Review: There Will Be Lies

There Will Be Lies by Nick LakeTitle: There Will Be Lies
Author: Nick Lake
Series: n/a

About: Shelby Jane Cooper’s world is the town of Scottsdale, Arizona, where she’s home-schooled, hits balls at the batting cage, visits the library, and sees The Boy. Life in her city in the desert is one big routine, like ice-cream-for-dinner Fridays: normal. 

But in four hours, she’ll be struck by a car, and that’s when normal ends.

Barely recovered from the accident, Shelby is inexplicably whisked away by her mother—away from the hospital, her home, and everything she loves—on a manic road trip to the Grand Canyon. 

Shelby’s mother says that everything’s fine. But with mile after mile falling fast behind them, Shelby starts to question everything she knows about her life and tries to piece together what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can ultimately trust.

My Thoughts: I was very surprised by how good this book is. The writing is fantastic, and the story had me hooked right off the bat. One thing I really liked was that typography was used to “illustrate” the book in many ways. It’s hard to describe, but you’ll get it if you read it. It reminded me in many ways of a novel in verse, except that it’s mostly a basic novel written in the usual format — except in some parts.

The book is told in first-person from Shelby’s perspective. And I just loved her voice. She’s sarcastic, honest, witty, and fun to read. Oh, and she’s your typical teenager — snarky and prone to exaggeration (things taking 4,280 years, and whatnot). It’s a hoot to read! She, as a character is very sympathetic. I found myself rooting for her from start to finish.

My only complaint is that this book is highly predictable. I don’t think there were any surprises in it for me. I figured out the truth pretty early on, and the Dreaming’s purpose was also very easy for me to figure out on my own. While there’s some satisfaction in being able to shout, “I knew it!” while reading, it’s also somewhat disappointing to have it all figured out from pretty close to the very beginning.

Despite the obviousness, I still found this book hard to put down. I felt for Shelby. I loved her voice. And this is a very well-written book. If it wasn’t for the predictability factor, this would’ve been a 5-star book.

4.5 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: There Will Be Lies is scheduled for release around January 6, 2015. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: Feral

Feral by Holly SchindlerTitle: Feral
Author: Holly Schindler
Series: n/a

About: It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened. 

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

My Thoughts: I am very confused about this book. Not by it — I understand the story just fine — but about this book. How I feel about it. What I think about it. Do I like it? Don’t I? What do I think about it? Why?

Usually those are somewhat easy questions for me to answer. But, I’m not sure this time — and, no, it’s not “writer’s block” or anything like that. I started out liking it, and quickly found myself thinking it was pretty darn good. I was eager to get into it, really get submersed in the story. And then Claire went bat-shit crazy. And, somehow, her classmates — Rich and Becca especially — don’t get weird about it. Somehow they keep trying to be her friends. I don’t know about you, but high school wasn’t like that for me. If I’d done and said some of what she did, I’d have been a social pariah!

The book is creepy. Very creepy. And it makes feral cats seem like tools of Satan — or something. I love cats, and they have never freaked me out before. But this book, well, they’re quite freaky. And, well, it’s also a bit gross — and that’s putting it mildly. If you’re squeamish, proceed with caution!

The end, I think, did play out pretty well. Claire grew. She matured. And she came to some understandings about things she clearly hadn’t had before.

This book was very, very predictable. I figured out pretty early who “he” is. And I had a pretty good — and accurate idea — what was going on with Claire. There were a couple of things I didn’t quite get, but they were really not a huge surprise either.

So, after all of this, how do I feel about this book? Let’s think. I liked it at first, then really liked it. Then Claire became an idiot. An absolute idiot. Yes, that is explained, but that part was drawn out way too long. And everyone around her — her father and Rich especially — seemed to not pick up at all on her craziness. I find that hard to believe.

The middle third or so, I often felt I had to force myself to keep reading. I was so ready to make it a DNF. But, I wanted to see if the story could recover. See if I could find the ending worth pushing through all the stuff I just couldn’t stomach. And, well, I felt the ending was pretty satisfying (although, there was one pairing I was hoping to happen that just didn’t). Not awesome-so-glad-I-saw-this-through satisfying. But good enough. I’m glad to know exactly what happened. And the final chapter, that part was touching, sweet, and pretty close to perfect. But, well, it wasn’t enough to fully redeem the sludge in the middle.

3 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: Feral is scheduled for release around August 26, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: The Girl From the Well

The Girl From the Well by Rin ChupecoTitle: The Girl From the Well
Author: Rin Chupeco
Series: n/a

About: You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night. 

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out. 

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as “Dexter” meets “The Grudge”, based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

My Thoughts: Riveting. Captivating. Amazing.

Yup, I loved it! I wasn’t aware of the Japanese ghost story that is the basis for this book, so I didn’t realize that’s what this was until the legend is mentioned in the book, which is pretty far into it. (Side note: I only read the synopsis once, when I decided to sign up for this tour. I almost never read the synopses before starting, as that tends to tell more than I want to know. It’s generally enough to know that I thought it worth reading when I first signed up. Even with books that aren’t part of a tour, I rarely read the summary.) Not knowing the story didn’t affect my understanding of the book at all. In fact, lack of familiarity might’ve been a good thing. I had no expectations related to that story. Nothing the book had to live up to.

This book is thrilling. Absolutely thrilling. I was hooked from page one, and easily could have read it all in one sitting. For one thing, it’s relatively short (less than 300 pages), but also because it’s a fast, exciting read.

The writing style is unique, and very good. I loved the narrator’s voice, and the occasional straying from conventional paragraph structure. It was a nice touch that really helped with the feel of the story — which is exciting and a bit creepy. If you’re good at visualizing what you read, this might freak you out a bit. If you love a good thrill, make sure to read this before turning in for the night! ;)

Riveting. Captivating. Amazing. If you like a fast, thrilling, chilling read, don’t miss The Girl From the Well by Rin Cupeco.

5 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: The Girl From the Well is scheduled for release around August 5, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: Sinner

Sinner by Maggie StiefvaterTitle: Sinner
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3.5

About: A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy. 

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret — his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved?

My Thoughts: I’ll be honest and tell you right off the bat that this didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The Wolves of Mercy Falls was one of those series that surprised me. I read it because I had heard a lot of hype. I was skeptical — things so often don’t live up to the hype. I was delightfully surprised to find that I absolutely loved the series — each book a bit more than the previous one. As such, I had very high expectations for this book.

That really wasn’t fair. 

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater is good, but it didn’t blow me away the way the rest of the series had. It kept my interest, but Cole and Isabel — their on-again-off-again relationship was tiring. And while I liked how everything turned out, I didn’t feel the plot was developed enough to really make it a logical conclusion. (I would expand on that, but don’t want to spoil for anyone out there.) 

Still, if you’re a fan of this series, then definitely read this book. Especially if you’re a fan of Cole. I liked his perspective on things. I enjoyed seeing the story through his eyes. I felt bad for him when Isabel went into bitch-mode, which (not surprisingly) was more often than not. I would like to believe that theirs is a happily-ever-after ending, but I cannot be confident in that. Hopefully the rocky road that is the start of their relationship smooths out and becomes the foundation of something truly wonderful.

3 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: You can order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: Afterworlds

Afterworlds by Scott WesterfeldTitle: Afterworlds
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: n/a

About: Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings… 

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

My Thoughts: When this book arrived, my first thought was that it’s HUGE. And it is — it’s over 600 pages long! While I tend to be a fast reader, I wasn’t so sure about how quickly I’d make it through such a large tome. Thankfully, it doesn’t read like a book with 600+ pages. It goes fast, and it covers a lot of ground.

Firstly, though, I gotta say, I love the cover. And I liked it even more once I started reading; it’s a perfect fit. (And I couldn’t help but think what a big-time author he is, as he has earned having his name in a bigger font that the book’s title!)

As stated above, this book is told in alternating chapters: Darcy’s life and Darcy’s novel. Now you see why this is such a long book, right? ;) I found it really neat how the two worked together. You have Darcy adjusting to her new life in New York, and it quickly becomes watching Darcy try to make edits to make her publisher and editor happy. You see her ruminate about things, discuss things, and how things have changed from her original composition to her final draft, the one we read. I loved reading about how different things had to change, and sometimes we read about the changes (or proposed changes) after having read the part in question. No need to explain how that turned out — we already know!

The writing is masterful — for both Darcy’s life and Lizzie’s story. The stories, however, weren’t quite as riveting as I’d hoped. I never felt like I had to keep reading. Never felt like I just had to find out how everything ended up. Still, I found myself getting through it surprisingly quickly. And, overall, I did find it enjoyable.

3.5 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: Afterworlds is scheduled for release around September 23, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: One Past Midnight

One Past Midnight by Jessica ShirvingtonTitle: One Past Midnight
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Series: n/a

About: For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted… But just what – and who – is she really risking?

My Thoughts: I absolutely loved this book! I found it fast-paced, compelling, exciting, and unputdownable. It grabbed hold of me right off the bat and didn’t let go until the very end – which, I must say, I just loved! I think the ending, which I found quite pleasing, is what solidified a five-star rating for this book.

Sabine is an interesting character. She’s got the weight of the world — of two worlds, really — on her shoulders. Even when the game changes, she seems to handle it very well. She learns some big lessons — which I cannot specifically name without spoiling things.

Ethan is book boyfriend material for sure. I really liked him a lot, even though clearly something was going on that Sabine couldn’t see. I won’t say more about it, because you will want to discover it all for yourself. But, I liked him a lot.

I know this is a very general review, but I really don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. There were plenty of surprises throughout the book, and the unexpected happenings/revelations made reading more enjoyable. Suffice it to say that I loved this book. And, yes, I could see myself reading it again sometime. (I recently discovered that this book has a different title overseas. If you’re outside the U.S. and can’t find One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington, try looking for Between the Lives.)

5 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: One Past Midnight is scheduled for release around July 22, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: Positive

Positive by Paige RawlTitle: Positive: A Memoir
Author: Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin
Series: n/a

About: Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth…but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. It never prevented her from entering beauty pageants or playing soccer or making the honor role.

On an unremarkable day in middle school, while attempting to console a friend, Paige disclosed her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. She was called “PAIDS,” first in whispers, then out in the open. Her soccer coach joked that she was an asset because opposing team members would be too afraid to touch her. Her guidance counselor told her to stop all the “drama,” and her principal said she couldn’t protect her. One night, desperate for escape, Paige swallowed fifteen sleeping pills—one for each year of her life to date. That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning. 

My Thoughts: This is a remarkable story. It touches on a lot of subjects: HIV, bullying, friendship, the education system, family, and so much more. It’s amazing how much is packed into this (relatively) short book. Paige has been through the ringer — most teens experience some bit of bullying, some to a greater extent than others. Paige’s story likely will resonate with many, even those who face minimal teasing. I wanted to reach into the pages and hug the poor girl.

The book is very well-written, and it reads fast. I found myself wanting to keep going with it, finding few places I wanted to stop. I wanted to see how things panned out, how her journey progressed.

Overall, I felt Positive by Paige Rawl was a very well-written, thought-provoking memoir. It’s written in such a way that I think teens can find engaging. Hopefully this book can be used to help combat bullying, as I get the impression that that is one of Rawl’s missions — raising awareness of, and fighting against, the kind of bullying that can break a kid apart and drive them to things like suicide. I hope she succeeds!

4 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: Positive is scheduled for release around August 26, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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