am SO stoked to get it started!

 

8. Before I disappear by Danielle Stinson
Release Date: July 23, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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Before I Disappear is a story about every soul in a town disappearing into thin air, except for five teens.

Rose arrived in Fort Glory, Oregon to start a new life with her family, but everything changes when they suddenly vanish. Now she is trapped in the Fold with four other teens – a place in the woods that is somewhere between the real world and the lost town – and everyone is starting to turn deadly.

This has Stephen King vibes all over it…DOWN!

 

9. The Merciful Crow (Book 1) by Margaret Owen
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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THIS looks like it is going to be a BIG winner for fans of Six of Crows, so get your wallets out kids.

The Merciful Crow is set in a world that follows a caste system, and main character Fie belongs to the Crowsundertakers and murderers who are paid to collect the dead. But when Fie is sent on a job she knows will pay big, things turn for the worst when it comes to light that her target, Prince Jasimir and his bodygaurd, have faked their deaths in order to prevent his Kingdom from siege.

I mean…look.

Just take my money.

 

10. The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling/Feminism

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Another re-release, but another book you will be happy to get your hands on!

The Surface Breaks is a Little Mermaid Retelling (try not to scream) set off the Irish coast. Gaia is the most prized daughter of the Sea King, but dreams of escaping her fathers control. Living in a world where only the beautiful are kept, and the ugly or deformed are banished, Gaia wants nothing more than to be free. And so upon her first swim to the surface, she is captivated by a human boy, who she is prepared to sacrifice everything for.

This book is a FEMINIST version of the tale we know and love, and is said to be a dark and emotional version that is going to strike some serious feels.

Sign me up!

 

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Let me know what books you are planning to read this July, or what upcoming releases you’re DYING over!
My TBR list is already going to follow me into the afterlife, so might as well throw a few more on top.
As always my lovely beauties – Stay Witchy! ❤

 

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