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Bite-Sized Reviews | The “WTF Did I Just Read?” Edition

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Good news has come: I HAVE BROKEN MY DAMN READING SLUMP!

I thought that the reason I had one was because of reading fantasy, but I think it’s actually because of all these sequels and finales I’ve been attempting to read, but just am not in the mood for. So, at the moment, I’m going to be taking a break from sequels until I’m in the mood for them because I MISSED READING BOOKS SO MUCH.

Anyway, for some reason, I made a terrible decision to go around requesting Netgalley books over the last few months, then getting accepted for them, and then saying, “Well, the book’s not going to be published FOR MONTHS, so I don’t have to worry about it, right?” WRONG. Summer comes upon me, and I realize that I apparently ALL THE BOOKS ARE COMING OUT IN JULY. AND ON THE SAME DAY. WHICH IS TUESDAY. PUBLISHERS ARE WEIRD.

So, since I have way too many July books coming out on similar dates (seriously, there are 31 damn days in July. Why can’t they just space it out???), I thought I’d go ahead and do some mini reviews to take the load off!

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The Revenge

Genre: Thriller

Series: None

Rating: 1 STAR

Release Date: July 1, 2017

Synopsis:

Break ups can be messy. After his ex-girlfriend Hope embarrasses him in front of the entire school, Tony wants revenge. So he signs her up for online dating sites, subscriptions, and even makes the location of her phone public. And it works. A few days later, Hope calls begging Tony to stop the prank. Then Hope screams and a car door slams. The call drops.

Tony tries to keep cool. It’s just like Hope to get back at him with more drama. But when Hope isn’t at school the next day, Tony knows the joke has gone too far-and he may have lead a predator right to his ex’s door. Can Tony find Hope and save her before it’s too late for both of them?

My Thoughts

Um…WTF? This book honestly left me speechless. Like most YA thrillers I hated, the only credit I can give it is that it was addicting…and that’s basically it. The characters were completely forgettable, the writing wasn’t that good, and it was just…weird? I literally can’t put into words how much this didn’t make sense. And the ending was SO OPEN. Like, it just ended, and when I saw that there were acknowledgements, I flipped back to see if I had missed something because that couldn’t possibly have been the end. But, nope, that was it. Basically, this was the poor man’s version of Gone Girl. Like, a REALLY poor man’s version of Gone Girl.

In Summary: 

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waste-of-space

Genre: Contemporary

Series: None

Rating: 3 STARS

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Synopsis: 

Cram ten hormonal teens into a spaceship and blast off: that’s the premise for the ill-conceived reality show Waste of Space. The kids who are cast know everything about drama—and nothing about the fact that the production is fake. Hidden in a desert warehouse, their spaceship replica is equipped with state-of-the-art special effects dreamed up by the scientists partnering with the shady cable network airing the show.    

And it’s a hit! Millions of viewers are transfixed. But then, suddenly, all communication is severed. Trapped and paranoid, the kids must figure out what to do when this reality show loses its grip on reality.   

My Thoughts

And we have another “WTF?” book, except on a totally different scale! I guess you could say that it was contemporary, but then a little sci-fi ended up being thrown in at the end, so was it magical realism? WHO KNOWS? This was basically making fun of reality shows, and I actually enjoyed how satirical it was and how it poked fun at itself! It was also formatted to include interviews and transcripts, so think Illuminae, except all the science stuff is fake? This is honestly the hardest book to rate ever, because I didn’t enjoy it, but I didn’t hate it? So, three stars it is, I guess!

In Summary:

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The Inside Dark

Genre: Thriller

Series: None

Rating: 4 STARS

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Synopsis:

Five days ago, aspiring crime novelist Jason Swike awoke chained to the wall of a run-down horse stable, convinced he would soon die at the hands of Crackerjack, the infamous serial killer who had terrorized the residents of Massachusetts for the past year—capturing and tormenting men, painting whimsical designs on their faces before shattering their bones and ending their lives. Just when death seems inevitable, Jason, with the help of another captive, manages to kill the madman and escape.

Hailed as a hero, Jason reaps the benefits of his newfound fame: a book deal, a possible reconciliation with his estranged wife, and reward money he can use to pay for his son’s costly medical treatments. But he soon realizes the nightmare that began in the deserted stable is far from over, as he is drawn into a twisted game where the darkest terror may not be the psychopath manipulating his every move, but what Jason may have to do to survive…

My Thoughts

I absolutely devoured this one! I was really happy that the synopsis was so vague because that’s what made the book so entertaining – you think that the book doesn’t have enough material to carry on, but then BAM! Something happens halfway through and you just can’t stop reading because it’s so tense! I enjoyed seeing all the POVs in the story, and the ending was SO GOOD. This reminded me of Jeff Strand’s Pressure (which I loved!), but if you haven’t read that book, don’t bother looking it up because the synopsis will spoil you for this one. Overall, I really enjoyed it, and I hope to get to some of his other books soon!

In Summary:

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A huge thank you to Sourcebooks Fire, HMH Children’s Book Group, and Thomas and Mercer for the e-ARCS via Netgalley!  

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14

[REVIEW] Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (Ft. Excessive Orange Is The New Black Gifs)

allegedly

Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, YA

Series: None

Rating: 3 STARS

Description:

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.

My Thoughts:

“Some people are just born bad, plain and simple.”

Honestly, this book wasn’t even on my radar. I’d heard some things about this book because I follow up with the Epic Reads website, but it didn’t really interest me, so I stayed away. But then I was pulled over by the Influence of Bookstagram, and I totally and completely caved because I heard SO MANY GOOD THINGS. Would I say that I totally and completely fell in love with this book? No, not really. But I definitely found this one entertaining, and I’m sure, in the right hands, someone would love this book more than I did.

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So, regarding the characters, I found this one really interesting. We are introduced to Mary, a sixteen-year-old girl stuck in the crappy system and also just happens to be pregnant by her older boyfriend, Ted, who works in the nursing home close to the group home. Mary is someone you will most likely sympathize with. Her relationship with her mother is frayed, she wants to keep her baby but she doesn’t have that choice, she’s trying to get an education but is continually blocked from it, and everyone thinks she killed a baby. Allegedly. I felt so bad for her, and I thought this was a really great book to talk about how the system treats younger prisoners, especially POC. I know we’ve all watched Orange Is the New Black (and if you haven’t, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?), but this seemed like a darker, more grittier version (I mean, the show is dark as well, but this was less comedy and girl power, more depression and girl fights). And with Ted…whatever. I didn’t really care too much about him, to be honest, and I just didn’t like him? I’m weird.

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The plot of this book was done so well. I will say this is a mix between a contemporary and a mystery, so for mystery/thriller fans like me, this is no psychological thriller, but I still found it really addicting, especially since we’re hinted at something more constantly. I personally found this book that way, and I just needed more of it, needed to know what was going to happen, and I can owe that all to Mary and her plight. I just needed to know what was going to happen next, needed to see if she was going to get the proper justice she deserved, needed to know what in the hell actually happened to Alyssa.

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I also loved the little snippets inserted from books and reports and transcripts of interviews. I’m a huge fan of books like that, especially thrillers (it reminds me a lot of Dangerous Girls, and, wow, can I go a post without talking about that book?), and I thought it really added to the story, especially seeing how the public responded to the it. I honestly wonder how the public would respond if a nine-year-old black girl killed a white baby. Would the world go into chaos? Would more people believe she did it or if she didn’t? Would people think she deserved an even worse sentence? It’s one of those really interesting cases that would definitely bring up controversy in the real world right now (and I sort of wonder if it’s based off of something that happened in real life?).

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I don’t know how I feel about the ending. Of course, I’m trying not to spoil, but I feel like I’ve seen it so many times before that I’m not really shocked or surprised, and it’s sort of become something where I basically say, “Oh, okay.” Yeah, the first few times I’ve seen that sort of plot twist, I was like, “Woah; what???” but it’s so overdone at this point that I’m starting to hate it a little. It’s not like it’s the author’s fault or anyone else’s, it just feels as if publishers see a plot twist and go, “YES MUST PUBLISH NOW,” to constantly keep up with the trends, and after seeing a thousand different ways to express the fact that the main character is lost royalty, it gets old.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty interesting mix between a contemporary and a mystery, and I think you should definitely check it out if it interests you.

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6

[ARC BOOK REVIEW] Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen

Gone Without a Trace

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Adult

Series: None

Rating: 3 STARS

Release Date: April 18, 2017

Description:

A jaw-dropping novel of psychological suspense that asks, “If the love of your life disappeared without a trace, how far would you go to find out why? ”

Hannah Monroe’s boyfriend, Matt, is gone. His belongings have disappeared from their house. Every call she ever made to him, every text she ever sent, every photo of him and any sign of him on social media have vanished. It’s as though their last four years together never happened.

As Hannah struggles to get through the next few days, with humiliation and recriminations whirring through her head, she knows that she’ll do whatever it takes to find him again and get answers. But as soon as her search starts, she realizes she is being led into a maze of madness and obsession. Step by suspenseful step, Hannah discovers her only way out is to come face to face with the shocking truth…

My Thoughts:

This was quite the interesting psychological thriller. I went into this one really excited because the premise sounded awesome: a woman comes home to find her boyfriend missing? What? Unfortunately, though the pacing for this one was really well done, and this book kept me reading until the very last pages, the ending definitely fell flat on its face for me.

As I said before, the pacing was definitely well done. As soon as I started this book, I was hooked, and it really kept my interest. I feel like I’ve been doing absolutely terrible at reading this past year, so it was really nice to have an addicting read to keep up with. The mystery definitely keeps you going, especially with such an interesting premise at the basis of the novel.

I thought the characters for this one were also quite interesting. We have Hannah, our main character, and Katie, her best friend, that really drive this novel with their toxic friendship. I’m always a fan of that trope in thrillers, and this was no exception. This one proved to be a bit more subtle than as an outright thriller surrounding toxic friendships, but I still really enjoyed it. We also have James, Hannah’s husband, that was a previous boyfriend of hers when the two of them were growing up, and he played an interesting part in the book as well.

What I really thought set this thriller apart than many of the other ones coming before and after it is the fact that this one had a focus on family and its influence, much like The Roanoke Girls, except way less creepier. We get a peek into Hannah’s home life growing up and how that it’s shaped a huge part of her character, which is expanded upon as the book develops. I thought it was a really nice touch to see how her mom and her dad influenced her and played a part in what happens in the overall bigger picture of the book.

Now, the ending was what got stars docked off for me. Near the end, we get what I’d consider an interesting part, because something happens that I didn’t really expect to happen. I was really excited because I wanted to know where the book would propel from there on out. But after that point, the book got so…busy. Things were revealed, we got a flashback, even MORE things were revealed, a big thing happens, more things are revealed, more stuff happens, and then the epilogue. And it was just all too much. I wouldn’t have minded if everything were interspersed near the falling resolution, but it just happened all at once, and that’s what really bothered me the most. 

Overall, an okay psychological thriller that could’ve done with a better ending.

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A huge thanks to Berkley Publishing for the free e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

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2

[REVIEW] The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

The River at Night

Genre: Thriller, Adult

 Series: None

 Rating: 3 STARS

 Description:

A high-stakes drama set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, charting the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident, The River at Night is a nonstop and unforgettable thriller by a stunning new voice in fiction.

Winifred Allen needs a vacation.

Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.

What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.

With intimately observed characters, visceral prose, and pacing as ruthless as the river itself, The River at Night is a dark exploration of creatures—both friend and foe—that you won’t soon forget.

 My Thoughts:

 “Early one morning in late March, Pia forced my hand.”

 This book reminded me of two things: why I will never ever, ever go into the wilderness no matter what and why I will never ever, ever trust a young twenty-something to lead me into the forest and save my life. But, seriously, I pre-ordered this book on a lot of great reviews, and I was super excited to read it! Apparently, this has a lot of similarities to something called Deliverance, which I have literally never heard of, so, thankfully, I went into this book knowing absolutely nothing.

 I thought the characters in this book were a huge plus for me! I’m going to blame my thriller obsession with the fact that I love twisted relationships and friendships between people in general, and the four main characters are all so different and have their own baggage going into the trip that definitely makes for an interesting addition to the plot. Of course, like in most thrillers, we have Wini, the more quiet, shy main character who we’re pushed to root for, and then there’s Pia, that annoying friend who thinks she’s all that and she deserves everything she can get her hands on until someone puts her in her place. Of course, she drove me crazy, and even though the novel made the effort to make me like her more, I just couldn’t get past my initial feelings for her. We also have Rachel and Sandra, who I didn’t think were developed enough as individuals since the main focus is Pia and Wini, but I did think they were an interesting touch into the friendship.

 I think one of my favorite things about the characters is the fact that they’re like real people. We’ve all read our share of survival stories before, and most of the time, we jokingly say that if we were in that situation, we would probably be dead, which is not only most likely true, but also shows that, sometimes, main characters make smarter and more logical decisions than most people would in their situations. The four main characters aren’t super athletic or super smart or don’t break out in, “Okay, this is what we’re going to do because one time I was caught in this situation/I read it on the Internet/I’ve been training for this my whole life.” They felt the same way I did and I felt like they made the same decisions I would, especially garnering the realistic ending, which I can’t talk about because SPOILERS.

 My main dislike: the pacing. Why, oh why, are my thrillers either extremely gripping or books that I pick up on-and-off because they’re just so slow? I think the main issue was the fact that the synopsis reveals a bit too much, if that makes sense? Like, we’re all well aware the four women are going to get stranded, so the 10+ chapters leading up to that event were basically boring exposition where I was basically screaming in my head, “GET TO THE POINT ALREADY!” I also felt like it was slightly misleading? Maybe because the synopsis made this huge show of talking about being this “dark exploration of creatures,” and I didn’t feel like it did that? To me, that made it seems like they tried to make it sound more Hunger Games-y, but maybe that’s just me.

 Overall, this was a pretty interesting survival thriller, and if you want to check it out, I feel like you should, but it still ended up being a meh read for me.

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Have you read this book? What did you think about it? Are you interested in reading it?

17

[REVIEW] City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

city-of-saints-and-thieves

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, YA

 Series: None

 Rating: 3 STARS

 Description:

 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.

 In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

 With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

 My Thoughts:

“If you’re going to be a thief, the first thing you need to know is that you don’t exist.”

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 Okay, this first paragraph might seem like I’m talking gibberish, but can I just say, this was nothing like Gone Girl. When you have the words “Gone Girl” on the cover, I expect a psychological thriller. But this was more of a murder mystery than a thriller. Sure, the book jacket also mentioned The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which I haven’t read yet, so I have no idea if that was an accurate comparison or a name drop as well), but it greatly annoys me that a domestic/psychological thriller that’s not even within the YA category was in anyway compared to this book. There was literally nothing in common. Nothing! This is more of a forewarning to fans of Gone Girl. And to publishers who keep incorrectly dropping names so people will read their work.

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 But on to the actual book. We get to meet Tina, whose mother died a while ago under Greyhill’s hands, wants to help her sister, and is involved with a dangerous gang that wants to assist her in taking Greyhill down and exposing him for maybe murdering her mom. I thought she was an awesome character, mainly because she’s a thief, and I love heists and robbers and cheering for anti-heroes, as I’m sure you guys might know, so Tina was, of course, my type of girl. We also get to meet Boyboy, a hacker and Tina’s best friend who reminded me so much like Job from one of my favorite TV shows, Banshee (which you should totally watch if you like action and cute badasses as main characters, but that’s not the point of this review), and Michael, the classic love interest that I didn’t care too much about because blah blah blah, he’s loved her since they were little, blah blah blah, I’ve heard this story at least ten billion times before, blah blah blah, this romance is literally not necessary; I came here to see Tina AVENGE HER MOTHER’S DEATH DAMN IT. But, of course, it’s all personal opinion.

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 I thought the pacing of this book and the plot tied together. There were some parts of this book that were totally banging and made me read faster and faster…and then there were some parts of the book that just fell flat and made me bored and were sort of slump-inducing. The pacing was a bit all over the place, and I guess that’s because the story would sometimes reveal new information and action sequences and cliffhangers, which was super exciting, but then we have those moments where we’re sitting around and getting a little bit of exposition or attempting to move the plot forward in the form of story-telling, which, unfortunately, failed keep me entertained. But, fear not those who love plot twists in their thrillers, there are many abound in this novel!

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 Despite my issues with the pacing, I actually really enjoyed the ending. I found the “big battle” really tense and exciting, and the big finish was totally worth it. I also thought that the ending was personally convincing concerning Kiki and the romance between Tina and Daniel. And for those who are worried about the romance over-powering the action and Tina’s mission, it doesn’t, which I found to be a definite positive, besides the fact that I considered it to be realistic and well-developed. I still didn’t think it was necessary, but I feel like at this point, I’ve got to start accepting it.

 Overall, I thought it was an okay murder mystery with pacing that felt like it was all over the place, but this book will definitely work depending on the person and their preferences.

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Have you read this book yet? And if this becomes a movie, would you watch it (I saw that it was optioned for film, which has now convinced me that EVERY BOOK is going to be turned into a movie, my God)?

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[ARC REVIEW] Ubo by Steve Rasnic Tem

ubo

Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian, Horror

Series: None

Rating: 3 STARS

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Description:

A blend of science fiction and horror, award-winning author Steve Rasnic Tem’s new novel is a chilling story exploring the roots of violence and its effect on a possible future.

Daniel is trapped in Ubo. He has no idea how long he has been imprisoned there by the roaches.

Every resident has a similar memory of the journey to Ubo: a dream of dry, chitinous wings crossing the moon, the gigantic insects dropping swiftly over the houses of the neighborhood, passing through walls and windows as if by magic, or science.  The creatures, like a deck of baroquely ornamented cards, fanning themselves from one hidden world into the next.

And now each day they force Daniel to play a different figure from humanity’s violent history, from a frenzied Jack the Ripper to a stumbling and confused Stalin to a self-proclaimed god executing survivors atop the ruins of the world. The scenarios mutate day after day in this camp somewhere beyond the rules of time. As skies burn and prisoners go mad, identities dissolve as the experiments evolve, and no one can foretell their mysterious end.

My Thoughts:

So, this book is basically the definition of “WTF?” Seriously, all you have to do is read the description, and you’ll probably be saying, “Wait, what?” It’s the main reason why I requested it in the first place, and I was so excited when I got the e-mail that I was approved.

 First, a bit of a warning: this book is slow. SO SLOW. Like, it literally took almost half a month for me to read this. It’s just one of those books where I had to read it in spurts, because it doesn’t have that binge-able quality. It’s not a bad thing, but for those who like faster-paced books, this will probably be the ultimate torture.

 There’s a cast of characters, but, really, we only focus on the main character, Daniel, who has a rough sort of past. He has a son who suffers from a heart disease, and he feels as if his marriage is quickly falling apart, and before he knows it, he’s been dragged off to this torture chamber/science lab where he has to relive history’s worst moments. He’s one of those main characters that’s so easy to cheer for, because you want him to get out of this unimaginably awful situation, but he might not be someone who you’ll relate to, just for the fact that I’m a teenage girl who doesn’t even want kids, and I know most of you guys reading this probably won’t relate either, but he’s definitely someone you’ll sympathize with.

 Of course, the plot is interesting. A weird world where all these people are dragged out of their homes to play the worst men in history? What? And, my God, did it take the weirdest turn. Not like I minded, since I’m a huge fan of super weird sci-fi stories (have you seen Black Mirror? If you haven’t, you need to). I thought it was definitely carried out well, and this actually ties into the world-building of the book. We’re only stuck with Daniel in the limited world of Ubo, and it’s not until we’re in the point of view of the God of Mayhem (“Wait, what?” you’re probably saying, and that’s a 100% accurate feeling) and in the final chapter that we get to see more of the world, so for those who are huge on world-building in sci-fi, you’ll probably hate how this one is very light on it.

 Honestly, it’s so hard to talk about this book without spoiling it, but it’s definitely interesting and I thought it was okay. Not the best sci-fi book I’ve ever read, but it certainly makes me want to see if there’s more sci-fi/horror out there! And, also, a real warning: if you’re not into/sensitive to reading descriptions of graphic violence from the POV of Jack the Ripper or shooters or horrible men in history, or don’t want to read descriptions of horrific events such as the Holocaust, then this book is definitely not for you.

 Overall, a solid sci-fi/horror story, and if you’re pretty curious to read it, feel free to check it out once it comes out on Valentine’s Day!

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Does this book interest you? 

(Also, I finished Caraval today! So good! Hopefully, my review should be up tomorrow!)

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I was provided with a free e-ARC of this book through Netgalley. Thank you so much Steve Resnic Tem and Rebellion Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this early.

5

[ARC REVIEW] Blink by K.L. Slater

blink

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Adult

Series: None

Rating: 3 STARS

Release Date: February 16, 2017

Description:

What if the person you love most in the world was in terrible danger … because of you?

Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace.

But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth.

Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, her only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter.

A compelling, gripping thriller with a breathtaking twist that will keep you awake until the early hours. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors and The Sister.

My Thoughts:

Okay, so I’ve actually never any of Slater’s books before now. I do own Safe With Me, but I also have about 1001 other books on my TBR that are currently screaming my name, so I haven’t yet had the opportunity to read it. I will definitely pick it up though, because I really enjoyed it! It wasn’t the best thriller I’ve read so far this year, but I enjoyed it enough.

The pacing of this novel was definitely on the slower side. There were a lot of chapters, which meant they were pretty short (always a positive in my experience), and I thought it was perfect that the book was split into two parts. Part 1 is definitely slower. I know that for some readers, they’ll find it extremely boring because it’s not very thriller-y at all; it has more of a contemporary feel with the fact that Toni is suffering between taking care of her daughter and dealing with the grief of her husband’s death a couple years back and moving into a new place and her mom riding on her about things and dealing with a new job, etc. We have a peek at these journal entries that seem from the captor’s point-of-view, and the POV of the person who’s paralyzed, but those are pretty short and pretty spare. Part 2 was definitely interesting and I couldn’t stop reading once I reached that part; I just binged until the very end.

The characters were just fine (it’s always awkward to talk about characters since I don’t care much for them when I’m reading my thrillers). It’s quite easy to gain sympathy for Toni since she’s suffering from so many things and she’s just trying to get her life together just like anyone else. We also get to learn more about Harriet Watson, who plays a larger part in the book besides “the abusing teacher I hated a lot.” She was quite the three dimensional character, and I actually really enjoyed learning more about her as the novel went on.

I thought the premise was done semi-well. I feel like it might be a bit misleading, but I’m not going to talk about it anymore so as not to spoil anyone. Again, this book was a bit slower than I thought it’d be, so if you’re looking for a faster-paced thriller, this will probably not be your jam. I’d also say that if you’re looking for a thriller revolving around missing kids, this isn’t the one for you, either.

I actually really enjoyed the ending a lot. Like most thrillers, it has all the plot twists that most modern thrillers have these days, but I actually didn’t mind them too much. I really enjoyed the very last chapter of this book; it was so touching. And that’s it, that’s all I’m saying about the ending because no spoilers!

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Have you read K.L. Slater’s previous book? Does this one sound good to you?

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I received this book for free from Netgalley. Huge thanks to K.L. Slater and Bookouture for giving me the opportunity to read this!