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

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

ARC Book Review: Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult thriller/horror
Length: 416 pages
Author: Kate Alice Marshall
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 16th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kara Thomas meets Twin Peaks in this supernatural thriller about one girl’s hunt for the truth about her mother’s disappearance in Kate Alice Marshall’s most commercial book yet.

Sophia’s first memory is of drowning. She remembers the darkness of the water and the briny taste as it fills her throat. She remembers the cold shock of going under. She remembers her mother pulling her to safety before disappearing forever. But Sophia has never been in the ocean. And her mother died years ago in a hospital. Or so she has been told her whole life.

A series of clues have led Sophia to the island of Bitter Rock, Alaska, where she talked her way into a summer internship at the Landon Avian Research Center, the same center her mother worked at right before she died. There, she meets the disarmingly clever Liam, whose own mother runs the LARC, as well as Abby, who’s following a mystery of her own: a series of unexplained disappearances. People have been vanishing from Bitter Rock for decades, leaving only their ghostly echoes behind. When it looks like their two mysteries might be one and the same, Sophia vows to dig up the truth, no matter how many lies she has to tell along the way. Even if it leads her to a truth she may not want to face.

Our Last Echoes is an eerie collection of found documents and written confessionals, in the style of Rules for Vanishing, with supernatural twists that keep you questioning what is true and what is an illusion. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

CONVOLUTED.

Yes. I enjoyed this. But also yes, some of this went over my head.

This is totally CREEEEEPY. Granted, I’m a wimp when it comes to thriller/horror books, but still. I preferred to read this in the daylight hours and I accept that. The mist and twisted souls wandering around had me second guessing every character in the book (with good reason).

I liked the formatting of this one with flashbacks (and forwards) to “videos” of what was happening at different times on the island. Also, who would even want to stay on this island!?!?

What kind of lost me, was the last quarter or so. I didn’t quite get what all of the echoes were doing, who they were following (and why), and a few other questions. A lot more world-building and deeper explanations would have helped me make sense of everything with Sophia and the echoes.

This is a highly atmospheric read and I think that’s why I thought it was intensely chilling. It kept me flipping pages fast and furious to see who survived and made it out alive. I enjoyed the characters and while I didn’t think the sub-plot of romance was all that necessary, I didn’t mind it. I liked that this group worked together to suss out the entities wreaking havoc on Bitter Rock.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult thriller/horror
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder, attacks by supernatural entities

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: A Good Girls Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1) by Holly Jackson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Mystery/Thriller
Length: 400 pages
Author: Holly Jackson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: February 4th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.

I LIKED THIS Y’ALL.

I’m not a thriller person. Never have been. It takes some amazing reviews and friends saying how good one is for me to pick it up. This was the case for A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. After so many saying how it blew their minds, I knew I had to read it. And I loved it! I also highly recommend the audio book. It was wonderfully put together.

Oh wow, this definitely kept me guessing. I spent most of my time trying to figure out who was the actual murder, if there was an actual murder, who was good, bad, all the things! I love how difficult it was to make heads or tails of any of the suspects. The number one thing I look for in a thriller is how easy it is for me to pick out the murderer. This was NOT the case here.

The only part I found kind of laughable was Pippa. Don’t get me wrong, I thought she was a fantastic main character. It was the fact that she at 17 (maybe 18?) was acting like a well-seasoned detective agent and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes sometimes. She was clearly way in over her head and doing more than I could reasonably believe. When I could look past that, the book was solid. Well written and put together in such a a way that you never want to stop reading.

I liked the small romance plot-line (we know I’m a sucker for these). It moved well alongside the original story. My heart ached for many of these characters and the awful situations they were put through. I liked the way the side characters played into this and the genuine work I could see from the author to craft a such a intricate web of lies and deceit, with plenty of WHAT moments.

If you’re even slightly interested in thrillers (aka me) definitely check this one out!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult thriller
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder; see trigger warnings
  • Trigger warnings: suicide (method explained), self-harm, murder, underage drug/alcohol use, drunk driving, hit and run, animal/pet death, rape (using rohypnols)

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying #2) by Karen M. McManus

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Mystery/Thriller
Length: 384 pages
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Delacorte Press for Young Readers
Release Date: January 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling thriller everyone is talking about, One of Us Is Lying! There’s a new mystery to solve at Bayview High, and there’s a whole new set of rules.

Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.

A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.

Until now.

This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game.

Truth or Dare.

Phoebe’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark.

Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.

But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.

Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules.

ANOTHER GREAT READ BY THIS AUTHOR.

Oh guys. We all know I’m not a big thriller fan, but McManus continually sways me to that side with her compelling YA centered novels. I loved this second book and thought it wove the characters from One of Us is Lying seamlessly together to bring another book that kept me on edge.

I can’t be the only one that doesn’t love NOT knowing who’s the bad guy in mystery books? This one did a great job of keeping me in the dark until almost the reveal. I was super excited when I started whispering to myself, OH IT’S —- [redacted, of course]. One of Us Is Next always had a heightened sense of drama to it. It wasn’t a basic tale of why they were doing such things, but a deeper tale of grief and anger that can consume someone.

As a romance lover, I adored the tiny tidbits throughout for our characters. It never overshadowed the plot, but gave the characters another layer. Phoebe, Maeve and Knox each had a nuanced level of complexity and personal issues that made me love each one on their own and as a group of friends.

The story was twisted and had a good flair for theatrics. I was surprised by some of the details and secrets that came out. Plenty of tense moments and quick flipping pages to get to the bottom of the mystery!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult mystery/thriller
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: some kisses/make-outs, general discussion of sex life
  • Violence: murder, physical
  • Trigger warnings: sexual assault (unwanted kissing/grabbing – Ch. 8), slut shaming, bullying

Instagram || Goodreads