First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy

Disclaimer: None, I bought this book on Audible.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

 

Recommended Age: 16+ (animal sacrifice, murder, romance ((somewhat explicit)), brutal and descriptive death, cult-like group, domestic terrorism, and confusion)

 

Pages: 448

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: It started for pranks, fun, and forever memories.

A secret society – for the four of us.

The rules: Never lie. Never tell. Love each other.

We made the pledge and danced under the blood moon on the meteorite in the orchard. In the spot we found the dead girl five years earlier. And discovered the ancient drawings way before that.

Nothing could break the four of us apart – I thought.

But then, others wanted in. Our seaside town had secrets. History.

We wanted revenge.

We broke the rules. We lied. We told. We loved each other too much, not enough, and in ways we weren’t supposed to.

Our invention ratcheted out of control.

What started as a secret society, ended as justice. Revenge. Death. Rebellion.

 

I have an overt fascination with the color purple to the point that anything purple draws me in. This book is one of those things. I loved the cover and I thought it sounded interesting so I dove right into it. The book was fascinating, creepy, yucky, and confusing all at the same time. It really took me awhile to sit and consider what I wanted to say about this book. So, let’s jump right in:

 

I listened to this book on Audible and while the narrator’s voice was robotic and creepy, it really worked well with this book. The narrator also was able to make the teenage characters sound like teenage characters. The story itself was very well written and it keeps you guessing until the last minute. We know from the beginning the fate of the group, but the story somehow makes us want more as we continue through it. The book also did well concerning the character development of the four main characters. With every character you go through a period of loving and hating them. The author also does well to make the villainous characters have a very decent backstory. I ended up feeling bad for all members involved and that’s how a book should write characters. People are complex and whether we do good or bad things depends on our own personal backstory. Sometimes the mean girl has mental health issues. Sometimes the pretty girl has a mean streak. Sometimes the bully is bullied at home. And sometimes the geeky smart kid is just as big of a bully as they are. The plot developed really well and the pacing was perfect. The mystery was the background of the story, but somehow the author maintained its importance throughout the book.

 

However, the confusing writing can make the reader distressed enough to DNF it. There is a lot to keep up with in this book and it requires complete devotion most times. This can make for a challenging read for those who aren’t used to having such an involved book.

 

Verdict: The perfect mystery/thriller for the would-be teen or adult anarchist.

 

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No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from KidLitExchange in return for my opinion. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 3/5

 

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (murder, high school drama, and violence)

 

Pages: 320

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: A gripping reimagining of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and the brutal murders that inspired it

November is usually quiet in Holcomb, Kansas, but in 1959, the town is shattered by the quadruple murder of the Clutter family. Suspicion falls on Nancy Clutter’s boyfriend, Bobby Rupp, the last one to see them alive.

New Yorker Carly Fleming, new to the small Midwestern town, is an outsider. She tutored Nancy, and (in private, at least) they were close. Carly and Bobby were the only ones who saw that Nancy was always performing, and that she was cracking under the pressure of being Holcomb’s golden girl. The secret connected Carly and Bobby. Now that Bobby is an outsider, too, they’re bound closer than ever.

Determined to clear Bobby’s name, Carly dives into the murder investigation and ends up in trouble with the local authorities. But that’s nothing compared to the wrath she faces from Holcomb once the real perpetrators are caught. When her father is appointed to defend the killers of the Clutter family, the entire town labels the Flemings as traitors. Now Carly must fight for what she knows is right.

 

Okay so I’ve not read Capote’s In Cold Blood… but is it anything like this book? Let me explain: this book was okay but the synopsis of it had me wanting more than what I got. I liked that the book had really short chapters because it really made me read it faster. I like how we jumped into the action of the book and I felt that for the most part the writing was fantastic and it sucked you into the book.

 

However, I didn’t like that the characters had so little back story to them and that there were a lot of characters that easily were forgotten. The main character was wrote really bad. She kept making the same mistakes over and over again and it became really irritating after awhile and it made her very unlikable, but she was already unlikable with some of her other qualities. Lastly, the ending was way too quick and neat for this type of book.

 

Verdict: I feel like this book was okay, but it could have been better.

March 2018 – Paper Obscura

Sub Box Website

Theme: The Donner Party

Rating: 4/5

Price: 39.99. There are now different monthly options you can choose from 1 month to 3 month and to 6 month sub options!

Products: A mystery, thriller, or suspense book along with items from the area the book is set in!

Ships To: USA and I believe they now ship internationally!

Disclaimer: I bought my own box, but I received free shipping on it courtesy of the company. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

In the midst of all of these new sub boxes, this one caught my eye. Not many boxes focus outside of the YA genre so to find one that did so made me super excited for it. Here’s what was included in the box:

  • Burnt Sugar Lip Blam & Lip Scrub Bundle (created by Serious Lip Balm)
    • Estimated Price: $8.00 (estimate from their website)
  • “War is Hell” bandanna (created by Neuer Geist)
    • Estimated Price: $15.00 (estimate from their website)
  • “Choose Weird” Tote (created by Zen Threads)
    • Estimated Price: $7.99 (estimate from their website)
  • Author letter
  • Signed bookmark from the author
  • Book: The Hunger by Alma Katsu
    • Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos. They cannot seem to escape tragedy…or the feelings that someone–or something–is stalking them. Whether it’s a curse from the beautiful Tamsen Donner (who some think might be a witch), their ill-advised choice of route through uncharted terrain, or just plain bad luck, the ninety men, women, and children of the Donner Party are heading into one of one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history.
      As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors start to wonder if there really is something disturbing, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains…and whether the evil that has unfolded around them may have in fact been growing within them all along.

      Effortlessly combining the supernatural and the historical, The Hungeris an eerie, thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.

    • Estimated Price: $17.20 on Amazon in paperback, $13.99 on Kindle.

Estimated Price of the Box: $48.19

Verdict: I thought this box was really cool! I got items that I’ll definitely use in my everyday life and I love learning about history, especially anything cannibalistic, so I’ll definitely have fun with this book!

In The Belly of Jonah (A Liv Bergen Mystery #1) by Sandra Brannan

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Thriller

Recommended Age: 18+ (violence, gore, slight sexual content)

Pages: 252

Author Website

Amazon Link

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free courtesy of the author for my review. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: In the Belly of Jonah is a fast-paced mystery with a likable protagonist and an intricately woven narrative brimming with bizarre yet believable twists. The first in a series, the book expertly lays the groundwork for Liv Bergen, amateur sleuth, and her love interest, FBI Agent Streeter Pierce. Liv becomes involved in the investigation of the murder of Jill Brannigan, a summer intern at the limestone mine Liv manages near Fort Collins, Colorado (a breathtaking setting that unwittingly becomes an accessory to crime). In doing so, she inadvertently puts her friends, her family, and herself at risk of being swallowed in the belly of a madman bloated with perverse appetites for women, surrealistic art, and renown.

As the gripping plot of In the Belly of Jonah unfolds, Liv Bergen takes her place alongside the best female crime-solvers as a woman with smarts, self-confidence, and intuitive savvy.

Another relief from the multitude of YA Fantasies and YA Sci-Fi and it was well received. I adored this thriller and it really made me rediscover the love I have for this genre. I thought the characters were well developed and the plot was intriguing. I also thought the pacing was really well done and I thought the evil villain was pretty unique. All in all this was an excellent thriller.

However, I did guess the villain within the first few pages of the book and I thought there was some cliché insta-love. Those were my only complaints with this book though!

Verdict: If you like mysteries and don’t mind knowing the villain, then this book is for you!

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

Rating: 3/5

 

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (death, statutory rape, twists and turns)

 

Pages: 406

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link to Order the Book

 

I received a free copy of this book through KidLitExchange. Thanks KidLitExchange and Gollancz. All opinions are my own.

 

Again, another mystery. These seem to really be hit or miss with me and I feel that I can’t find true equilibrium with mysteries nowadays. So I was a bit hesitant going into this book. This book is about a girl named Natasha who is found dead in a river, but is revived. She has memory loss and there is a big black hole as to what happened to her. Her two friends, Haley and Jenny, are acting suspicious and her ex friend Becca is dealing with relationship drama. You follow through the story to find out how Natasha ended up in the river. I liked how well developed the characters were and I found the overall plot interesting, but those are the only things I really enjoyed about this book.

 

I felt that this book had a lot of faulty police work, which bugs me the more I see it in these books and I felt that the pacing was a bit too slow for this book. I also felt that this book could have been a great mystery novel, but it was told way too early in the book what really happened and the rest of the book felt like it dragged on for me. But then again I’m really picky with mysteries so it might have just been my pickiness.

 

Verdict: If you want a book about friendship and romance that harkens back to Pretty Little Liars, then this is the book for you.

The Fuehrer’s Blood by Shreyens Zaveri

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 322

Amazon

I received a free copy of this book from Black Chateau and the author. All opinions are my own.

Han or ‘The Shadow’ as they call him is Hitler’s most trusted henchman & sniper who was last seen deep within illicit Russian territory. Now, on the 1st day of May 1945 the world rejoices as Hitler’s tyranny is crushed. The Red army has triumphantly marched into Berlin and right up to Hitler’s doorstep. On this fateful night, a mysterious band of Germans christened ‘Blood Moon’ unite in an underground shelter in Berlin. These men prepare for an unusual mission to march into a secret Red army operation base run by the ruthless Russian warlord Konstantin. At such an hour into the war only dire straits can push someone to do so and hence these Germans traverse to reach Han for he holds many secrets of the Reich. Secrets that can help them live free lives. While the Germans embark on this mission a terrible probability tips the scale against them. For in reality, Hitler has disappeared without trace and a startling new possibility comes to fore suggesting that the Nazi dictator still lives. An undying audacity of hope keeps them alive as they are thrust into their worst nightmares in Konstantin’s extermination camp. The Germans accidently stumble upon Hitler’s personal diary that leads to bigger pieces of the puzzle as they evade death at every step. They must now race against time to procure the necessary information and not only reach Han but also hunt down Hitler. – Amazon.com

I’m not usually one who likes war related books, but I do enjoy the World War II period. So when I saw this book up for grabs from Black Chateau, I had to grab it! I thought this book was a very well researched book and really well written. The characters were also very well crafted and the book makes for an amazing read.

Verdict: While I personally didn’t have anything I felt was bad about this book I do think that if you’re not a fan of historical books or thrillers, then you won’t enjoy this book as much. The book makes learning about the period not as boring as some think learning about history is, but if you’re not interested in the topic I don’t think this book will be for you.

Sara’s Game by Ernie Lindsey

Rating: 2/5

Genre: Thriller

Recommended Age: DNF-ed cannot recommend age.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review courtesy of Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

I think I’m in a DNF spree. I had to DNF this book after about 50ish pages. It’s not because the book was poorly written or not interesting, but because I knew how it would end from the beginning. And a spoilery look at the end proved my theory to be right. That completely ruined the book for me and while it was my fault I can’t help but wonder if the book could have been written in a different way to avoid the ending from being guessed completely at the beginning of the book.

Verdict: If you enjoy thrillers, please give this a read! It seems to be highly enjoyable for a lot of people and I hope one day to return to this book and reread it.

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Rating: 3/5

Genre: Mystery

Recommended Age: 16+ (language, violence, sexual lingo)

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinons are my own.

As addictive, cinematic, and binge-worthy a narrative as The Wire and The Killing, Two Girls Down introduces Louisa Luna as a thriller writer of immense talent and verve.
When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied.
With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever. – Amazon.com

I’ve had a mystery kick for the past few months, so I picked this book up when I saw it on Netgalley. For the most part I thought this book was really good! It was a good mystery with a twist I didn’t see coming. The plot was wonderfully well done and thought out and for the most part the main characters were very well developed. I really think that this book would do well in a series as apart of an ongoing mystery, Scooby-Doo type crime solving gang. However, I did have a bit of issues of with this book.

I really thought that while the main characters were developed, they felt a little awkward around each other, especially in how one character talks to another. I also felt that there were too many characters in the story who were not pertiant to the story. There were also a lot of loose ends that weren’t solved by the end of the book and the book had some lull periods where it felt like the author went off on tangents.

Verdict: Awesome mystery, but lots of loose ends. I like my mysteries to wrap up completely at the end and for everything to be eventually connected and I’m a little disappointed that this one wasn’t. It’s a preference though and some readers might not care. It definitely was a good mystery novel and it comes out on January 9th! Make sure to grab your copy if your a mystery lover!

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

Rating: 2/5

Genre: Thriller

Recommended Age: 18+ (adult content, torture, violence, trigger warnings for torture)

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.

And then one of them breaks the rules.

The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.

For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare. – Amazon.com

Let’s start off with my need for thrillers is completely gone now. I had to DNF this book because it got way to weird and uncomfortable for me. While I thought that the characters were well developed and the writing was pretty good, I got a Stepford Wives and The Gift vibe from this book and it really creeped me out to a point where I had a few nightmares about it. When that happens that’s when I call it quits on a book. Aside from the nightmares and the overall creepy vibe of this book, I felt that the books plot and pacing were off. It was probably my being uncomfortable that made this book too weird for me.

Verdict: I can’t really give a detailed review like I normally do because of how quickly I DNFed the book, but if you enjoy thrillers and if you loved reading The Stepford Wives or loved watching The Gift you might like this book!

Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka

Rating: 1.5/5

Genre: Thriller (more about this in the review)

Recommended Age: 16+ (violence, witchcraft, stalking, murder)

I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both. In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory.

Compulsively readable and powerfully moving, Girl in Snow offers an unforgettable reading experience and introduces a singular new talent in Danya Kukafka. – Amazon.com

In the wake of Murder on the Orient Express becoming a movie, I had an itching for some thrillers. One I’ve had on my to-read list was this book. The synopsis sounded good and so I decided to give it a try. In the end I had to DNF this book. The good points about this book is that it’s not a typical thriller and it has more of a YA feel to it. The book focuses on the suspects rather than the crime. The book was interesting in that it left the reader in suspense on who the actual perpetrator was. However, those were the only things I thought were good about the book.

I had a hard time reading this book because of how drawn-out the writing was. The author constantly went off on tangents and the author seems to have the Stephen King syndrome of writing in which an author will write for awhile on a topic in the book that has no point to the plot whatsoever. It became very hard to wade through all of the detail to get to the meat of the story and it was the main reason I DNF’d the book. Because of how the book was written, the plot and pacing heavily suffered from the writing. The plot was lost in the words and the pacing drew to a standstill at several times in the book. The characters in the book were also not very well developed at the point I stopped reading and they were very weird choices for main characters (2 of them being high schoolers) considering that this book was supposed to be an adult thriller. The victim is not a character I found myself to care about and the professionals in this book seemed to be way too dumb to be realistic. The book really shouldn’t have been marketed as a thriller because you spend more time on the suspects and not on the crime. This book also switches between multiple POVs.

Verdict: Overall, I found this book to not be my cup of tea. It was the opposite of everything I hoped for and skimming the back it seems like the ending and the killer is a cliché type character. I think this book could have been rewrote in so many different ways and it really could have been better if it focused on the crime rather than the daily lives of the suspects. Give this book a try if you want to read something different than your usual thriller.