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The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us #3) – Maggie Hall

The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us #3) – Maggie HallTitle: The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us #3) by Maggie Hall
Publishing Info: July 18, 2017 by Penguin, Listening Library
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 20, 2017
Related Posts: The Conspiracy of Us (The Conspiracy of Us #1), Map of Fates (The Conspiracy of Us #2)

The Circle is hers. But Avery West has lost everything else: her mother, the family she’d just found, and the one boy she trusted. In their place are unfathomable power, a staged relationship that makes her question every real feeling she’s ever had, and a mission to find the cure to the virus that’s made her own blood a weapon.

Then disaster strikes, turning Avery, Stellan, Jack, and Elodie into the most wanted people in the world. To clear their names and the growing rift between the families of the Circle before the world dissolves into World War Three, they’ll have to make a desperate, dangerous final race for Alexander the Great’s tomb. What they will find inside will mean the world’s salvation—or destruction.

Avery will have to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice—for the world, for family, and for love—in this conclusion to the Conspiracy of Us series.

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That was such a solid ending of this series, and done just right, I think! I often times worry with series-enders because it’s so hard to wrap things up. I think THE ENDS OF THE WORLD was just the right amount of action, romance, resolution, devastation, and consequences all rolled into a solid conclusion.

I listened to the first two books back-to-back on audio and I almost wish I had waited until this book was out so I could have binged all three because I always forget a little bit from the previous books, so I did have a tiny bit of a gap in remembering exactly what happened! Fortunately it wasn’t a lot since I read them not TOO long ago, but it still did affect my reading experience just a tiny bit. What I really did love is that Maggie Hall kept all of her characters true to themselves. They really grew throughout the series and their decisions were normal and logical for everything that they had been through. Avery is a very different person from the beginning of the series and I loved how she said it herself — she’s definitely not the same but her experiences changed her and she grew from them. I really loved how the characters evolved but really stayed true to their personalities and beliefs. It happens all too often that things start to really stray from the first book by the time you hit the last book so I’m so happy that Maggie Hall kept a very cohesive feel to this series all around!

Being the last in the series, obviously things had to take some dire turns before they could wrap up! I really liked the amount of danger present in this book and the sacrifices that were made. It wasn’t always easy to read but everything resolved really well, I think, and it was a satisfying ending without being too cheesy. I loved the extra few sentences that stated that even though it was a positive final result, everyone had still gone through so much and it would take a long time for everyone to be okay, if ever. It really put that into perspective that these characters went through some STUFF and it’s not all fluff and cotton candy after it was all over. They have a long road ahead of working to put things back into place, sorting out a lot of political stuff, and working on relationships as well. It was great to see some reality brought into a happy ending while still feeling a little gooey about it.

Without talking about any spoilers, the plot did take a turn that I wasn’t so crazy about? Not bad in any way but I guess you could say it that was one step further that took things into more of a jump outside of reality that I just didn’t know if I could wrap my brain around it. It wasn’t paranormal or fantastical or anything like that but it was an added element to the story that really affected the plot and I was just like of like HMMM. How do I feel about this? I think it took one step past the international espionage and added almost a mild sci-fi element? Ugh, it’s hard to explain without giving things away but anyway, that was my one very small hang-up, and totally a personal opinion.

Overall, I LOVED this series and I love international thrillers like this! There aren’t a lot of really good YA espionage/modern political novels like this (I guess for lack of a better term, a sort of Da Vinci Code concept) and I would love to see more of this in the YA world! I’d absolutely pick it up. No matter what Maggie Hall is writing next, I am totally on board! I loved the details that went into this series, the feel and atmosphere were fantastic, the characters were strong, and the whole series stayed true to itself. Highly recommend and can’t wait to read more from Maggie Hall, whatever that may be!

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Kept Me Hooked On: International thrillers. I hate having to compare every international thriller like this to THE DAVINCI CODE so I’m gonna make a reference to this series from now on! We need more books like this!
Left Me Wanting More: Reality? It was fun but I also felt like the plot went a little too outside of my comfort zone to wrap things up. I understand where it was heading but I also wasn’t the biggest fan. I think I want more thriller less… mythology I guess.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This series is so well done. I love these characters, the locations, and the action!

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     THE FIXER     HEIST SOCIETY

Blog Tour: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins | Book-Inspired Candle + Giveaway!

Blog Tour: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins | Book-Inspired Candle + Giveaway!

Welcome to the blog tour for
THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE by Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie Perkins is one of my favorite authors and I’m so obsessed with ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS! I was so excited to read THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE, which is the very first Stephanie Perkins book (aside from short stories) outside of the Anna-verse! I don’t normally read horror but I do enjoy books exactly like this — a little mystery, a little thriller, and pretty much a 90s slasher movie! I’m way too chicken to read scary horror but I do love the thriller murder-mystery!

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

Blog Tour: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins | Book-Inspired Candle + Giveaway!Title: There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Publishing Info: September 26, 2017 by Penguin
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Horror
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 9, 2017
Related Posts: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After, My True Love Gave To Me

Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

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


ABOUT STEPHANIE PERKINS

Stephanie Perkins is the New York Times bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss. She has always worked with books—first as a bookseller, then as a librarian, and now as a novelist. Stephanie lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her husband. Every room of their house is painted a different color of the rainbow.

BOOK-INSPIRED CANDLE: THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

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!

I usually try to pick out specific scent descriptions in books, but when you’re reading a murder mystery like THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE, so many of those scents tend to be… unpleasant haha! But not to worry — there was still plenty more to choose from even if they weren’t specifically mentioned.

THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE takes place in the fall, specifically around Halloween, and fall scents are my FAVORITE scents. The book also takes place in the cornfields of the midwest, so there are a lot of outdoors, fields, and corn inspirations to draw upon. The overall feel of this candle is Halloween in the midwest, with delicious fall spices cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, a touch of softer harvest fruits, fallen leaves, hay, and grain. It’s a lovely overall combination and I had so much fun making this candle for the book and one of my favorite authors!

FRAGRANCE PROFILE: 

Top notes: cinnamon, clove, nutmeg
Middle notes: fallen leaves, hay
Base notes: harvest fruits, grain

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 THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE! I’m smack in the middle so make sure you check out the posts that are already up and follow along with the rest of these amazing posts!

Week One:
September 18 – Mostly YA Lit – Author Q&A
September 19 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Review
September 20 – Peace Love Books – Review
September 21 – Lost in Lit – Book Photography
September 22 – Novel Novice – How You’re Going to Feel While Reading TSIYH
 
Week Two:
September 25 – Stories & Sweeties – Review
September 26 – In Wonderland – Book Photography
September 27 – Book Addict’s Guide – Bookish Candle
September 28 – YA Romantics – Horror Movie Quiz
September 29 – Twirling Pages – Author Q&A
 
Week Three:
October 2 – Adventures of a Book Junkie – 5 Reasons to Read TSIYH
October 3 – Oh the Book Feels – Review
October 4 – Andi’s ABCs – Author Q&A
October 5 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Event Recap
October 6 – YA Bibliophile – Top Fall Activities as Inspired by TSIYH
 
Week Four:
October 9 – ButterMyBooks – Author Q&A
October 10 – BookCrushin – Top 10 Horror Villains in Movies & YA
October 11 – The Wednesday Blog for Books – Review      
October 12 – Swoony Boys Podcast – Dream Casting
October 13 – Don’t Fold the Page – Review

GIVEAWAY

There are TWO exciting giveaways for my stop on the blog tour today! The first is through Penguin for a chance to win a copy of the book! See rules and details below and enter the first Rafflecopter form for you chance to win!

BOOK GIVEAWAY (from Penguin)

Enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) winners to receive a hardcover copy of There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. (ARV: $17.99 each).
 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on September 18, 2017 and 12:00 AM on October 16, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about October 18, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CANDLE GIVEAWAY (from me)

The second giveaway is my own personal contribution to this blog tour stop for the candle inspired by this book! The candle giveaway is for one 4oz tin called “In the Killing Fields”. Open to US entries only. Must be 13 years of age or older to win. Candle giveaway open from 9/27/17 through 10/3/17 . Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Smaller Evil – Stephanie Kuehn

The Smaller Evil – Stephanie KuehnTitle: The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn
Publishing Info: August 2, 2016 by Penguin
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 28, 2016

17-year-old Arman Dukoff is struggling with severe anxiety and a history of self-loathing when he arrives at an expensive self-help retreat in the remote hills of Big Sur. He’s taken a huge risk—and two-thousand dollars from his meth-head stepfather—for a chance to "evolve," as Beau, the retreat leader, says.
Beau is complicated. A father figure? A cult leader? A con man? Arman's not sure, but more than anyone he's ever met, Beau makes Arman feel something other than what he usually feels—worthless.
The retreat compound is secluded in coastal California mountains among towering redwoods, and when the iron gates close behind him, Arman believes for a moment that he can get better. But the program is a blur of jargon, bizarre rituals, and incomprehensible encounters with a beautiful girl. Arman is certain he's failing everything. But Beau disagrees; he thinks Arman has a bright future—though he never says at what.
And then, in an instant Arman can't believe or totally recall, Beau is gone. Suicide? Or murder? Arman was the only witness and now the compound is getting tense. And maybe dangerous.
As the mysteries and paradoxes multiply and the hints become accusations, Arman must rely on the person he's always trusted the least: himself.

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I actually received THE SMALLER EVIL to review in two forms — a hardcover from Penguin and an audiobook from The Listening Library. Since I’ve been slow to read my physical forms, I quickly started up the audio in the hopes of a fast and fierce thriller that would keep me on the edge of my seat! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from THE SMALLER EVIL but the book was surely unique from my usual reads.

I’ve heard that Stephanie Kuehn incorporates an interesting, twisty side to her novels and that was definitely true for THE SMALLER EVIL. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, though. I tend to go into books (mostly) blind and usually this enhances my reading experience but sometimes the books catch me by surprise. THE SMALLER EVIL caught me a little by surprise since I didn’t realize exactly what the plot entailed. This was definitely more of a cult-feel although the group that Arman becomes involved with is never really blatantly called a cult (though it is speculated later in Arman’s stream of consciousness) but that’s what I’m calling it and the atmosphere was just … weird. I have a hard time with cults and too many times I just wanted to shake these people like, “What are you thinking??” I think it’s just something that’s hard for me to read about and doesn’t make for the most exciting topic since it’s frustrating!

There were several moments in the book that I thought didn’t need to be as extreme as they were — from random sexual encounters to moments of panic to character details — there were a few things that were just over the top that I didn’t quite buy into. This was my first book of Stephanie Kuehn’s and I was hoping I’d love that dark and twisty feel but this was not the way I expected it to come out. I was hoping for more psychological thriller that messed with my head and instead I was mostly just confused. It was thrilling and the book did mess with me a little bit but then things quickly fizzled out again once they got twisty. I was excited for a massive twist but it didn’t quite happen.

The ending was mostly disappointing. Some things were wrapped up but mostly I felt like I didn’t know why this whole thing happened. Yes, Arman grew and learned from this experience but why this experience? Why a cult? The things that were grandiose weren’t the things that I wanted to be large and then the places I hoped for something big to happen, it just didn’t. I felt like there were missed opportunities and the story just really didn’t quite come together for me.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Source: Received for review from Listening Library
Narrator: Ryan Gessel
Performance: Pretty decent but I didn’t really fall in love

This was the first narration I’ve heard from Ryan Gessel and it was a good performance. Nothing outstanding, not one of my favorites, but it was a solid narration and his voice was very pleasant to listen to but I didn’t feel like he got a lot of emotion into the book. His narration was kind of flat so I wasn’t super engaged but it wasn’t enough that I got bored. I probably wouldn’t actively seek out books that he narrates but I’d definitely be up for another one if it was a book I wanted to read! view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a 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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Kept Me Hooked On: Fast-paced thrillers. I kind of love when books are short and to the point. It’s exciting to see a book that’s shorter and doesn’t need to be filled with extra stuff just to fill the pages. I loved that THE SMALLER EVIL was a very quick read!
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. I didn’t feel like this book connected. One moment things were starting to make sense and then it was back to confusion, but not in the way that I normally like thrilers. I like to be confused but in a sense that a twist has gotten me. I was mostly just feeling like this book was all over the place and I had no idea how it came togehter.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

I wouldn’t outright recommend it but I also wouldn’t say entirely skip it. I think if you see elements of the book that you might enjoy and you like this atmosphere, it’s worth the shot. If you’re hesitant, I’d say maybe skip it.

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BOOKS LIKE THE SMALLER EVIL

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    underneath everything

Dual Review: The Conspiracy of Us & Map of Fates by Maggie Hall

Dual Review: The Conspiracy of Us & Map of Fates by Maggie HallTitle: The Conspiracy of Us (The Conspiracy of Us #1) by Maggie Hall
Publishing Info: January 13, 2015 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 14, 2016
Related Posts: The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us #3)

Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family--but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she's falling in love with.

Dual Review: The Conspiracy of Us & Map of Fates by Maggie HallTitle: Map of Fates (The Conspiracy of Us #2) by Maggie Hall
Publishing Info: March 8, 2016 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 13, 2016
Related Posts: The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us #3)

Two weeks. 


That’s how long it took for Avery West’s ordinary life to change forever: In two weeks, she discovered she was heiress to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, learned her mother was taken hostage by the Circle’s enemies, and fell for a boy she’s not allowed to love, just as she found out another was her unwelcome destiny. 


Now, Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle, setting her mom and herself free before it’s too late. By her side are both the boys: Jack—steady, loyal, and determined to help her even at the expense of his own duty—and Stellan, whose connection to Avery grows stronger by the day despite her best intentions, making her question what she believes at every turn.

But at the end of a desperate hunt from the islands of Greece to the red carpet at Cannes comes a discovery that not only changes everything, but could bring the whole world to its knees. And now Avery is forced to face the truth: in the world of the Circle, no one is what they seem.

I ended up reading THE CONSPIRACY OF US and MAP OF FATES almost back-to-back because I just enjoyed these books so much! Since I waited a little while to write my review, the two end up blending together a little bit in terms of plot (as in, I remember everything that happened but I don’t want to accidentally include book two’s plot in my review of book one), I decided to review them both together! I was going to to hold my review to include the last book in the trilogy but it doesn’t come out until 2017 sooo that’s a bit too long to wait!

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If you’re in the mood for a political thriller, Maggie Hall’s books are what you need! I grabbed the first book on audio (I think on sale? I don’t remember how I grabbed it) and I’m so glad I did! The books span more than just politics but that’s probably the best broad category for them. Think of it as a sort of DAVINCI CODE type book! Family connections and secrets, international escapades, money, prestige, honor, history, and more, THE CONSPIRACY OF US and MAP OF FATES had me totally hooked.

I really enjoyed Avery’s character quite a lot. I think one thing I like about YA novels is that the main characters just sort of roll with whatever situation presents itself because teens can be so open-minded and willing to accept something wild. Sure, the same things could happen to adults but I like the ease of jumping into the plot and that’s exactly what Avery does! The books waste no time setting up the plot and introducing readers to Avery’s new destiny as an important part of the most powerful families in all of the world. I loved the surprises that constantly shook things up and Avery really handled everything realistically and quite well!

The mystery and intrigue is definitely my favorite part of this series. It’s so much fun to see authors relate history to fiction and I love that it sort of opens the doors to all of the “what if”s about where some historical descendants might be today. You start to wonder if secret societies and powerful families like the ones in these books are really possible because who knows? If they’re that secret, we would never know, and I think that’s a really cool concept. There are some slow mysteries and quick surprises and the way everything layers together is really fantastic. There’s always something new to discover and Maggie Hall does a great job of keeping her characters (and readers) on their toes!

Another favorite part of mine was the romance. Without giving things away, there is a sort of a love triangle in the book but it’s so well-handled that it doesn’t feel like a triangle at all. Avery has a complicated relationship with two of her new acquaintances and I really appreciated both guys in her life. One is a sweeping romance with epic gestures, protectiveness, education, and security. Another is full of banter, stubbornness, and tension but also has quite a different outcome. It’s hard to talk about it without giving things away but let’s say I have a favorite and things REALLY heat up with him in book two!

The only bad thing I’ve run into now is that I have to wait for the last book! Book three doesn’t come out until 2017 and I’m just dying to read it. I sort of binged these back-to-back and I wish I could have hopped right into the third book! It’s a world that I easily got lost in and I had so much fun with all of the characters, the clues, and the exciting international scenery. If you’re looking for a new international thriller, you have to read these books!

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Kept me hooked on: Secret Societies. Who doesn’t want to read about secret societies!? It’s not something you see too much of in books and I just love all the secrecy, mysteries, and connections!
Left me wanting more: Details. I just wanted a little bit more on the Union once there were a few reveals about it… but I’m guessing that’s what book three will be for too!

Addiction Rating
Read them!

Gah, these books are so good. They were just what I was looking for when I started and I just couldn’t get enough! I love the complicated relationships and everything that those entail (familial, platonic, and romantic).

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     THE FIXER     HEIST SOCIETY

The Darkest Corners – Kara Thomas

The Darkest Corners – Kara ThomasTitle: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
Publishing Info: April 20, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 20, 2016
Related Posts: Little Monsters

The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.
There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.
Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.
Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.
But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.
Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

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I’m pretty big on mysteries and thrillers so when I saw all of the buzz on THE DARKEST CORNERS, I knew I had to read it! I ended up making it my next read when I received an audio copy to review from The Listening Library! There was so much buzz on this being the next big thriller that I was both excited and hesitant as I dove in! It’s always hard when there’s a lot of hype for a book but whatever the outcome, I was definitely curious.

I liked Tessa right off the bat. Not in a conventional way but I appreciated what she was going through and I thought that although I wasn’t really ever in her shoes, she had an interesting story and I could appreciate the decisions that she was making, however hard. I liked that her character remained in a sort of gray area. She was always a character I was rooting for to succeed in solving a mystery and find peace but I was always unsure whether she really was somehow involved in the happenings in Fayette and then later in the story, exactly how she affected the turn of events. She wasn’t quite an unreliable narrator but there were definitely pieces of her story and reactions towards other people that had me questioning whether she was totally innocent or what really was lying further underneath the surface.

There is a lot more to THE DARKEST CORNERS than meets the eye. I won’t give anything away, of course, but like any good mystery/thriller, there are some interesting reveals at the end that really bring the book into a different light and I had that moment where I go back and re-look at everything with the new-found information. It wasn’t something that totally shocked me but it was an interesting twist! A small issue I had with the book was that there were pieces of it that added to the mystery but didn’t quite seem totally relevant to the overall picture. The mystery was one piece and the thrill was another piece and they did overlap but it wasn’t quite that click where they both fit together so satisfyingly! It was still quite enjoyable but I would have loved for everything to really come full circle and totally connect in every way… But I do realize that things don’t always work out like that! That’s more of a personal preference that a critique.

THE DARKEST CORNERS was entertaining and yet not quite as thrilling as I had hoped it would be. It’s so hard to live up to a large amount of hype (which there was for this book) but I’d love to read more from Kara Thomas and I’d be excited to see if she has any other thrillers in store for readers!

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Source: Review copy obtained from Listening Library/Penguin Random House Audio
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Performance: Good. Not a favorite narrator but one I’d listen to on multiple occasions. I don’t think I’d seek her out but I’d still be drawn to books she narrates.

I like Jorjeana Marie! I’m actually listening to another book she narrates right now and I love how differently she’s portraying the two characters (this being a mystery and new book being a contemporary). Her narration didn’t bowl me over but it was entertaining from start to finish. I feel like I could have used a little more personality from her but I like her voice and it’s quite pleasant to listen to. I think it’s realistic as a teen voice and still maintains a maturity as well.
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“The View from Goodreads” is a 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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Kept Me Hooked On: Small town thrillers. I don’t know why but I love the feel of small town thrillers. I guess it’s more twisty and interesting when people you actually know could be involved versus just strangers!
Left Me Wanting More: Twists. I’m greedy. I love twisty twists. It’s so hard to read thrillers sometimes because I’ve read some damn good twists and I never know if I want something that’s straight-forward or if I want to be totally surprised. There’s not a ton that you can do to really surprise a reader, especially if they’ve read so many books in the same genre!

Addiction Rating
Read it

I really enjoyed THE DARKEST CORNERS! It wasn’t a total shock at the end but there were some definitely interesting twists and it was an enjoyable read from start to finish!

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BOOKS LIKE THE DARKEST CORNERS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW    VANISHING GIRLS

The Detour – S. A. Bodeen

The Detour – S. A. BodeenTitle: The Detour by S. A. Bodeen
Publishing Info: October 6, 2015 by Macmillan
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 13, 2015
Related Posts: The Detour

On her way to a writer’s conference, a bestselling teenage author takes a detour that has been deliberately set up by her biggest fans—a mother and daughter who kidnap her.
Livvy Flynn is a big deal—she’s a New York Times-bestselling author whose YA fiction has sold all over the world. She’s rich, she’s famous, she’s gorgeous, and she’s full of herself.
When she’s invited to an A-list writer’s conference, she decides to accept so she can have some time to herself. She’s on a tight deadline for her next book, and she has no intention of socializing with the other industry people at the conference.
And then she hits the detour. Before she knows it, her brand new car is wrecked, she’s hurt, and she’s tied to a bed in a nondescript shack in the middle of nowhere. A woman and her apparently manic daughter have kidnapped her. And they have no intention of letting her go.

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There’s good news and bad news to this review: the bad news is that it was supposed to be a video review but when I went to go edit it, I found out that the video was very choppy and frozen in several spots while the audio played on. The good news is that it wasn’t a flattering angle of me anyway but more importantly, the audio was salvageable. I supposed my first video review isn’t a horrible flop and we just have to roll with the punches! You’ll just have to listen and be without the image of my smiling face. Lesson learned and hopefully you’ll have a new video from me sometime in the future!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a 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!

the detour gr updates

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Livvy // Character Obsessions: Writing, her boyfriend, escaping.
As stated in my review, I really liked that Livvy wasn’t really a likable person at first and the book showed that she has many different sides. There’s a reason why she’s so guarded and at times she is still a bit shallow but I think she does a lot of growing up. She got everything she wanted when she was just a teenager and she still is a teenager so it’s constant growing and adjustment.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Quick thrillers. I appreciated that this book was just over 200 pages! I felt like I was constantly tearing through it to see how it all ended and it was nice to wrap up the mystery so quickly.
Left Me Wanting More: Personality. Woo boy, those kidnappers were creepy. I almost wish I had learned a bit more about them and a bit more about Livvy too. The reader does learn a lot of Livvy’s story but I would have loved to see a bit more personality from everyone.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

If you like thrillers, I think this one’s worth the read! It was quick, fun, and had me on the edge of my seat.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE DETOUR

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW     THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING

Dangerous Girls – Abigail Haas

Dangerous Girls – Abigail HaasTitle: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
Publishing Info: July 16, 2013 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 28, 2014

    It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.
    But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.
    Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone could ever imagine...

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I’ve been meaning to read DANGEROUS GIRLS for a long time. Ever since I got approved on Edelweiss (sorry for not reading it sooner, Simon Teen!), I was excited for a new YA mystery because I so rarely see YA mysteries much less read really great ones. After hearing so much praise from people like Estelle and Stormy, I knew I wouldn’t be steered wrong by reading this book. The time was finally right when I was off to BEA and I had a huge chunk of time to read in the airport and on the plane and thank goodness all you lovely blogger friends told me to pick a time where I didn’t have to put the book down because I read it straight through, cover to cover.

DANGEROUS GIRLS was the perfect YA mystery/thriller. Even with the glowing recommendations, I was still afraid of the fact that it happened over spring break and it was going to end up silly or very 90s slasher flick, but it was not at all. The book felt incredibly realistic, like I could personally be accused in the same way that Anna was after her best friend was mysteriously murdered on what was supposed to be the perfect spring break trip. I was SO happy to see exactly how realistic everything was and the book never once felt hokey or silly. It was very serious, very intense, and I was very nervous! The best way to describe the book is a situation like Amanda Knox or the case of Natalee Holloway — Anna gets caught in the accusation of murdering her best friend on their spring break in the Caribbean and she has to go through questioning, trials, and time in prison until the final verdict is made. It was a very frightening situation and my stomach was in knots the whole book!

The writing was just brilliant. This is how mystery/thrillers should be written. I honestly, until the VERY VERY end, did not know what was going on. I didn’t know who was responsible. I didn’t know what details were accurate. I didn’t know who was lying. I didn’t know who was involved. It was SO interesting and I really did just race through the whole book, dying to know. My attention was honestly held the entire time. Don’t worry — the answers are all revealed and the result is… Well, it’s quite surprising! I won’t say a single word more because it’s something you should really honestly read for yourself because the experience is so much better that way, but I will say that I’m glad I didn’t really read into reviews before I read the book because although I’m sure they wouldn’t give away the ending to a mystery, it was better to be completely in the dark and really feel like I was in Anna’s shoes to get the maximum experience out of the book. Trust me — this is one you’ll want to go into as blind as possible because it makes everything that much more exciting and that much more surprising!

I can’t believe I had doubts after all of those amazing reviews and tweets raving about how everyone needs to read this book right now because they were all incredibly true! This is a book I’d recommend to just about anyone and it really was not only one of the best YA mysteries I’ve read but one of the best books this year. It was such a fantastic read so if you’re at all interested in mysteries, thrillers, or crime dramas (or just good books), pick this one up ASAP and like was suggested to me, make sure you have enough time to read this one straight through because you won’t want to put it down!

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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!

Dangerous Girls - Abigal Haas

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Anna // Character Obsessions: Freedom, innocence, Elise, Tate. 
I felt so incredibly bad for Anna. I cannot even IMAGINE being accused of murdering my best friend, losing trust from my family and friends, and being locked up in a prison in a foreign country. I mean, OMG. That’s so incredibly scary. I admired her determination to really fight for her freedom. I really don’t know what I would do in that situation… Obviously I wouldn’t lie down and just take the blame and stay locked up in prison forever, but that’s a LONG HARD struggle and I don’t know how well I would hold up! There’s also so much more to her than meets the eye and it’s really interesting to read the whole book — flashbacks included — and see exactly how that shaped her life.
Tate // Character Obsessions: Fun, school, friends, a clean reputation.
Tate was the “golden boy” and also Anna’s boyfriend, but really he was just an average guy. Well, the average guy with rich parents who are grooming him to become a politician. Needless to say after this even and being involved in a murder scandal, he may not be running for office anymore. But Tate was all over the place for me — in a good way. I went from trusting him to being suspicious of him to being hurt by him to feeling sorry for him. His involvement in the story was so interesting! Another piece of the puzzle to really go back and just read the book all over again to know what you do and see how his past really affected everything that happened.

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Kept Me Hooked On: YA mysteries. THIS is the YA mystery you want to read. Or maybe don’t start with it because it will ruin you for all other books. Not even mysteries. Just other books in general. It was SO good and so well put together. THIS is what mysteries should be like, regardless of age.
Left Me Wanting More: Resolution. The reader does find out how everything ends, but I also wanted just the TINIEST bit more at the end. I understand what happened and why but after the reveal I just wanted a SMIDGE more detail to really sort of round it out.

Addiction Rating
Buy it. Read it. RIGHT NOW.

The fangirling about this book is absolutely accurate. I had a serious book hangover from the book. It sat in my head the rest of the day (and the day after) and I needed to just think about it for a while before I picked up anything else! You probably want to read this book ASAP. Do yourself that favor! So really… Go buy it… Right now.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE DANGEROUS GIRLS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       Shadowlands kate brian   Paper Valentine brenna yovanoff

Killer Instinct – S.E. Green

Killer Instinct – S.E. GreenTitle: Killer Instinct by S.E. Green
Publishing Info: May 6, 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 20, 2014

    She’s not evil, but she has certain... urges.
    Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. Afterschool job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.
    Why? Because she might be one herself.
    Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.
    And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return... in parts.
    When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim...

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Sometimes I have a craving for a dark story. I admit that I actually never finished watching Dexter due to lack of premium channels and time (you know, reading takes priority!) and I actually only read the first book in the actual Dexter series on which the show was based because I had seen the show already and it was spot on with the events of the first book. That left things to be a bit anticlimactic and repetitive. Anyway, Dexter confessions aside, of course I was excited to hear about this new book called KILLER INSTINCT which was being described as a YA Dexter-type. Exciting, right? Well, I was very anxious to dive in to a dark, creepy, and possibly horrifying book but what I read was all together disappointing.

I’ve come off worse with disappointing books but the weird thing was that it wasn’t lack misleading advertisement that lead me to be let down by KILLER INSTINCT — it was the fact that it lived up to be exactly what it was advertised as. YA Dexter. A little too closely. Yes, yes, I understand that there are only so many ways you can really write a story from a serial killer(or in this case, an individual considering becoming a serial killer)’s point of view. My issue was that there seemed to be entirely too many direct parallels that I spotted to DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER (book one in the series) and season 1 of the TV show. If you’ve seen the show (which is probably more liking than having read the book, so it seems), you can probably spot the parallels pretty easily as well. I counted no less than four things that happened EXACTLY and there were several smaller things that lined up as well. I won’t mention them in the review in case you haven’t seen the TV show and want to read the book because they will come as a surprise — I would actually imagine this book would go much better for people who aren’t fans of the show because things may be much more surprising and entertaining. It just felt entirely unoriginal and I felt like the author could have done a better job coming up with some more dynamic scenes that didn’t follow so closely to the Dexter story line.

I’ve seen several reviews that complain about lack of connection to Lane’s character (she would be our wannabe serial killer in question) but really, that didn’t bother me. I took Lane for who she was — a girl with a darkness inside of her which often goes hand-in-hand with a lack of emotional presence in her day-to-day life. Yes, sometimes she was very awkward, but I took that social ineptitude as part of her personality as well as her different mental state. There were some very weird moments (one in particular that I can’t believe I’ve read in two different YA books, but okay), but Lane doesn’t always really think the same way that other people do and I think her lack of emotional connection to most people creates a general sense of apathy both in her personal feelings as well as how her narration would genuinely come across.

I hate to compare to other reviews and I know this will be the second time I’m doing it, but it’s a point that didn’t bother me for the same reason and I feel the need to bring it up — slut shaming. I really don’t even like the term “slut shaming”, personally, but obviously I understand people’s averse reaction to it and I noticed complaints of slut shaming in this book. Lane’s younger sister (I think she’s fifteen?) is very promiscuous and Lane actually calls her a slut in the book. This didn’t really bother me since I was in Lane’s mindset and already felt a sort of closed-off mentality towards the emotions of others and how thoughts and statements like that really affect people. I’m not making excuses for it, but merely looking at it feeling like, “Yeah, okay, I can get why if she’s thinking about killing people and making a habit of it, she probably doesn’t care about calling her sister who she doesn’t even get along with a slut.” Take that as you will, but I was not as offended by it seeing as I felt it was true to her character. Although I will say that I don’t know why her sister’s promiscuity even needed to be a part of the book. It was a bit explicit and that along with a couple other sexually explicit scenes seemed unnecessary to include. Granted, a book about a serial killer will already be geared toward and older teenage audience versus the younger groups, but even still, seemed to take things up a notch into more adult elements than young adult.

All that being said… Well, I don’t have any clearer of an opinion about this book. I’m still very torn between having finished the book in a day and racing to see how it ended and feeling of overall disappointment in how everything progressed and how it all wrapped up in the end. I feel like it was entertaining but I’m finding it extremely hard to say I would recommend it because I sincerely felt that the Dexter parallels were all too frequent, there were a few bizarre moments that didn’t sit right with me, and the ending felt downright weird. Usually after writing my reviews, I get a clearer picture of my overall feelings but this one still feels like a jumbled mess of thoughts.

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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!

 *crickets* Well, this is awkward. I accidentally had two different versions of this book and deleted the one on which I had been updating as I was reading. *headdesk* I CAN tell you that there were many, many cries of outrage though. (Good story, Brittany…) 

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Lane // Character Obsessions: Killing, justice, satisfaction.
Lane is a tough cookie to crack. It’s obvious she has some mental instabilities from the sheer fact that she carries a darkness that supplies urges to hurt and kill. She has a fascination with her mother’s work as an FBI agent, specifically working on serial killer cases. Did I really get to know her through this book? Am I missing something? Or is that really all there is?
Zach // Character Obsessions: Dating, girls, avoiding exes, Lane.
Zach was the “love interest” here (love in quotes because of Lane’s lack of emotional connection) and seems to cause way more problems that necessary. I really could have done without the whole jealous ex-girlfriend plot and the fact that it even happened for some reason made me blame Zach. Something about him just didn’t sit right with me and I got a bad feeling more from him than Lane, actually.

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Kept Me Hooked On: The darker side. I love light and fluffy contemps… But I also really love reading about the darker side every once in a while! I was hoping for a bit more from this book though…
Left Me Wanting More: Originality. Maybe I knew that first book/season of Dexter too well but the book just didn’t feel like it stood on its own two legs, so to speak. It was one of the things that really bothered me and I just couldn’t shake it because it kept coming back.

Addiction Rating
Borrow it from the library

I would recommend this as a library read, I think. I feel like some can enjoy it and others will probably feel as disappointed as I was or worse. It’s really a toss up, so the library might be the best way to go!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE KILLER INSTINCT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        How to Lead a Life of Crime       No One Else Can Have You

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

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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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3yDnGIN4rk

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBJHqU5_6jU

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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How to Lead a Life of Crime – Kirsten Miller

How to Lead a Life of Crime – Kirsten MillerTitle: How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
Publishing Info: February 21, 2013 by Penguin
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 20, 2012

    A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.
Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.
Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?

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Wow, so this book was definitely quite a bit different than I expected, but in a really good way. I guess I can’t really put it into any sort of box – It’s actually really hard to say what genres it even falls into. It was more mature than YA (definitely not suitable for the younger teens) but since the characters are teenagers, I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable calling it NA or Adult. It’s got a realism to it, but I almost feel like I could call it a kind of a dystopian, but not the way we normally think of it. Let me explain: Mandel Academy has sot of a struggle to find a utopian balance among the students, but at the same time any quest that’s a step towards their “ideal” society is totally messed up so it’s like an ideal insane society.

Anyway. As crazy as it all was, I loved it. I followed all of the twisty twists and got really into the characters and their stories. I usually find myself not relating to a male main character as well as female main characters, but Flick isn’t your average main character. He’s got some demons that he carries around with him and dark secrets from his past. The whole reason he gets into the twisted halls of Mandel is not only his penchant for lifting wallets but he’s also in the business of revenge – Anything he can do to get revenge on his father, whatever he decides that may be. I really found myself connecting with him, latching onto his beliefs, and rooting for him to figure out the right path.

I really enjoyed the story line and how things about Flick as well as the secrets about the school are revealed to us little by little. I was definitely captivated – much more than I thought I would be when I first started — and I found myself racing to finish. The ending brought around a few interesting plot turns that I didn’t see coming, including a “WHAT!?” moment.

This is definitely a book that revolves around the dark, the sinister, and the gruesome so if you’re looking for an upbeat or romantic story, this isn’t it. Be prepared that it’s pretty gritty and not for the faint of heart — We are reading a story about criminals and the people who are training teens to become well-rounded criminals as well. Even though I love a good rom-com, for some reason I find myself drawn to the creepy and sinister from time to time and this book just hit the spot for that niche. At times it almost had a Dark Knight/Batman feel to it and other times it felt a lot like DIVERGENT but with the character connections and action scenes that I had never found with the DIVERGENT series.

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Flick: I was surprised at how well I connected with Flick’s character. Even through the deep-seeded thoughts of revenge and his tendency to lean to “the dark side” I really got to love Flick. I think the readers really get to make a good connection with him and get really invested in his mission. Usually I don’t connect with male main characters as well as I do with female MCs (just the way it goes) but I really liked Flick and his story totally hooked me.
Flick’s father: I was actually super intrigued by Flick’s dad and what had actually happened in his past to make Flick so desperate for revenge. I love how that thread slowly unwound and we get to see many different sides of Flick’s father (at least that’s how I felt) and exactly what his intentions were towards his two sons and his wife.

addiction_factor1Buy it!

Wow, this was a really interesting book! Different from what I was expecting but that was in a good way. It was very thrilling and definitely captivating!

book_recommendations1

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