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Book Review: Shatter (Glitter Book 2) by Aprilynne Pike

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Shatter (Glitter Book 2) by Aprilynne Pike will be available for purchase on February 13, 2018.

Pre-order a copy through the links below:

Amazon.com: Shatter (Glitter Book 2) by Aprilynne Pike


Barnesandnoble.com: Shatter (Glitter Book 2) by Aprilynne Pike

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Random House Children’s, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Science-Fiction

Plot: Danica planned to use beauty, blackmail, and a glittering drug to control her own fate. Her escape from the twisted world of the Palace of Versailles was perfectly orchestrated and paid for. Or so she thought.

Betrayed by the man who had promised her freedom, Dani is now married to the murderous king. It’s a terrifying position to be in . . . and yet it’s oddly intoxicating. Power may be an even stronger drug than Glitter–a drug Dani can’t resist, in the form of secrets, manipulation, and sabotage.

In her new position at the head of the court, Dani must ask herself who she really is. Can she use her newfound power to secure her real love, Saber’s freedom, and a chance at a life together outside the palace? Or is being queen too addictive to give up?

Opinion:

OoOoOo can you guys hear that?

It sounds almost like…like…ravenous courtiers inebriated on Glitter rouge and lipstick. Or maybe it’s the whimsical musings of backstabbing, and one or two dead bodies? Perhaps robots? Or even more likely, crushed dreams of freedom and public displays of forced affection and bliss?

One thing is for sure, some s**t just hit an eight-tier chandelier at the Palace of Versailles.

As Danica’s plans to escape the Palace of Versailles slips from her gloved fingertips, the realization of her new life sets in: she is to marry Justin and become Queen. Danica knows that there is no other way for her now, and so she begrudgingly takes the role. As she begins to gain control of her court, the demand for her beauty products known as Glitter are at an all time high. Danica begins to throw herself into her duties, but losing herself along the way is just part of the process. In Shatter, Danica searches desperately for another way to leave Versailles and for a way to free Saber from his slavery. But Danica is getting in deeper than she expected, and the role of being Queen is a drug all on its own. Time is running out, but the Glitter isn’t.

WHAT. A. WHIRLWIND!!!

I want nothing more than to jump into this world that Aprilynne Pike has created! As I had said in my review for book 1 (Glitter), Shatter takes place in Sonoman-Versailles at the Palace of Versailles. Sonoman-Versailles reflects the fashions and dialect of that of the 18th-Century, but the technology they possess surpasses present time. Danica resides in the Queens quarters, which is the exact quarters that Marie Antoinette resided in during her time. But for Danica, being Queen is the last thing she wants. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what she gets. After Reginald refuses to help her flee, Danica is forced to marry Justin. Now stuck with the task of trying to navigate her new roles, she is also forced to sit back as Reginald takes control of her Glitter business.

Danica is a WHOLE new person in this book. She has transitioned into something truly amazing yet terrifying, and I am OBSESSED with it. In Shatter Danica is still doing everything she can to find a way for her and Saber to escape, but the role as Queen starts to drastically change her. The reader follows Danica as she makes RUTHLESS decisions and power-plays against the King, Reginald, and even a few members of the court. The King even goes so far as to say that he and Danica are alike, which honestly is NOT an exaggeration. She has blossomed into a calculating and manipulative character, but really…can we blame her? She is surrounded by horrible people, and all she wants is to be free. Bottom line, the girl is a savage and I commend her for it.

None of this is funny,’ I say, straightening my arm with my finger on the trigger. ‘No, of course not,’ he says, sobering. I shoot him in the leg.”

As for our other characters, Saber is still kind of lame and Justin is still an ass. Saber has become a minor role next to Danica, and especially now that she is Queen and being a badass. But with that considered, he still isn’t much of a character to be cared about in my opinion. In Shatter Saber had one role: try to be the voice of reason for Danica as she makes some SERIOUSLY CRAZY moves. But that’s about all he was there for. I honestly wouldn’t have noticed if he just disappeared halfway through the book, and frankly, I would have preferred it.

JUSTIN…still sucks in book 2. Although, you can’t say the guy is bland! He is such an arrogant piece of work, always playing mind games with Danica and acting like a spoiled brat. But, I kind of…like it?

Okay, I love him.

I can’t help it; the guy is downright horrible, and I’m so overly entertained by it. The more ruthless and snobbish he is, the more I hope for encounters with him. The banter between Justin and Danica is PURE gold. The author has created an intricate dance that these two participate in when they converse. They speak in carefully constricted sentences, and the only goal is to manipulate and play the other until one of them comes out champion. I LIVE FOR THIS! Though the end of Justin and Danica is to be expected by the end of this book, I am a little saddened by the way things turned out. For some reason, I just wanted Justin to prevail.

All in all, I think book 2 followed up book 1 nicely. There was A LOT more going on, and there even a few more twists and turns that the reader won’t expect. If you haven’t had the chance to get your hands on book 1 (Glitter) yet, then I SERIOUSLY suggest that you do. These books are hidden little gems and I haven’t seen much buzz about either, WHICH I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND. There is so much happening in these books that it is impossible to lose interest. Death, manipulation, royalty, 18th century fashion, and a ton of sarcasm and wit. Trust me guys, you will LOVE Glitter and Shatter.

4-stars

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Book Review: 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

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13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough will be available for purchase on October 3, 2017.

Pre-order a copy through the links below:

 Amazon.com – 13 Minutes: A Novel by Sarah Pinborough


Barnesandnoble.com – 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Flatiron Books, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: Natasha’s sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn’t try to kill her?

Natasha doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal. Her two closest friends are acting strangely, and Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before when she got popular, to help her figure out what happened.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart.

Opinion: *Sigh*…do you feel it guys? October is coming. Oooooh the leaves are beginning to fall; the air is starting to smell like brisk air and dying trees! Girls are buying pumpkin spice lattes, and those lovely goths and wickens are patiently waiting for Halloween. So here I am, giving the gift of words to put you in the mood of October…if you haven’t yet transitioned. A story with drownings, blindsides, almost decapitation (I’m exaggerating) and skanky girls!

AH! Nothing puts me in the holiday spirit quite like attempted/actual murder and scandal! Oooooo…spirit fingers!

It was a shock to everyone when the body of Natasha Howland was found washed up on an embankment, but an even bigger shock to find her alive. With no recollection of how she ended up in the water that night, Natasha tries desperately to find out what happened to her. With the return of her former best friend Becca, they work together to try and make sense of what the police have found out thus far. But with Natasha’s best friends Jenny and Haley acting strange, she begins to think that they might have something to do with what happened to her. Only time will tell what really happened that night, and only Natasha knows the truth.

I must say Ladies and Gents, this one will keep you guessing. This read will pull you in and keep you interested, in more ways than one! The obvious is the mystery of how poor Natasha ends up in the freezing water that night, which caused her to die for 13 minutes. But little does the reader know that s**t is about to get REAL. This book has it all! Some light drug use, a reenactment of Mean Girls, psycho girlfriends, stoners, adults behaving VERY badly, manipulation at its FINEST, and a dose of that good ol’ murder! Oh! Can you feel the tingles?! I sure can. I love a bundle of characters that makes me yell and curse out loud. I found myself rooting for every character at one point, but suddenly…everything began to shift. But just when I was about to shout “AAHHHHH HAH”, it all shifts AGAIN! These b****es are sneaky guys, very sneaky.

After Natasha wakes up in the hospital, the doctors report that she can’t remember the events that led up to her accident. We start to see her best friends, Haley and Jenny, acting strange and secretive, and Natasha even asks for Becca while in the hospital. This starts to feel as if everything is being set up and made too obvious from the very beginning, but thankfully that isn’t the case AT ALL. The author made sure to have the reader suspect each character for at least a moment, and I found myself being suspicious of EVERYONE. I couldn’t help but think the worst, but even I wasn’t thinking bad enough. I was NOT expecting any of these things to happen, and I loved it!

Characters. Well, to put it simply. Natasha is Queen Barbie for a reason, Becca is acutely annoying and desperate, Aiden is just a pansy, and Haley and Jenny are interesting…especially Jenny when she goes a little nutty. There are a few other characters who have some roles that I could mention, but they just don’t really seem to matter much (sorry guys). This story flips back and forth between Becca and Natasha, obviously our lead female characters in this story. Becca and Natasha used to be best friends, but Natasha dropped Becca a few years prior. Becca is considered a bit of a loner at school, while Natasha is in the popular crowd. She seems to have a decent head on her shoulders, meaning she doesn’t seem like the typical conceited popular girl. I started out favoring Becca, but halfway through the story that changed. As soon as Becca started acting needy and psycho, I just couldn’t stand her. The girl needed to CHECK herself. Pull in those emotions sweetheart, they’re all over the place!

Overall, this book really surprised me. I was expecting a flimsy YA read with some drama and overzealous characters, but what I got was so much more! I am so impressed with how this author was able to trick me so many times, and it kept me interested and reading. These characters are all VERY twisted and insane in their own way, but strangely normal at the same time. How the book unfolds itself is truly something special. I am SO glad I requested to read and review this one. Please keep in mind that this is for an older YA group of readers, as there is a lot of adult themes and situations that happen. This is not for a preteen! This is a great story to get you into the mystery/thriller stories as we get closer to Halloween, enjoy!

4-stars

 

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Book Review: The Dream Machine

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Amazon.com – The Dream Machine: Book 6, The Eddie McCloskey Paranormal Mystery Series (The Unearthed) by Evan Ronan

~ Get the first 5 books in the series ~

Amazon.com- The Unearthed: Book One, The Eddie McCloskey Series by Evan Ronan

Amazon.com – The Lost: Book Two, The Eddie McCloskey Series (The Unearthed 2) by Evan Ronan

Amazon.com – The Accused and the Damned: Book Three, the Eddie McCloskey Series (The Unearthed 3) by Evan Ronan

Amazon.com – The Hysteria: Book 4, The Eddie McCloskey Paranormal Mystery Series (The Unearthed) by Evan Ronan

Amazon.com – The Traveler: Book 5, The Eddie McCloskey Paranormal Mystery Series (The Unearthed) by Evan Ronan

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

Genre: Paranormal/Mystery/Horror/Adult/Thriller

Plot: They’re watching her dreams…and seeing the future

At a remote federal facility, researchers are watching—literally watching—test subjects’ dreams on computer screens. Alison, a teenage patient, is of particular interest because her dreams seemingly come true.

Eddie McCloskey, paranormal expert, versed in the occult and in debunking bad science, doesn’t put much stock in dreams. He’s studied the paranormal literature as much as anybody, and he’s convinced there’s a perfectly good explanation for all dreams.

But when Alison dreams about a catastrophic accident and a terrible crime, the shadowy federal agents Eddie worked with in Oregon come calling again. Eddie and the feds are racing against the clock. Are the dreams predictions, or merely intimations of what might happen? Can the future be altered?

This is no ghost hunt, but they need Eddie McCloskey’s lateral thinking if they’re going to get the job done here. Because they’ll soon discover there’s something else, something even more sinister, about Alison’s dreams…
Opinion: Check it out guys, he’s baaaccccckkkk! It has been quite some time since I have had the pleasure of diving into the world of paranormal ghost hunter Eddie McCloskey. Oh, how I have missed these twisted and frightening tales! This is number SIX in The Eddie McCloskey Paranormal Mystery Series. I am LOVING the basis of this installment of the series, because author Evan Ronan has centered it around dreams and how they can be controlled. This my readers, is SO up my alley.

Eddie McCloskey finally feels like things are setting into place in his personal life. He is able to spend more time with his befriends Stan and Moira, and things couldn’t be better between Eddie and his girlfriend Sumiko. But when the Federal Agents that Eddie worked with (and almost died with) in Oregon start calling him about another job, his life starts to shift yet again. Eddie travels with Agent Manetti to a secluded base where patients’ dreams are being monitored, especially those of a girl name Allison.  Allison is suspected to be some sort of an oracle. She has had vivid dreams of natural disasters and shootings, and so far, each one has come true. When Eddie arrives, he is shown the most recent of Allison’s dreams, a horrifying car accident and a sexual assault. Now Eddie and Agent Manetti are against the clock to stop these events from taking place, and to prove that this young girl isn’t an all-powerful God.

I cannot express how quickly I got through this book, it captivated me THAT much. When I read the blurb for this installment of this paranormal series, I knew I was going to be hooked. Anything centering around dreams instantly pulls me in, and the fact that author Evan Ronan decided to base one of his paranormal/mystery stories on them got me crazy excited. The Dream Machine basically centers around this top-secret base where these patients are undergoing dream studies. The doctors are able to WATCH the patients dreams on monitors, and run tests on them to see what influences or effects their dreams.

There are two special cases in this high-tech “dreaming facility”, Allison and an inmate named White. White is a career criminal and was able to complete part of his sentence by assisting these doctors in their dream study, mostly because White is able to lucid dream (where a person is aware they are dreaming and can control the dream). Allison is quite a different case, in that she is a young teenage girl who is thought to be having premonitions of the future. When Eddie enters the scene, Allison has already had two dreams come true, a storm and a shooting, and two more that are waiting to happen, a huge car accident and a sexual assault.

Now if you have read the precious books in this series, you will know that Eddie is a paranormal investigator. Most of the time when Eddie is called onto a case, it isn’t a ghost or paranormal entity disturbing someone, it’s usually something more plausible. But in Eddie’s previous investigations, he has learned that some things truly just can’t be explained. When Eddie begins watching the tapes of Allison’s dreams, his first instinct is to debunk the idea that Allison is an oracle or some type of god that can see into the future. I personally found this idea to be really different, especially in a series that focuses more on the reality aspect rather than fantasy.

I of course don’t want to give anything away, but WOAH. I was NOT expecting the story to go in the direction that it did. I am kicking myself for not seeing the connection between these characters, but I like that it surprised me…that is ALWAYS a welcome trait in a book. All in all, I was pretty impressed with The Dream Machine. I loved that it centered around lucid dreaming and the idea that predicting future events may be possible. Plus, there was an epic shoot out at the end of the book that would keep anyone hooked, as well as some great characters that return to the story. Once again guys, you NEED try this series out! You will be hooked on Eddie McCloskey and his travels, trust me on that.

4-stars

 

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Book Review: Unborn (The Birthright Theft Series Book 1) by Daniel Gage

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~ Buy through the links below ~

Amazon.com – Unborn (The Birthright Theft Series Book 1) by Daniel Gage

Goodreads.com – Unborn by Daniel Gage

Barnesandnoble.com – Unborn by Daniel Gage

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

Genre: Science-Fiction/Mystery/Suspense/Adult/YA

Plot:

“It’s nothing personal. You’re just part of the transaction.”

Cameron Briggs always wondered what the strange birthmark on his shoulder meant. For his entire life, it seemed he was never meant to be anything special, that is, until the day it happened. Something dormant inside of him awoke.

In the near future, birthright theft is on the rise, a vast network of dealers offering desperate buyers the chance to steal a more desirable next life. Their power and influence is absolute, with little standing in their way. However, unexpected anomalies in the process endow unique abilities to their victims who, once identified, are offered one chance – to save our world or destroy it, one Unborn child at a time.

With the truth shrouded in conspiracy, Emma Jennings, a troubled but strong-minded young agent with a defiant reputation, is determined to prove these crimes exist. But in order to accomplish her goal, she’ll need to find the one victim who can turn the tide of her war.

Opinion: OoOoOo yeah Sci-fi/Mystery lovers, I got a good one for you today! I have been waiting for a good book to get me out of my slump of multiple bad reviews, and here we are. This book has a “repo-man” feel to it, which was probably what got me so hooked on it. Imagine the chance to be able to switch your life for a better one; to start all over again, with the knowledge and experiences you have still being intact. Welcome to The Birthright Theft Series.

Birthright theft, the chance to turn your life of struggling and misery into something more. A chance to be born again to the child of a wealthy family, or perhaps even royalty, with every though and memory intact. The price? Just a small favor for the Dealers.

Emma Jennings has been working herself to the bone trying to catch Dealer X and his gang of birthright theft dealers, while also trying to prove that stealing one’s birthright is actually real. Countless showdowns and close calls in capturing Dealer X proves not enough, and Emma finds herself at risk of having her investigation shut down.  But then Emma finds herself a convict by the name of Cameron Briggs, who is also happens to be an unborn: a victim of birthright theft. Not only is Emma able to enlist the help of Cameron, but he proves to have an extraordinary ability that puts him on the same playing field as the dealers. Together Emma and Cameron work to take down Dealer X, all the while trying to save the birthright of a prominent royal family.

The idea for this story was ABSOLUTELY KILLER. I mean come on, being able to steal someone’s birthright with the memories of your other life still there? It’s like Repo-Man had a child with reincarnation, and out popped an epic series. As if that isn’t amazing enough, author Daniel Gage takes it farther by detailing what happens to the victims of having their birthright stolen. I assumed they would just be dead, right?. But NO! The victim, which they call an Unborn, is born an alternate life where literally EVERYTHING goes wrong for them. The two lives stay connected throughout their lifetimes, and as the Unborn experiences unfortunate events, the thief experiences wealth and riches. Honestly, the entire concept is extremely interesting. Though this might sound like a complicated concept for a story, the author is fantastic at making it easy for the reader to understand. I had no trouble keeping up, and the fluidity that this author has in their writing keeps the reader addicted and interested.

Let’s touch on characters Emma and Cameron. Emma is a tough, savvy, and career-oriented woman. She has a fierceness about her that I love, and her character never backs down from a fight. Emma’s life has been centering on catching Dealer X and his crew for some time now, and she keeps reaching dead ends. I liked that her character faced a TON of setbacks throughout this book, but she always pushed herself through it in order to complete what she started. Cameron has quite the opposite past, in comparison to Emma. He is a convict and is no stranger to setbacks and struggling in life. Cameron is also an Unborn, the victim of birthright theft. Though Cameron doesn’t know this until much later in the book, he begins to notice some changes in himself that he can’t explain. I really liked the character of Cameron, mostly because he had a good heart but was still a tough and rugged person. I think these characters work great together and show off two very different sets of people, and their chemistry is perfection.

For those of you who are looking for a hot little romance to go along with this creative story, you’re s**t out of luck. I kept thinking a steamy connection would be happening between our main characters, but NOPE. Honestly, it isn’t even needed. I have a hunch that these two will get together later in the series, but I am actually relieved that it didn’t happen in book 1. A romance would have just taken away from the main idea of this story, and that would have been a serious bummer. This book is amazing just how it is, so I wouldn’t change that for anything. One thing that I am on the fence about is how straightforward the writing is. What I mean is that the author gets straight to the point with everything, there isn’t an excess of fluff in sentences in paragraphs…which is great. But on the other hand, this would also be a great series to really pack the detail in. I think little bit more description and detail into some of the events would have only strengthened this story.

Though sci-fi based books have never been my main genre, I am loving that I am able to find some truly great ones. I just can’t get over how mind-blowing the idea for this story was, I’m addicted to it! I think the target audience for this series is probably adults, but I think a lot of young adult readers could really get into it. FINALLY a book I can write positively about! Great job Daniel Gage, you have gotten me out of my reading depression.

4-stars

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Book Review: Private (Book 1) by Kate Brian

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 ~ Buy through the links below ~

Amazon.com – Private (Private, Book 1) by Kate Brian

Goodreads.com – Private (Book 1) by Kate Brian

Barnesandnoble.com – Private (Book 1) by Kate Brian

Genre: Young Adult/Fiction

Plot: Tradition, Honor, Excellence…and secrets so dark they’re almost invisible

Fifteen-year-old Reed Brennan wins a scholarship to Easton Academy — the golden ticket away from her pill-popping mother and run-of-the-mill suburban life. But when she arrives on the beautiful, tradition-steeped campus of Easton, everyone is just a bit more sophisticated, a bit more gorgeous, and a lot wealthier than she ever thought possible. Reed realizes that even though she has been accepted to Easton, Easton has not accepted her. She feels like she’s on the outside, looking in.

Until she meets the Billings Girls.

They are the most beautiful, intelligent, and intensely confident girls on campus. And they know it. They hold all the power in a world where power is fleeting but means everything. Reed vows to do whatever it takes to be accepted into their inner circle.

Reed uses every part of herself — the good, the bad, the beautiful — to get closer to the Billings Girls. She quickly discovers that inside their secret parties and mountains of attitude, hanging in their designer clothing-packed closets the Billings Girls have skeletons. And they’ll do anything to keep their secrets private.

Opinion: OoOoOo…it’s starting to feel like high school again! I started reading this series when I was in high school, and my oh my was I HOOKED. I recently found this series again and figured I would relive the overly dramatic and pretentious characters that make up this wonderfully snooty tale. It’s the story we all know and love, a scholarship girl comes to a prestigious academy and chases after the rich and popular preps that inhabit it…and don’t forget the scandals!

Reed Brennan has just been accepted at Easton Academy on scholarship, and the chance to get away from her family couldn’t have come sooner. Coming from Pennsylvania and from a family that just barely makes it financially, Reed is about to enter a world where money and power is everything. Soon after her arrival at Easton, Reed comes face to face with the elite “Billing Girls” who have the entire campus wrapped around their fingers. Unfortunately for Reed, her first impression with the girls is anything but positive, and she finds herself in the firing range of the girls tormenting and dangerous requests. Determined to make a place for herself and enter Billings, Reed goes to extreme lengths to become accepted.

So let’s start with Reed, our wonderful main character. To me she feels…how shall I put this…desperate? I am constantly rolling my eyes at this girl for allowing this HORRIBLE girls to treat her like they do. They are VICIOUS. Though she did stick up for herself once or twice, the reader will constantly find her cowering down to Noelle and the rest of the Billings girls. Though when I do think back to what it was like in high school, I can understand her actions to a point. The need to be accepted among your peers, especially females, is crazy. Plus if Reed can infiltrate Billings, she will then have the world at her finger tips.

As Reed becomes consumed in the upscale lifestyle and mysterious Billing girls, she is also enraptured by the gorgeous Thomas. Thomas is surrounded by the popular crowd but it doesn’t take him long to start chasing after Reed. Thomas has a wonderful “bad boy” feeling about him, so it is no wonder that this is the first male character that us female readers will fall in love with. What becomes of their relationship is shocking, and this is where our story will truly pick up and start to become dark and twisted.

This series is PACKED with scandals and dirty little secrets. Think gossip girl, but at a boarding school where everyone just gossips to each other. Most of the characters in this story come from a lot of money and have family members that had previously attended Easton, making many of these characters “legacies”. With such money and power surrounding our main character Reed, it’s obvious that there is bound to be some trouble afoot. I guarantee that you guys will FLY though this Series. I am already on book 6 and I still can’t put these down. Though I would have LOVED to do a review of each book, which just doesn’t seem possible with how quickly I am devouring this series again.

4-stars

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Book Review: Ill Will by Dan Chaon

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~ Buy through the links below ~

Amazon.com – Ill Will: A Novel by Dan Chaon

Goodreads.com – Ill Will by Dan Chaon

BarnesandNoble.com – Ill Will by Dan Chaon

Disclaimer: This ARC copy was sent to me by the publisher, Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: Adult/Mature Adult/Mystery/Thriller

Plot:We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves.” This is one of the little mantras Dustin Tillman likes to share with his patients, and it’s meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie?

A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his forties when he hears the news: His adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago, Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustin’s parents, aunt, and uncle. The trial came to epitomize the 1980s hysteria over Satanic cults; despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning.

Meanwhile, one of Dustin’s patients has been plying him with stories of the drowning deaths of a string of drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses his patient’s suggestions that a serial killer is at work as paranoid thinking, but as the two embark on an amateur investigation, Dustin starts to believe that there’s more to the deaths than coincidence. Soon he becomes obsessed, crossing all professional boundaries—and putting his own family in harm’s way.

From one of today’s most renowned practitioners of literary suspense, Ill Will is an intimate thriller about the failures of memory and the perils of self-deception. In Dan Chaon’s nimble, chilling prose, the past looms over the present, turning each into a haunted place.

Opinion: WHEW! What a whirlwind that story was! After becoming introduced to The Girl on the Train, I have been in a frenzy trying to find similar books. I came across Ill Will on Netgalley and HAD to give it a go. Let me tell you readers, I have so many STRONG and INSANE emotions rushing through me right now…I barely know where to start! This book is like a bad mushroom trip that feels WAY too real.

Thirty years ago, Dustin and his cousins woke up to find their parents brutally murdered in their home. Already flushed with loss at a young age, a life sentence is handed down on Dustin’s adopted brother Rusty who is blamed for the crimes. Now years later with children of his own, Dustin works as a psychologist in Cleveland. Soon a call from Dustin’s cousin brings panic into his life, as he is told that Rusty’s sentence has been thrown out and he is being released. Now Dustin begins to reflect back on the night that changed his life forever, and whether he and his cousins were right about testifying against Rusty and blaming him for the murders. All the while, a staggering number of male college students being found dead is making headlines. Though the police call the strange occurrences “accidental drownings”, Dustin’s new patient feels otherwise and suspects foul play. Could there be a link to this madness, or is Dustin slowly falling down a rabbit hole?

This is a truly interesting and dark story. There are tons of misleading twists and shocking occurrences, and the characters are truly gritty. Dustin is our main character and the reader follows him as he relives moments from his past, while also dealing with his present. One day Dustin gets a call from his cousin who tells him that Rusty, his adopted brother and the person who took the fall for the murders, is being released from prison. He is told that new DNA results were discovered which proves that Rusty couldn’t have murdered his new family. This brings a panic into Dustin’s life because now he is unsure if Rusty was the culprit of the crime, or if he was just blamed because of the things he had done in his past.

As Dustin reflects on his past growing up with Rusty, I was…how should I say this…COMPLETELY f***ing disturbed. There is some SERIOUSLY dark and grimy things that go on between these boys. Rusty can be described as a tough and hardheaded boy at an early age, and grows into a metal loving hooligan that likes talking about satanic rituals and even goes as far as sacrificing small rabbits. Dustin is a young an impressionable boy, and sees Rusty as his knight in shining armor. He proves to be a more than gullible child, and will allow his mind to be overturned by suggestions and hints by his older cousins and Rusty. In each flashback that these characters take the reader in, we are given glimpses of each characters flaws as a child and reasons why they could or couldn’t have been the ones to murder their family.

Another huge part of this story is Dustin and his patient Aqil. Aqil is a former police officer who has more than an obsessive and compulsive personality. He becomes fascinated by the mass amounts of local drownings of college males, and brings it upon himself to start investigating. As Aqil attends sessions with Dustin, Dustin starts to get wrapped up in the ideas and theories that Aqil presents him. Soon he finds himself spending all of his time with Aqil and latched onto the idea that there is a murderer on the loose killing these boys. The end result for these murders is truly…SHOCKING. I was so blindsided when this portion of the story was SOMEWHAT answered. Yes, in this book you will find that the author likes to leave you guessing.

For me though, I think the ending is where this story really shines. At first I wasn’t too keen on the fact that the ending didn’t completely tie everything together. I ended the book and thought to myself WAIT, what happened?? As it has now been a few days since I have finished the book, I have a different feeling towards the ending. I actually enjoy the fact of where the author took it, because there are so many actual cases where things end up in that fashion. I think I have a pretty decent idea of what could have happened, and I think you guys will too if you give this read a go. But honestly, the best part is knowing that you have no idea what actually happened. So touché Dan Chaon, touché. All in all, I am only giving this 3 stars because this book took me a LONG time to get through and because I was rather uncomfortable for most of the read. I prefer a thriller that THRILLS me, not a story that makes my skin crawl and forces me to put it down. It is an interesting story, but I could have done without all the in-depth sexual scenes.

3-stars

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Book Review: Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Diversion Publishing, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: Teen/YA/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been able to see countdown clocks over everyone’s heads indicating how long before they will die. She can’t do anything about anyone else’s, nor can she do anything about her own, which will hit the zero hour before she even graduates high school.

A life cut short is tragic, but Ivy does her best to make the most of it. She struggles emotionally with her deep love for on-again, off-again boyfriend Myers Patripski. She struggles financially, working outside of school to help her mom and her sister. And she struggles to cope with the murder of her best friend, another life she couldn’t save. Vanessa Donovan was murdered in the woods, and everyone in town believes Ivy had something to do with it.

Then more girls start disappearing. Ivy tries to put her own life in order as she pieces together the truth of who ended Vanessa’s. To save lives, and for her own sanity.

The clock is always ticking. And Ivy’s only hope is to expose the truth before it runs out completely.

Opinion:

AHHHHH! THIS book! THIS FREAKING BOOK!

You are probably thinking to yourself Wow, WHAT about this book. WELL, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS BOOK! I have been searching high and low for a specific genre of story to read for WEEKS now. A story that will make my heart hurt and my stomach flip due to eloquent and depressing sentences. You know the kind of story I am talking about. The sort of tale that doesn’t just make you sorrowful, but a story that makes you MAKE yourself sorrowful because you don’t want to stop feeling what the characters feel.

Well, this story comes pretty close to that.

Call it a gift or a curse, but ever since Ivy was a child she knew when the people around her were going to die. The ability to see a countdown of each person’s remaining time over their heads has proved to be most difficult for Ivy, especially when her own death has been approaching quickly over the past few months. After the murder of her best friend, Ivy falls into a downward spiral as she realizes that she can’t save the people she loves. But the need to find out the truth about what happened begins to consume her, and soon Ivy finds herself on the trail to figuring out who the murderer is. As Ivy’s last weeks begin to draw near, she fights to live her final days instead of just watching them tick by.

I can’t express enough how much I loved the concept for this story. Ivy is forced to watch the people around her die as their life clock comes to an end, while feeling helpless the entire time because she has no way to save them. I felt like I had a truly strong connection to this character. She is a loner at school and made to feel like an outcast because of events from her past, but she has a snarky attitude and is quick to fire off amazing zingers. When first introduced to Ivy, the reader quickly learns that there is a sense that she has already given up in life. With the death of her best friend being so recent and her own clock only being a few months before ending, Ivy has an overwhelming sense of despair and sorrow engulfing her. She has nobody close to her that she can talk to, and her family is very distant and wrapped up in their own lives.

As the story progresses, Ivy starts to become obsessed with finding out who killed her friend and why. In regards to the mystery aspect of this story, I was pretty surprised to figure out who it was. I had about one or two main suspects that I thought had definitely done it, but I was pleasantly surprised to have been wrong. The point where this story starts to get truly heart wrenching, apart from the already depressing events, is when the reader learns about Myers. Myers is the ex-boyfriend of Ivy, and let’s just say that relationship ended horribly on a night when everything else shattered Ivy’s world. I found that this author EXCELS when she is describing a sorrowful or dark moment. Not many authors know how to capture a feeling in words, and I thought Kelsey Sutton did a great job of it. This story is riddled with amazing descriptions of sadness and regret, and I adored every single minute of it.

Even after he’s gone I let my fingers linger on the glass, until the cold creeps under my skin and into my bones. Maybe if it goes deep enough, it will numb everything.

As numb as death.”

-Ivy

Overall, this was a TRULY wonderful read. I was hooked the entire time and felt connected to the characters and the story throughout the read. I am excited to see what else this author has done. If her writing is as good as this in all of her stories, then she is going to become a favorite of mine quickly. I recommend his to all ages, but primarily Teen and YA readers. It has a strong message of finding acceptance and living your life to the fullest, which I think anyone can relate to.

4-5-stars

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