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The Lying Woods – Ashley Elston

The Lying Woods – Ashley ElstonTitle: The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston
Publishing Info: November 13, 2018 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: September 9, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Rules for Disappearing (The Rules for Disappearing #1), The Rules for Breaking (The Rules for Disappearing #2), This is Our Story

Owen Foster has never wanted for anything. Then his mother shows up at his elite New Orleans boarding school cradling a bombshell: his privileged life has been funded by stolen money. After using the family business, the single largest employer in his small Louisiana town, to embezzle millions and drain the employees' retirement accounts, Owen's father vanished without a trace, leaving Owen and his mother to deal with the fallout.

Owen returns to Lake Cane to finish his senior year, where people he can barely remember despise him for his father's crimes. It's bad enough dealing with muttered insults and glares, but when Owen and his mother receive increasingly frightening threats from someone out for revenge, he knows he must get to the bottom of what really happened at Louisiana Frac--and the cryptic note his father sent him at his boarding school days before disappearing.

Owen's only refuge is the sprawling, isolated pecan orchard he works at after school, owned by a man named Gus who has his own secrets--and in some ways seems to know Owen better than he knows himself. As Owen uncovers a terrible injustice that looms over the same Preacher Woods he's claimed as his own, he must face a shocking truth about his own past--and write a better future.

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I’ve been a fan of Ashley Elston’s since her debut novel, THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING and I’ve enjoyed every book of hers since then! I jumped at the chance to read and review THE LYING WOODS when Disney-Hyperion presented me with the opportunity and I really enjoyed it!

THE LYING WOODS was an interesting read! At first it read a little more realistic fiction than mystery/thriller, taking its time to get into the story. There was always and underlying mystery, slowly being put together, but I did feel like this one took a little bit longer to get more into the mystery and investigation side of things. It was an interesting change of pace and really allowed readers to spend more time getting to know the main characters and their backgrounds. The history is a big part of this book and was important to keep it developing.

The end was really packed with punches! There were some clues and the mystery along the way but it wasn’t really about investigating and discovering like a lot of mystery/thrillers are, so when reveals and twists started popping up, it was a huge surprise! I loved how fast-paced it got towards the end and it was really exciting! The ending was really interesting and I loved how it all came together. I love those moments where facts are presented and you realize you should have known them the whole time. It’s so much fun to look back and see all the things that were there the whole time!

I’m definitely interested in everything that Ashley Elston writes and THE LYING WOOD was another enjoyable novel! It was an interesting and unique mystery/thriller that had some elements that I didn’t expect!

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Various thriller styles. I feel like every Ashley Elston book has been a different style of mystery or thriller! Each book has a unique concept and pacing and THE LYING WOODS felt so unique!
Left Me Wanting More: Thrills. The end of the book was very exciting but I had wished there were a few more thrills in the beginning so it felt a little less realistic fiction and more mystery/thriller!

Addiction Rating
Read it

THE LYING WOODS was enjoyable, a quick read, and a great concept! I had a really great time reading it!

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BOOKS LIKE THE LYING WOODS

              

This is Our Story – Ashley Elston

This is Our Story – Ashley ElstonTitle: This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
Publishing Info: November 15, 2016 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: November 15, 2016
Related Posts: The Rules for Disappearing (The Rules for Disappearing #1), The Rules for Breaking (The Rules for Disappearing #2)

Five went in. Four came out.
No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.
Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the district attorney’s office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.
Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As investigates with Stone, the aging prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot, she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.

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I was so excited for a new book by Ashley Elston because I loved her debut duology THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING and THE RULES FOR BREAKING! I’m always looking for more YA mysteries and thrillers because there weren’t a lot for a very long time and the insurgence of them now is so exciting! When I heard about THIS IS OUR STORY, it immediately went on my list of books I added to get my hands on!

One thing I really loved about this book is how well it was set from a teenager’s perspective. I think the hardest thing about YA mysteries is making a believable reason for why a teen is involved in the case and why they wouldn’t go to an adult or the police. In the case of THIS IS OUR STORY, main character Kate works for the district attorney’s office (as does her mother) and she assists her boss by dictating and spotting details for him, as he has failing eyesight and isn’t ready to step down from his job yet. Kate acts as an extra pair of eyes for him throughout his investigation of the River Point Boys, a group of kids involved in the murder of one of their best friends. I really loved how well this concept worked because it allowed Kate to have access to the case and obtain more details than a normal kid or outsider.

The book was interesting from start to finish but I didn’t get quite as into the story as I had hoped. I’ve gotten sucked in to quite a few mystery/thrillers and I did enjoy the whole book but it wasn’t as gripping as some other books I’ve read. The story was still very well put-together and carefully crafted. Ashley Elston did a great job with the character relationships, keeping identities secret, and weaving in doubt and suspicion.

I would say her first books/series were my favorite so far but THIS IS OUR STORY was also a very solid read! I wished I had been able to get into it a bit more, but I’ve had such limited reading time lately and a lot going on that it could always be situational and not the book. It was a very good mystery still and I really did enjoy it! It didn’t stand out as much as I had hoped but a wonderfully solid book and one I’d recommend!

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Kept Me Hooked On: YA detectives. I always love mystery/thrillers but it’s hard to get teens on the scene in a realistic way. This was done really well and I loved how Kate got involved in the case!
Left Me Wanting More: Thrills. The book was great but I think I was missing just a few more thrills to really suck me in.

Addiction Rating
Read it

If you’re looking for more YA mysteries, THIS IS OUR STORY is a great one to pick up! It was pretty realistic and incorporated the story line well for the age and setting.

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BOOKS LIKE THIS IS OUR STORY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW    DANGEROUS BOYS

Blog Tour: This is Our Story | Book Scents

Blog Tour: This is Our Story | Book Scents

Welcome to the blog tour for
This is Our Story by Ashley Elston!

I’m so excited to share today’s blog post which is my blog your stop for THIS IS OUR STORY by Ashley Elston! I loved her debut duet and THIS IS OUR STORY was no exceptoin. I’ll post a review sometime later but for today’s blog tour stop, I’m talking about BOOK SCENTS! Thanks to Hannah from Irish Banana Blog Tours and Disney Hyperson for making this blog tour happen!

Before we jump into the tour, let’s take a second to check out some details about the book:

Blog Tour: This is Our Story | Book ScentsTitle: This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
Publishing Info: November 15, 2016 by Disney Hyperion
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: November 7, 2016
Related Posts: The Rules for Disappearing (The Rules for Disappearing #1), The Rules for Breaking (The Rules for Disappearing #2), This is Our Story

No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.
Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the District Attorney’s Office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.
Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she and Stone investigate—the ageing prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot—she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.


LINKS: Amazon | B&N

ABOUT ASHLEY ELSTON

ae

Ashley Elston lives is North Louisiana with her husband and three sons. She worked as a wedding and portrait photographer for ten years until she decided to pursue writing full time. Ashley is also a certified landscape horticulturist and loves digging in the dirt. Her debut novel, THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING, was published by Disney Hyperion in 2013 and the sequel, THE RULES FOR BREAKING, in 2014. Her latest novel, THIS IS OUR STORY, will be published on November 15, 2016.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

BOOK SCENTS: THIS IS OUR STORY

Ever since I started making candles, I’ve been so much more in tune with the sensory notes in the books that I read. I feel like aromas in a book are easily skipped over and forgotten once a reader has finished because noticing and committing a smell to memory is such a unique experience that it’s harder hang onto if you haven’t experienced it first hand. I know at least for me, when a book draws on a familiar smell, I’m instantly hit with memories and nostalgia that have the potential to tie me to a book more than any other scenic description so I feel like those smells that add to the atmosphere are not to be overlooked!

Drawing upon my newly heightened awareness, I’ve started keeping tracking of specific scents described in book and how they really paint an even more vivid picture for a reader! Today on Book Scents, I’m sharing some of my favorite aromas from THIS IS OUR STORY! They immediately had me thinking back on what fragrances I would use to mimic each experience and I’ve included each one below. (Now how do we make these posts scratch and sniff?)

The door to Rhino Coffee chimes when I push it open, and several people turn toward the entrance. The delicious aroma of coffee floats through the air; and indie rock station plays in the background.

I’m in my happy place.

Inspiration: Coffee shop
Fragrances: Freshly brewed coffee, hazelnut

When I’m done, I wander off, checking out the scene. There are families spread out on blankets and kids running around everywhere. The air is rich with sweet and tangy aromas and the smoke pouring out of the grills hovers just below the tree canopies. 

Inspiration: Barbecue feast
Fragrances: Crackling firewood, spices, outdoors, brown sugar

It’s absolutely beautiful here. Giant trees dot the landscape, but with the limbs bare, sun filters in through the space. The ground is covered with leaves that crunch with every step we take. Most are dead, but some still cling to their bright orange and yellow colors.

Inspiration: Fall forest
Fragrances: Fallen leaves, fresh air, outdoors, cedar wood

… by the time we get to the party at Max Oliver’s house, I’m exhausted. 

Thankfully, there’s a fire pit in the backyard, so Reagan and I make a dash to get a seat up close.

Inspiration: Bonfire
Fragrances: Campfire, crackling firewood, outdoors, cedar, driftwood

So what do you think?! Which scents do you think are the strongest sensory inspirations? Which are your favorites?


Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour stops for THIS IS OUR STORY!

GIVEAWAY

THREE lucky winners will receive a finished copy of THIS IS OUR STORY! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!!

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The Rules for Breaking (The Rules For Disappearing #2) – Ashley Elston

The Rules for Breaking (The Rules For Disappearing #2) – Ashley ElstonTitle: The Rules for Breaking (The Rules for Disappearing #2) by Ashley Elston
Publishing Info: May 20, 2014 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Gift
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 8, 2014
Related Posts: The Rules for Disappearing (The Rules for Disappearing #1), This is Our Story

    Anna Boyd almost lost her life to get what she wanted most in the world: freedom. But just when it seems that her family has finally escaped Witness Protection, the illusion that Anna could resume a normal life comes crashing down. The deadly man Anna knows as Thomas is still on the loose, and now he's using her as a pawn in a dangerous game with the drug cartel determined to silence her forever. When Thomas and a mysterious masked man capture not only Anna but also her fragile younger sister and her boyfriend, Anna decides it's time to break all the rules—even if it means teaming up with the lesser of two evils. Anna will do whatever it takes to protect the people she loves and win her life back once and for all. But her true enemies are hidden in plain sight. Before long, Anna will learn that putting her trust in anyone may be the last mistake she ever makes.

bookreview1

It’s no secret that I’ve been dying for more YA mystery/thrillers so I was really excited to pick up THE RULES FOR BREAKING and continue on with this exciting series from Ashley Elston! The details were a tiny bit foggy from when I had read the first book, in part because I wasn’t expecting there to be a second book as I was reading, but I was glad there were little bits of recaps sewn into the story to help refresh my memory!

This book was really exciting. I felt like the action was pretty well spaced throughout the book which was great! I feel like it’s hard to spread out a story and keep the pacing steady in mysteries or thrillers without going overboard on what exactly is happening but I felt like this book really just kept on going, and the surprises kept on coming! I felt like there were more twists and surprises in than in the first book (or maybe I just didn’t remember the details from book one) so that was really fun too! There were a few things I didn’t see coming and I really liked how they tied into events and characters from previous books as well.

I’m so glad that Ashley Elston kept Anna and Ethan together. I go through “second in a series syndrome” where I get irritated when characters who united in book one are split apart in book two or all of a sudden a new love interest is introduced so it’s so refreshing and really adds to my overall enjoyment of a series as a whole when an author can really expound on what’s already been established in the first book and just really make that story line grow. My only “complaint” is that I didn’t swoon for Ethan as much in this book because of all of the crazy events that were going on, but I felt a bit like Anna did — how you have all the little butterflies as you’re falling for someone and then the butterflies are maybe not as constant but deeper feelings grow. That’s really how I felt about the characters. My feelings for them grew and I was really happy to see more of them and to see them grow as well.

I really enjoyed the story and a lot of it felt like it really could happen, which is pretty scary to think about! I had a great time reading it and it was a really enjoyable read for me all around. It always had me guessing, never sure what to expect and that layer of mistrust is still there — I was still never sure who to trust!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Anna // Character Obsessions: Protecting Teeny, avoiding Thomas, staying alive.
I felt like I really got to know Anna better in this book! It was interesting to be able to get more of her past because as much as we got to know her current situation in the first book, I really got to know her personality and who she was before the program and her insane situation. I really admired her determination in this book as well.
Ethan // Character Obsessions: Protecting Anna, family.
I wished I had seen more of the romantic side of Ethan like I had in the first book, but it was much harder with everything these two kids had going on. I didn’t get to see as much of his personality in this book, but I did see a different side of him. He was much more protective and I really liked how fiercely protective he was of Anna and his family.

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Kept Me Hooked On: YA thrillers. HOORAY for YA thrillers! AND duologies. I loved the action and all of the suspense from this book. I was definitely on the edge of my seat and I felt like the pacing was really great!
Left Me Wanting More: Romance. Usually I’m always good with the romance or there’s too much, but I’m not usually asking for more. I think because there were so many high pressure situations and we were already past the “meeting & falling for each other” stage, so even though Anna and Ethan still had great chemistry and they had bigger things to focus on then romantic butterflies!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I really enjoyed both of these books and I’m a big fan of YA mysteries and thrillers. A great couple of books from Ashley Elston!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

       Shadowlands     Paper Valentine

The Rules For Disappearing Blog Tour | Review & Playlist

Welcome to the blog tour for
THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING by ASHLEY ELSTON!

A huge thanks to Disney-Hyperion, Shane from Itching for Books, and of course author Ashley Elston for organizing everything! I’m helping kick off the blog tour with my review for THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING as well as a playlist I’ve put together for the book. The book releases TODAY so I’m guessing most of you haven’t read it, so I’m really excited to share my review an even more excited to share my playlist! Our main character (alias: Meg) heavily relies on music and her iPod to sort of block out the world in the first part of the book in order to keep her distance from the other kids so although I didn’t know it when I chose it, the playlist turned out to be selection for the tour!

The Rules For Disappearing Blog Tour | Review & PlaylistTitle: The Rules for Disappearing (The Rules for Disappearing #1) by Ashley Elston
Publishing Info: May 14, 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 11, 2013
Related Posts: The Rules for Breaking (The Rules for Disappearing #2), This is Our Story

    She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.
Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.
But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Elston lives is North Louisiana with her husband, three sons and two cats. She worked as a wedding and portrait photographer for ten years until she decided to pursue writing full time. Ashley is also a licensed Landscape Horticulturist and helps her husband run a commercial lawn and landscaping business. They also custom harvest pecans and have cows. Yes, cows.

ashleyelston.com | twitter.com/ashley_elston

bookreview1

I can honestly say that I was intrigued by THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING since the first page. Witness protection program? Yes, please! I mean, wait…. I just want to READ about it. In no way do I want to go through what our main character Meg had to. We first meet Meg as she and her family are getting pulled from her current location and it’s clear that life in the Witness Protection program has been no picnic. Meg, her father, her mother, and her younger sister known as “Teeny” all have some serious issues from hiding out, being on the run, and constantly moving. Their family dynamic was heartbreaking to see, but it seemed entirely realistic for the situation that they were in. My heart went out to them the whole book and I really felt like I connected with each one of them on such a personal level.

The concept for this book is so incredibly unnerving, but that tension kept me on my toes the whole book! Honestly, I would probably constantly be breaking down like Teeny if I had to watch my back my entire life, constantly remember these new identities, and constantly be ripped away from the new friends and “normal” life I once had. There were some really interesting plot twists that kept the pacing of THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING feeling like a thriller/mystery which was something exciting to see in the world of YA! I feel like mysteries are often wrapped in dystopians or paranormals and the thrillers are wrapped in horror so for me as a former mystery-lover, it was exciting to see this book stand more in the category of thriller/mystery without complicating the plot by throwing in a paranormal element or anything like that.

Despite Meg’s original plan to shut out everyone to protect herself, she meets Ethan. ETHAN!! Oh, how I loved Ethan in this book. He’s a nice country boy and NOT the jock (which I’m always happy for because I was never a jock person myself). He was so patient and sweet with Meg throughout this book and it absolutely made my heart melt. I loved the way their relationship developed and there were several times I was just like, “Ohhh, Ethan. I love you.” One thing that really did me in was that since Ethan worked on the farm, he had rough hands “like a man’s”. I may be biased because my boyfriend is a welder/fabricator and is always getting his hands into one project or another, but that totally made me appreciate Ethan even more. He was sturdy and strong and I totally fell for him!

The PLOT TWISTS! There were twists!! One I was totally shocked by and the other I could see coming but that didn’t take away from the fact that it was a wicked twist. The first twist totally surprised me and my literal reaction was “WHAT!?!” It was intense and really made the book that much better!

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Meg: I really felt for Meg. And her family. She seemed to be the one person in her family who was still managing to somewhat keep it together (well, her dad was too). She managed to come up with her own rules for disappearing and yet had the typical teenage desires like friends, clubs, and of course, boys. I really connected with her through most of the book!
Ethan: Oh, Ethan. I totally felt the swoon-factor. He was so sweet and so nice and doesn’t hurt that he was so cute too! The way he treated Meg was adorable and I absolutely loved his presence in the story.
Pearl: Pearl was a surprisingly bold character for me in this book. At first, I hadn’t expected much of her, but I loved her tough exterior with a soft heart. She turned out to be really important to the book in many ways and I loved seeing that from her!

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     Shadowlands      Nantucket Blue

PLAYLIST

I’m also really excited to share with you the playlist that I’ve made for the blog tour. I LOVE making playlists and something that’s really important to me when making them is what I guess you could call “playability”. I like my playlists/soundtracks to be able to transition smoothly from one song into the next, creating a soundtrack you can listen to all the way through… Only problem is, the one song I feel is perfectly aligned with the feelings of this book is such an oddball choice for a playlist that I feel like I need to put it separately.
I really love musical and show tunes, so when I was driving the other day and “Home” from the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack came on, I realized that nearly every word of this song fits for Meg in THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING. It’s all about leaving home from somewhere unpleasant, feeling alone, and feeling like even going back home wouldn’t solve everything. I HAD to include it, even if not as an official part of the playlist.


1. “Keep the Car Running” – The Arcade Fire

Lyrics: “Every night my dream’s the same
Same old city with a different name
Men are coming to take me away
I don’t know why but I know I can’t stay”
Context: Being taken from one location to the next by the suits


2. “Misguided Ghosts” – Paramore

Lyrics: “‘Cause I’m just one of those ghosts
Traveling endlessly
Don’t need no roads
In fact they follow me”
Context: Meg “traveling endlessly” and always feeling the ghosts of her former identities and friends she left behind


3. “That’s Not My Name” – The Ting Tings

Context: I just had to include this one because we find out in the book that one of the songs Meg is listening to on her iPod was The Ting Tings… Could it have been “That’s Not My Name?” Pun intended!?! I got a kick out of it!


4. “Your Fake Name is Good Enough For Me” – Iron and Wine

Lyrics: “Your fake name is not for everyone, good enough for me
Forgotten by the garden and your phone is ringing
Bet you’re watching all the happy kids kiss each other clean
They were singing something, maybe they were singing”
Context: Fake names, missing out on what all the “normal kids” are doing


5. “Stubborn Love” – The Lumineers

Lyrics: It‘s better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The opposite of love‘s indifference
So pay attention now, I‘m standing on your porch screaming out
And I wont leave until you come downstairs”
Context: Meg wanting to be attached to Ethan but knowing she shouldn’t/Ethan’s willingness to help Meg and refusal to desert her

Okay, that’ll wrap it up for my stop on THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING blog tour! Hope you had fun with my playlist and review! THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING is on sale today so you can go ahead and pick up your copy any time! Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a copy of THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING for yourself!

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