Book Review

Book Review: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Thriller/Mystery
Length: 336 pages
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: December 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious–and dark–their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over–and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

TWISTED.

McManus tends to keep me on my toes. This was once again the case in The Cousins.

A audio book tangent: I loved it. Had a full cast and great narration if you want to read it in this format!

Anywho, what a wild web that was woven in this story. There’s lots of twists, not a ton of action, and plenty of mystery. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I’m reading and don’t catch some of the twists. One of the twists really blind-sided me and I was like WHAAAAT. So that’s fun. I tend to base my ratings/thoughts on thrillers by how well it kept me in the dark. This did a pretty good job.

There’s many, many unlikeable characters. I think I came to like 2 or 3 of them by the end. And there’s flashbacks here too! I thought they fit in well to the story, even if I always think flashbacks kind of take you out of the present plot. These were necessary or honestly, I don’t know what would be happening.

Definitely an interesting story. I was entertained and sometimes that’s all I’m looking for in a read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult mystery/thriller
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: multiple murders, miscarriage, car wreck with a death, loss of loved one(s), alcoholism

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Book Review

Book Review: The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. #4) by Jonathan Stroud

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy / horror / mystery
Length: 445 pages
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: September 13th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After leaving Lockwood & Co. at the end of The Hollow Boy, Lucy is a freelance operative, hiring herself out to agencies that value her ever-improving skills. One day she is pleasantly surprised by a visit from Lockwood, who tells her he needs a good Listener for a tough assignment. Penelope Fittes, the leader of the giant Fittes Agency wants them–and only them–to locate and remove the Source for the legendary Brixton Cannibal. They succeed in their very dangerous task, but tensions remain high between Lucy and the other agents. Even the skull in the jar talks to her like a jilted lover. What will it take to reunite the team? Black marketeers, an informant ghost, a Spirit Cape that transports the wearer, and mysteries involving Steve Rotwell and Penelope Fittes just may do the trick. But, in a shocking cliffhanger ending, the team learns that someone has been manipulating them all along.

I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU.

Droppin’ the FRIENDS theme song for you today because it’s my favorite and highly applicable to my thoughts on The Creeping Shadow.

I loooove this friend group. Lockwood, Lucy, George and Holly. I like their banter, the way they care about each other, the relentless support, all of it. This is my go-to friend group in books I’ve read recently. They’re what make this book. Honestly though, I’m really hear for Lockwood and Lucy. I love them (they better love each other) and I’m secretly hoping for some kind of extra connection come the finale – a girl can dream!

This is my kind of horror. Substantially creepy, but still within bounds that I can handle. This definitely stepped it up a notch. The amount of ghosts, descriptions of murders and more really amped up the scene. I love that I even got to see a bit of the other side. I’m curious how that will affect them going on.

Talk about some bombs being dropped. Those last few scenes really dropped my jaw. I know I must get this last book to get answers. I’m excited for how everything set up and love that each case throughout the series have led them here. Things weren’t all for willy-nilly and that’s what keeps me going back for more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult mystery / horror
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: guns, knives, explosions, bombs, physical, swords, ghost attacks

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Book Review

Book Review: A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell #3) by Deanna Raybourn

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Mystery / Historical fiction
Length: 308 pages
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Berkley Penguin Random House
Release Date: January 16th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker.

His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past.

Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. 

LONGEST SLOW-BURN EVER.

STILL NOTHING.

EVEN LESS NOTHING THAN THE FIRST TWO BOOKS. Ugh. It’s entirely annoying at this point. Only because you know where it’s going, and I don’t like that it’s been carried out this long. Veronica and Stoker are destined to be together and heaven help me if that doesn’t happen in book four.

Otherwise, this book was a bit meh. Definitely one of those middle of the series books that isn’t packing a lot of punch. I didn’t love the mystery because it was a stretch compared to the previous two books. And I really didn’t love the trigger warning (see notes at the bottom) for how the mystery ended. I think that could have been handled in a better way.

I did like that the mystery gave us allllllll the history for Stoker. I finally got all of the answers I was craving and the tidbits of information that formed a solid background for him. I met his terrible former wife and in-laws, and saw a whole new side to the mystery of what happened in South America. This only made my love for Stoker grow. I love that brash cinnamon roll.

Veronica was still her fabulous self. I love her heroism and strength in making her own decisions. I don’t love all of her philosophies, but I appreciate her determination to do things as she wants to.

Forever hoping to have that *realization moment* between Veronica and Stoker.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery / Historical fiction
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none, just a lot of innuendo
  • Violence: murder, physical
  • Trigger warnings: cheating spouse, Chapter 19: murder-suicide by a gun

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Book Review

Book Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Thriller + Mystery
Length: 342 pages
Author: Riley Sager
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: July 11th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
 
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
 
That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

IT WAS ALRIGHT.

This is the second book by Sager I’ve picked up, and y’all. I’m still not a FAN. The books are fine, and some of the twists at the end get me, but it takes so long to get there I question my choices in taking the time to read that long.

The beginning really brought me into the story. I was curious with what was happening (didn’t trust it of course) and wanted to know more. During the middle section though, I still don’t fully understand the point of it. It was 100 pages of filler scenes in getting more of Quincy’s personality and getting to know Samantha, but it felt stilted. I was expecting more involving the murder and instead was left hanging.

I found at least a little of it creepy. The flashbacks to the Pine Cottage, CREEPY. It’s convinced me I never want a cabin in the woods, everrrrrrr. Which is fine with me. Everything else didn’t spook me out. I’m reading a thriller, I want to feel at least a little panicked at times.

The twists at the end did TOTALLY surprise me. I didn’t see them coming and want to be completely vague because I think it’s more enjoyable that way. There was some information I didn’t love or appreciate happening, which rubbed me the wrong way and brought the book down all together for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Thriller + Mystery book
  • Language: strong language throughout
  • Romance: some detailed love scenes, a lot of casual sex, kissing, etc.
  • Violence: murder, physical, guns, very descriptive and bloody/gory
  • Trigger warnings: sexual assault, murder, a murder thought to be a suicide, suicide ideation, cheating

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