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    THE TRAITOR’S GAME by Jennifer A. Nielsen Blog Tour Review

    I am super excited to be a part of THE TRAITOR’S GAME Blog Tour and to be sharing my review post on its release day.

    Yes, the wait is finally over for Jennifer A. Nielsen‘s THE TRAITOR’S GAME, so if you’ve been dying to read this first book in the new series you’ll be able to grab a copy today!

    If you haven’t yet heard of this new release – which is seriously, seriously, awesome – all sorts of info is below, along with a link to an excerpt. And if you’d like to join to conversation to talk about what you think about Kestra and Simon and all that happens, join the conversation on social media using #TheTraitorsGame.

    Of course if you want to know why it’s called THE TRAITOR’S GAME or discover the meaning behind the tagline – Motives Will Shift. Secrets Will Emerge. – you’ll have to dive in to find out.


    About THE TRAITOR’S GAME

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    Title & Series: THE TRAITOR’S GAME (The Traitor’s Game #1)
    Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
    Release date: February 27, 2018
    Publisher: Scholastic Press
    Pages: 400
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT

    Description…

    Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well—and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.

    The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what—and who—it is they’re fighting for.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | SERIES WEBSITEGOODREADS

    NOTE: This review is based on an eARC and ARC received by the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A finished Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


    The Review

    THE TRAITOR’S GAME is instantly and completely riveting, immeasurably intriguing, and filled to the brim with action, deception, secrets, lies, betrayal, and heartbreak. The dual POV both reveals and teases. The world is elaborate and interesting and dangerous and thrilling. The characters are captivating, mysterious, challenging, defiant, and a bit untrustworthy. The story grips and twists and surprises and leads to a phenomenally astonishing ending that hints at just some of the amazingness to come in the sequel.

    Kestra knew the Dallisors had enemies. With her father willing to do Lord Endrick’s bidding, there were bound to be those who despised her family. She just never imagined how many or who she’d have to protect herself against. And she never thought a time would come when she could be coerced into helping them.

    Simon took an oath to stand with those looking to take back the throne, those seeking to defeat Lord Endrick. The rage he felt toward Kestra Dallisor for her betrayal was just fuel on a fire already burning. He never imagined his allegiance would be questioned or that he’d be the one to question it. He never dreamed he might one day have to protect the person he hated most in the world.

    Jennifer Nielsen went so far above and beyond with this first book in her new series. Her world and characters stand out – corrupting magic, remarkable and deadly creatures and weapons, an alluring myth, exciting and treacherous and conniving friends and foes. The plot is electrifying and jam-packed with harrowing chases, lethal assaults, intricate plans, difficult choices, shaky alliances, unanticipated outcomes, devastating losses. The pace is fast, the writing suspenseful and engaging and detailed, and the ending worth every nail-biting moment leading up to it.

    If you like your heroines fierce, your heroes protective, their loyalties divided, their missions complex, their motivations hidden, their lives full of secrets, THE TRAITOR’S GAME is an absolute must.

    The Rating

    Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.


    The Trailer


    Praise

    About Jennifer A. Nielsen

    Jennifer A. Nielsen is the acclaimed author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Ascendance Trilogy: The False Prince, The Runaway King, and The Shadow Throne. She also wrote the New York Times bestselling Mark of the Thief trilogy: Mark of the Thief, Rise of the Wolf, and Wrath of the Storm; the standalone fantasy The Scourge; the historical thriller A Night Divided; the second book in the Horizon series, Deadzone; and Book Six of the Infinity Ring series, Behind Enemy Lines; and The Traitor’s Game, the first book in a series of the same name.

    Jennifer lives in northern Utah with her husband, their three children, and a perpetually muddy dog.

    WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

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    Review: THE DARK CALLING by Kresley Cole

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    Title & Series: THE DARK CALLING (The Arcana Chronicles #6)
    Author: Kresley Cole
    Release date: February 13, 2018
    Publisher: Valkyrie Press
    Pages: 350
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook

    The Description…

    New intrigues, adventures, and stunning revelations fill the penultimate installment of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s electrifying Arcana Chronicles.

    In a world teetering on the edge . . .

    When Evie receives life-changing—and possibly game-changing—news, she has trouble believing it. Why doesn’t she feel any different? Is it possible someone she trusts might be lying?

    With enemies at every turn . . .

    Tensions seethe inside the castle of lost time as Evie starts to doubt her own sanity. Answers can be found outside their stronghold, but will Death help her find them—or prevent her from learning the truth about her future and Jack’s possible survival?

    Darkness beckons. 

    A mysterious, sinister power begins to affect the Arcana in its path. Forced out into the wasteland alone, Evie must depend on unexpected allies. But as a battle with Richter looms, can her new alliance defeat the Dark Calling before hell reigns on earth?

    AMAZON HC | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | THE ARCANA CHRONICLES | GOODREADS

    Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the author’s publicist in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


    The Review

    Unexpected. Heartbreaking. Shocking. Surprising. Intense. Amazing. Game-changer. THE DARK CALLING will make jaws drop – many, many times. It promises twists that are astonishing, unforeseen, exciting, fascinating, epic. A new player is revealed. A few players make their exit. Others make their power plays. And several players struggle just to survive.

    With the game nearing its end, the post-Flash world is falling even further into ruin, causing some cards to weaken – from hunger, from loss of power, from madness. The Fool continues to make moves, pushing players toward an outcome he has not yet revealed. The final card makes itself known with devastating consequences. Plans and alliances have to be reassessed. And the Empress will have far more to deal with then she could ever have imagined.

    With food supplies running low, and desperation growing among those that remain in the Ash, the safest place for Evie is with Death. But when his home turns from haven to danger zone, she’ll have to take her chances with the slavers, baggers, and others not in her alliance. Players like Richter and Zara.

    Unable to tap into the strongest of her powers, in mourning and stunned by the turns of events that made her go on the run, out of contact with Matthew, and unsure about what comes next, she’ll have to trust in the tenuous alliance she has with a card she defeated in the past, find a way to reach an ally she does trust with her life, keep ahead of those in pursuit, find food that doesn’t involve cannibalism, and learn how to defeat her newest nemesis.

    Kresley Cole is a master at keeping the thrill, the heat, the heartache alive well into a series – and she brought that mastery to this installment in spades. It is nail-bitingly suspenseful. There are a multitude of surprises. There are tragic, heart-rending losses. There is enough romance in a single kiss to more than satisfy.

    The game continues on toward its seemingly inevitable, cataclysmic conclusion. But how it will end remains a mystery. Who the victor will be has yet to be divulged. Whose alliances will hold is undetermined. Who will even be capable of fighting in the final installment is unknown. And whether Evie will give herself over to the Red Witch is still uncertain. All of which guarantee a gripping and wildly entertaining read with the promise of an even more extraordinary, astounding, breathtaking series conclusion.

    THE DARK CALLING is exceptional, riveting, unpredictable, unforgettable, must-devour, and well worth the wait. Those who have been looking for answers will finally have them. Those who can’t get enough of the Empress’s complicated love life will be satiated. Those looking for an edge-of-your-seat page-turner will be perched precariously on the very edge of their seats, flying through every single page. And those not looking to be left on the edge of a cliff at the story’s end will be over-the-moon happy, but just as eagerly awaiting the next installment as if they were.

    The Rating

    Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.


    About the Author

    Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Gamemakers series, and five award-winning historical romances.

    A master’s grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings.

    Her IAD books have been translated into 23 foreign languages, garnered 3 RITA awards, a Hall of Fame induction, and consistently appear on the bestseller lists, in the U.S. and abroad.

    Cole lives in Florida with her family.

    WEBSITE | TWITTER | TUMBLR | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS


    Other Books in the Series

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    Review: WINNER TAKE ALL by Laurie Devore

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    Title: WINNER TAKE ALL
    Author: Laurie Devore
    Release date: January 30, 2018
    Publisher: Imprint
    Pages: 336
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT

    Descripton…

    For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win.
    For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game.
    They both have everything to lose.

    Nell wants to succeed at everything—school, sports, life. And victory is sweeter when it means beating Jackson Hart, the rich, privileged, undisputed king of Cedar Woods Prep Academy. Yet no matter how hard she tries, Jackson is somehow one step ahead. They’re a match made in hell, but opposites do attract.

    Drawn to each other by their rivalry, Nell and Jackson fall into a whirlwind romance that consumes everything in their lives. But when a devastating secret exposes their relationship as just another game, how far will Nell go to win?

    Visceral and whip-smart, Laurie Devore’s Winner Take All paints an unflinching portrait of obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | MACMILLAN | GOODREADS

    NOTE: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


    The Review

    There is a lot to love about Laurie Devore’s WINNER TAKE ALL. It is an exciting, emotional roller coaster of a read. It sheds light on a number of issues – the disparity between the rich and those less fortunate and between women and men, boys and girls. It shows how striving to be the best is not always a good thing, and can cause one to lose sight of who they are and what’s really important. It has a strong, if flawed, heroine. And it has romance, and humor, and drama, and heartbreak.

    Nell Becker wants to be the best. And she would be if Jackson Hart weren’t standing in her way. With his looks, his charm, his money, and his gender, everything comes easy to him. Which only makes Nell want to beat him all the more.

    But in order to win she will have to do whatever it takes. Even if it means playing dirty and becoming someone she never thought she could be. And she will have to decide whether her reputation, her friendships, her health and her heart are worth destroying if that’s what it means to defeat her nemesis.

    Author Laurie Devore packed a lot into her novel of rivalry gone awry. It wasn’t just a fiery but toxic romance. It wasn’t simply a story of secrets, lies, betrayal. There was much food for thought about economic and gender inequality, hypocrisy, infidelity, alcoholism, obsession, competition.

    And while many of these issues were woven seamlessly into the story, there were a few instances where they felt inorganic or heavy-handed and it became more about the issue than the characters or the story itself.

    The most interesting, intriguing, maddening, fascinating part of the story was the author’s choice of heroine. Nell is not the most likable of characters – to put it mildly – and isn’t the most obvious choice to be a paragon. At times her behavior is downright appalling. She’s driven, ultra competitive, judgmental, selfish, stubborn, reckless and arrogant. But she is strong – her mistakes and failures do not make her pitiable or turn her into a victim. She goes after what she wants – even if a bit too ruthlessly. She’s a fighter. And she does, eventually, learn from her mistakes – which, for some, might be too late for her to earn her redemption.

    Whether you champion Nell or despise her, WINNER TAKE ALL is a compelling, thoroughly entertaining, and emotionally-charged read that sparks and sizzles and will keep readers riveted.

    The Rating

    A note about the cover: I have some major cover love for WINNER TAKE ALL – and not just because I did notice exactly which match is raised.


    About Laurie Devore

    Laurie Devore was born and raised in small town South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University. She now lives and works in Chicago, where she misses the charms and contradictions of the south every day. In her spare time, she reluctantly runs marathons, watches too much TV, and works a “y’all” into every conversation. She is the author of How to Break a Boy.

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    Midnight Tales Tour:

    Happy release day to Leigh Bardugo’s THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic!!! While my Kindle eCopy has downloaded, this beautiful book is one I plan on picking up in print and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    To help celebrate its release, as part of the Midnight Tales Tour, I’ve chosen to share just why I love fairy tales and folklore. (I’d tried my hand at writing a short fairy tale but it was not something fit to post, especially as it was more akin to the grimmest of Grimm’s fairy tales.)

    Why I Love Fairy Tales and Folklore

    Ever since I was a little girl I loved fairy tales. The darker and more fantastical the better. Which is why I’d read The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales multiple times before I even reached an age that involved double digits. And which is why I’m so excited to read Leigh Bardugo’s THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS.

    As a child – and still today – I loved being transported into faraway imaginary lands, where problems got solved in just a few pages, and justice was (almost) always served. I loved the idea of kingdoms and princes and princesses and magic. I loved the strangeness of the beings, the impossibility of the situations, and the wonder each short story brought.

    Today I still love the escape these stories provide. But I love the hidden complexities that many have, that I didn’t realize when I was young. I love the stories behind the tales that speak to the time they were written, the audience they were written for, and the true purpose many of the stories held.

    The Grishaverse offers all sorts of magical powers, and many faraway imaginary lands to explore. And this storybook collection promises incredible illustrations to enhance the reading experience. While I haven’t yet read any of the six stories this book contains, I imagine they will be every bit as enchanting as the full length novels, but will offer that lovely and quick resolution of a fairy tale.

    I also imagine this will be every bit as darkly captivating as my favorite stories by the Grimm brothers. So if I were to have opted to create a list of my top ten fairy/folk tales after reading THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS, I can bet there would be at least one of the Midnight Tales on my list.


    About THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS

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    Title: THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
    Author: Leigh Bardugo
    Release date: September 26, 2017
    Publisher: Imprint
    Pages: 288
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT

    Description…

    Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

    Inspired by myth, fairy taleand folklore, #1 New York Timesbestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

    Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

    This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | FIERCE READS | MACMILLAN | GOODREADS


    About Leigh Bardugo

    Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times–bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over one million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, and The Language of Thorns—with more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including Some of the Best from Tor.com and The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Ninth House. Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and even makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

    WEBSITE | TWITTER | TUMBLR | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | MACMILLAN | PINTEREST | GOODREADS


    About Sara Kipin

    Illustrator Sara Kipin is best known for her fantasy works portraying strong, self-empowered, feminine characters. Her style is inspired by early animation and romantic paintings. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art and currently lives in Burbank, California.

    WEBSITE | TWITTER | TUMBLR | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

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    THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE Theories About the Killer + #Giveaway

    I am super stoked to help spread the word about Stephanie Perkins’ upcoming THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE by sharing my theories about the killer after having read the 151 page Advanced Partial Review Copy.

    I am also thrilled to be able to share a Rafflecopter provided by the publisher so that YOU can enter to win a partial review copy – which ends in a place that will have you DYING (no pun intended) to read the last half of this book.

    My theories aren’t intended to be spoiler-y, however they do reveal some of what’s happened so far. So if you want to skip them so you can be completely in the dark when you read the book, just scroll down to the giveaway.

    But first, here’s some information about this AWESOME book!

    Add to Goodreads

    Title: THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE
    Author: Stephanie Perkins
    Release date: September 26, 2017
    Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 304
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT

    Description…

    It’s been almost a year since Makani Young came to live with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska, and she’s still adjusting to her new life. And still haunted by her past in Hawaii.

    Then, one by one, the students of her small town high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, Makani will be forced to confront her own dark secrets.

    Stephanie Perkins, bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss, returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE | GOODREADS


    Theories About the Killer

    It is so much harder to guess “whodunit” when the book is written by an author that hasn’t had a history of writing thriller/horror novels. You don’t yet know their tells. And you don’t know what type of mystery killer(s) they like.

    Will it be the most obvious person? (Ollie) Will it be the least? (Brooke, Grandma Young) Will it be a team (à la Scream)? (Alex and Darby) Will it be someone we as readers know? (Makani) Or will it be someone we haven’t even “met”? (David, Kevin, Emily, Jesse)

    So many possibilities….

    There were several characters introduced in the first half of the book that could be the killer. Motive has not yet been firmly established but a pattern is beginning to emerge.

    I am ruling out all the adults, because I think I’d be just so disturbed if it was Grandma Young, Coach Hooker, Chris Larsson, Ms. Colfax.

    The obvious choice would be Ollie – he’s a loner-type, he fits the physical description of the killer, he has possible motive, his whereabouts during the murders isn’t revealed, he has access to all sorts of information about his classmates. But I just don’t think it’s him.

    Another obvious-to-me choice would be the Greeley boy – loves the media attention, attention from his peers, perhaps a bit too overzealous about religion. But from what was revealed so far, I haven’t added him to my suspects list.

    I desperately want/wanted the killer to be Makani – the main character. She has a dark secret in her past that has yet to be revealed. Her grandma suffers from sleepwalking – which can be inherited. It’s always more fun when the MC is not who you think they are. But the author made it a point to reveal that she’s curvy on more than one occasion and that the killer is slim. So, without more, I’m ruling her out… for now.

    So…

    I am choosing Alex, Makani’s friend, who we know next to nothing about. She’s slim. She wears boots (a boot print was found – though that could be a setup). While she seems devastated about the death of one of the murdered, she is way too quick to put forth theories about the other deaths and cast suspicion on Ollie. She knows each of the victims. And she was radio silent during a time when it seems she should have responded. So, for now, I’m going with her. Because she’s not the obvious choice.

    Of course I’d love if it were a team and Darby (another friend) was somehow involved. But, unless I missed a clue or two, there doesn’t seem to be anything that links Darby to the crimes.

    Right now, though, I don’t even care. Gah! I am so desperate to find out who it is. Even if I’m totally off-base. Just six weeks to go… counting down….


    About Stephanie Perkins

    Photo Credit: Destinee Blau

    Hi, there! I’m Stephanie Perkins, and I’m a New York Times and international bestselling author of books for teenagers and for adults with teenage hearts. I was born in South Carolina, raised in Arizona, and I attended universities in California and Georgia. Since 2004, I’ve lived in the mountains of North Carolina.

    I’ve always worked with books—first as a bookseller, then as a librarian, now as a novelist and editor. My best friend is my husband Jarrod. Every room of our house is painted a different color of the rainbow, and we share it with a feisty cat named Mr. Tumnus.

    WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | 8TRACKS | GOODREADS


    The Giveaway

    Penguin Random House is giving away a bunch of copies of the Advanced PARTIAL of THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE. You can enter in the publisher-provided Rafflecopter below.

    The Rules

    NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between August 9, 2017 and August 31, 2017. Open to US residents, 13 and older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. See Official Rules at http://bit.ly/2vP4Jgg for full details.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Review: BAD GIRL GONE

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    Title: BAD GIRL GONE
    Author: Temple Mathews
    Release date: August 8, 2017
    Publisher: A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Griffin
    Pages: 272
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Description…

    Sixteen year-old Echo Stone awakens in a cold sweat in a dark room, having no idea where she is or how she got there. But she soon finds out she’s in Middle House, an orphanage filled with mysteriously troubled kids.

    There’s just one problem: she’s not an orphan. Her parents are very much alive.

    She explains this to everyone, but no one will listen. After befriending a sympathetic (and handsome) boy, Echo is able to escape Middle House and rush home, only to discover it sealed off by crime scene tape and covered in the evidence of a terrible and violent crime. As Echo grapples with this world-shattering information, she spots her parents driving by and rushes to flag them down. Standing in the middle of street, waving her arms to get their attention, her parents’ car drives right through her.

    She was right. Her parents are alive—but she’s not.

    She’s a ghost, just like all the other denizens of Middle House. Desperate to somehow get her life back and reconnect with her still-alive boyfriend, Echo embarks on a quest to solve her own murder. As the list of suspects grows, the quest evolves into a journey of self-discovery in which she learns she wasn’t quite the girl she thought she was. In a twist of fate, she’s presented with one last chance to reclaim her life and must make a decision which will either haunt her or bless her forever.­­­­

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | MACMILLAN | GOODREADS

    NOTE: This review is based on an eARC via NetGalley received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.


    The Review

    BAD GIRL GONE is a a paranormal murder mystery where the ghosts are the detectives serving up justice and revenge. It’s the story of a girl who must come to grips with what happened to her, discover what kind of person she really was and what kind of person she wants to be, and find out who is to blame for her demise.

    It is a story with an interesting premise – ghostly sleuths trapped in a sort of purgatory who must solve their murders in order to move on – but suffers from a number of problems with its execution, making for a read that is at times fun and entertaining and at others difficult to stay connected to.

    Echo Stone thought she was a nice person, well-liked, a perfect girlfriend. But her murder revealed that she might not have been exactly who she thought she was. Even Andy, the love of her life, had suspicions about her.

    With no idea who could have wanted her dead, she’ll have to find a way to fill the gaps in her memory in order to solve her murder and exact vengeance. And she’ll need help from the other residents of Middle House to do so. Including the pranksters, the bully, and the boy who seems determined to win her heart.

    At under 300 pages, BAD GIRL GONE is a quick read, although the beginning dragged somewhat due to a bit too much telling and not enough showing. While the character was in the dark about her circumstances, the reader wasn’t, and so Echo’s slow recall of who she was and her discovery of where she was, told in staccato bursts of thoughts and actions, didn’t have the intended impact. But once Echo became aware of what was going on, the pace picked up and the story became easier to engage with.

    The murder mystery offered up several suspects and Echo’s actions made many of them real possibilities, keeping readers in suspense for quite some time about the who and the why. The other inhabitants of Middle House with stories of their own added excitement, even if some deviations felt unnecessary to the plot. And the choices Echo was forced to make at the story’s end turned her from a not very likable character into someone with whom readers could sympathize.

    But there wasn’t enough detail or depth to make Echo a truly likable character. And with some rather odd and unrealistic phrasing the author used for her thoughts and dialogue, it was a challenge to relate to her.

    Another detractor was the romance between Echo and Cole, which felt forced and didn’t flow with the story as it developed. Echo’s struggle with her undying love for her boyfriend and her growing feelings for Cole wasn’t sufficiently established to make it believable. There was also a bit more language used in BAD GIRL GONE than is typical in YA novels, as well as some off-putting behavior by most of the adult male characters introduced, making the read uncomfortable at times.

    The strengths of this story lie in its mystery, its concept, and its conclusion. There are also moments that are achingly sad and those that are hopelessly sweet. But its uneven pace and flow, lack of depth and development, and inconsistent voice, make for a read that doesn’t quite live up to all that it promised.

    The Rating


    About Temple Mathews

    Photo credit: Matt Misisco

    TEMPLE MATHEWS is an author and screenwriter with several films to his credit, including Disney’s Return to Neverland, The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea, and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas. He wrote Aloha Scooby Doo for Warner Brothers and Picture This for MGM. He is also the author of the The New Kid trilogy.

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    Review: WITCHTOWN

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    Title: WITCHTOWN
    Author: Cory Putman Oakes
    Release date: July 18, 2017
    Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 320
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Description…

    When sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth.

    But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye.

    Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown.

    Secrets have their own power.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS

    NOTE: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle copy was purchased for my collection.


    The Review

    WITCHTOWN is a fun, engaging and lightning-fast read that offers a touch of romance, an ethical dilemma, a devious scheme, a cantankerous poltergeist, and a girl with secrets. While there are moments that are sad, dark, and bittersweet, it is predominantly a light, humor-filled, and satisfyingly sweet story that can easily be devoured in one sitting.

    After a lifetime of moving from place to place, and leaving behind the only boy she ever cared about, Macie was hopeful that Witchtown would be a place she and her mother could finally call home. But Aubra had other ideas.

    The exclusive, witch-only haven was supposed to be the wealthiest haven in the country and Aubra was not about to settle down when the possibility of a huge score existed. With Macie’s help, her plan to rob the town would ensure they’d be set for life. And if Macie wasn’t willing to do her part? Aubra had no problem doing whatever it took to make sure she was.

    Cory Putman Oakes imagined a world where witches live openly, but are largely confined to havens as they are seen as a threat. She gave a few of her witches incredible powers, but most have lesser abilities, and a few have none. She set her story in a haven beleaguered from within and without. And she introduced characters who ranged from kind and helpful to mischievous and curmudgeonly to intriguing and secretive to self-centered and vile.

    Her heroine, Macie O’Sullivan, is likable and sympathetic. Raised by a mother who puts her own interests first and last, Macie’s sense of right and wrong is skewed. And when she’s finally in a position to make her own choices she’s confused, conflicted, and frightened, and doesn’t always choose right. But she is still worth rooting for.

    Equal parts delightful and addictive, WITCHTOWN promises to keep readers hooked as they uncover Macie and Aubra’s secrets, discover the truth about potential love interest Kellen and about potential bff Talya, ferret out what’s really going on with the ghost that’s taken up residence in the Depot, learn more about all that is Witchtown, and find out which witch will end up a winner.

    The Rating


    About the Author

    Cory Putman Oakes was born in Basel, Switzerland, but grew up in Novato, California and attended Marin Catholic High School. She then spent three fantastic years at the University of California at Los Angeles before graduating in 2001 with a B.A. in Psychology. In 2004, Cory graduated from Cornell Law School with a Juris Doctorate Degree and her husband, Mark (the first was the intended consequence of attending the school, the second was a bonus). Since then, she has been an associate at a big law firm, taught business law to undergraduates at Texas State University and written several books for young people.

    Cory now lives in Austin, Texas with Mark and their two kids. In addition to writing, Cory enjoys reading, cooking, running, and hanging out with her family and pets.

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