Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens ~ #BookReview #netgalley

April 12, 2017




Title: Never Let You Go
Author: Chevy Stevens
Publication date: March 14, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley


My Rating:




https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31840317-never-let-you-go


http://booklikes.com/never-let-you-go-chevy-stevens/book,13742228



Synopsis



Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life.

Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

With Never Let You Go, Chevy Stevens delivers a chilling, twisting thriller that crackles with suspense as it explores the darkest heart of love and obsession.




Never Let You Go is the first book I've read by Chevy Stevens, and won't be my last. I've noticed the covers of her novels over the years and have always been captivated by them, making me wonder what stories lie within. She is an excellent writer, ramping up the tension at the right moments and causing you to question what you think you know about the characters. I loved it.

Never Let You Go is a gripping thriller that delivers a punch to the gut. Told from Lindsey and Sophie's (Lindsey's daughter) POVs as well as alternating between the past and present, I wasn't sure at first how all of that was going to work. However, I thought including scenes from the past was genius because they illustrated just how much danger Lindsey and Sophie were in with Lindsey's ex-husband (and Sophie's father), Andrew.

Andrew operates in an insidious way, and his subtle threats wouldn't have had the same impact if Lindsey had simply described her past. The reader needed to see and experience the various methods Andrew used to make sure Lindsey was under his control and miserable. During those scenes, Lindsey's suffocation from her controlling husband was palpable - I experienced those feelings right along with her.

I couldn't imagine having a father like Andrew, so when he gets out of prison, it's understandable for Sophie to desperately look for anything redeeming about her father despite everything her mother has told her about him. Still, I wanted her to stop making what I considered to be dumb decisions that could put her and her mom in danger.

I also thought it clever for the author to include other characters that had the potential to be a threat to Lindsey and Sophie. My only issue was that there might have been too many, and I started figuring out what was going on before I wanted to. I wanted to be kept guessing right up until the very end. I still highly recommend Never Let You Go for those like me who are constantly seeking new thrillers to sink their teeth into.

Trigger Warning: There's a scene where a puppy is harmed but not injured or killed.

Tweet: Newest thriller by Chevy Stevens is perfect for fans of 'The Girl on the Train' and 'Gone Girl.' https://ctt.ec/5I1r6+

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber ~ #bookreview #youngadult

~Jennifer~ | 9:37 PM | | Please comment!

April 2, 2017




Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publication Date: Flatiron Books
Publisher: January 31, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

My Rating:



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27883214-caraval?ac=1&from_search=true

http://booklikes.com/caraval-stephanie-g-garber/book,13662335

Synopsis


Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.






I was super stoked when I was approved for Caraval on NetGalley. Like jumping up and down excited because I had a strong feeling this was going to be an epically awesome story, and my instincts were right. As a matter of fact, when I was 20% into the book, I loved it so much I went to the store and bought a copy.

I was entranced by Caraval just as the main characters Scarlett and her sister Tella were in the book. The rich, well developed world building made me feel like I was really there, experiencing the game along with Scarlett. It's a magical place where nothing is as it seems. How can I tell you how spectacular this novel is?? I'm trying to describe it but am failing miserably. You'll have to read it. Please, I beg of you.

Caraval is a debut novel with incredible writing, and I have a feeling there will be more to come, not just from Stephanie Garber but also from the world of Caraval. I'm looking forward to every future word.

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The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu ~ @NetGalley #bookreview

~Jennifer~ | 12:53 PM | | Please comment!

March 27, 2017 




Title: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley


My Rating



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16068341-the-truth-about-alice?ac=1&from_search=true

http://booklikes.com/the-truth-about-alice-jennifer-mathieu/book,9580993

Synopsis


Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.

But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?

It's true. Ask ANYBODY.


Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.




The Truth About Alice is a quick read, and I was able to read it in one night. It was well written but also painful because I could see the direction the story was headed, and it wasn't going to be a good place. My heart went out to Alice right away.

Told from the POV of four different (yet stereotyped)characters, The Truth About Alice is a brutal and realistic look into how horrible teens can be to one another. The way Alice was bullied was heartbreaking, and by the way, she received no solace at home because her life there wasn't much better with a mom who's checked out mentally and physically.

I fully expected to hate the popular girl who threw the party, Elaine, the most, but I ended up hating Kelsie, Alice's ex-BFF, more. I felt the rumor Kelsie began spreading about Alice was way over the top, and while she did it out of sheer desperation, I still wanted to wring her neck. I mean, wow. That was messed up.

The friendship that blossomed between Kurt, stereotyped as a social misfit, and Alice was a breath of fresh air. I think Kurt was my favorite character because he was there for Alice when no one else was. I knew what he was thinking and that his motives were pure since I got his POV.  

Josh, the survivor of the car wreck, was just kind of blah for me. I thought the secret he was hiding was interesting, and I caught on to it right away; however, he didn't have much of his own personality.  


My mind is blown by how simultaneously amazing and scary one lie can snowball into so many and ruin so many people's lives in the process. Just when the rumors seemed like they couldn't get any worse, they did.

I couldn't put The Truth About Alice down. The deeper I became immersed in the story, the more information I was given which allowed me to start piecing together what really happened that night. There were some surprises along the way, and once I finished reading, I took some time to digest it all.

I did take off a star for the characters being entrenched in stereotypes. Otherwise, I do recommend The Truth About Alice, especially to teens who can likely (and unfortunately) relate to the bullying and rumor spreading that goes on in this book.

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To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough ~ #bookreview

~Jennifer~ | 9:00 AM | | Please comment!

January 31, 2017



Title: To Catch a Killer
Author: Sheryl Scarborough
Publication date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Special Note: I received a preview of the first 14 chapters and will rate the book once I've read it in its entirety. :)






Synopsis


Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case—which remains unsolved—fascinated a nation. Her father's identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother's best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past.

Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother's killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she's secretly doing on her own.


Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she's close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it's too late. 


 

I received a 14 chapter preview of To Catch a Killer from Netgalley via the publisher, and I can't wait to read the entire novel. I'm dying to finish Erin's story and am definitely going to buy a copy when it's published, which isn't too long from now. *flails*

The length of the preview was more than I expected, and I kept an eye on how much was left so when it ended I wouldn't be too jarred and traumatized. ;) I'm invested in this story and the characters, and am anxiously waiting to find out how everything is going to play out.


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The Other Inheritance by Rebecca Jaycox ~ #bookreview

~Jennifer~ | 1:36 PM | | Please comment!

January 30, 2017



Title: The Other Inheritance
Series: The Inheritance #1 
Author: Rebecca Jaycox
Publication date: February 1, 2017 (first pub Nov. 2014)
Publisher: Aelurus Publishing
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

My Rating:  









Synopsis


One girl. Two worlds. Hunted in both.

Seventeen-year-old Reggie Lang is used to dealing with her alcoholic mother and fighting school bullies, but fate has thrown her a curve ball.

A biker dude shows up in her dreams, babbling about magic and a world called the Other. As the incidents keep piling up—like bringing a frog back to life in class—Reggie has to confront the mounting evidence that she’s not the normal girl she craves to be.

Reggie's life is changing, and she has no idea why. Or whether she should believe the man in her dreams, who claims she's in danger and that only he can keep her safe. But if there's one thing Reggie will learn, nowhere is safe.
 



The Other Inheritance delves into the YA world of fantasy and sci fi with a plot that brings you into the story quickly. One problem I had was that the pacing felt way too fast. I needed time to get to know the characters and what was going on before the action took over.  

I didn't hate this book but didn't love it either. As a main character, 17-year-old Reggie is ok - she's tough as well as vulnerable, yet doesn't speak or think like someone her age, which I'll explain in a minute. She was also too trusting of strangers and was okay almost immediately when she found out there's another realm called "the Other." That would take some time for me to digest, personally.  

I'm no prude. Sexuality and cussing in YA books don't bother me, but in this case they did. Reggie cusses every other sentence, and she can be completely crass. I cringed when she called another girl's breasts "tits" in order to insult her. Granted the girl was a bully; however, I just don't see a young teenage girl saying that to someone to insult them. I also know teenagers cuss, but every other sentence?

Also for a girl who recently lost her virginity, Reggie sure is comfortable talking about it openly, and sometimes sex is mentioned by other characters in a crude manner. I found it unbelievable and unnecessary. Reggie only just met the guy.

The action scenes were well written, and I liked the world building. While I wasn't connected to Reggie, I ended up being connected to one of the characters she meets in the Other.

The ending of The Other Inheritance was abrupt even for being the first book in a series. I was shocked when it ended and felt like it almost ended in the middle of a sentence. I am planning on reading the next novel to see if the loose ends from this novel will be tied up and to find out what happens next.     

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick ~ #bookreview

~Jennifer~ | 4:51 PM | | Please comment!

Title: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep?
Series: Blade Runner #1
Author: Philip K. Dick
Published: 1968
Source: Borrowed from library

My Rating:




https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7082.Do_Androids_Dream_of_Electric_Sheep_?ac=1&from_search=true


http://booklikes.com/do-androids-dream-of-electric-sheep-philip-k-dick-robert-zelazny/book,107659


Synopsis


By 2021, the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remain covet any living creature, and for people who can't afford one, companies have built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. They've even built humans.

Emigrées to Mars receive androids so sophisticated it's impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government bans them from Earth, but when androids don't want to be identified, they just blend in. Rick Deckard is an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job is to find rogue androids and retire them, but cornered, androids tend to fight back--with deadly results.




I can't remember where I heard about Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? as I've never seen Blade Runner but am so glad I read this book. One of my favorite things about science fiction is that it delves into an exploration of human existence and what can go right as well as what can go horribly wrong. It gives me a lot to think about, and I really like that.

In a post apocalyptic San Francisco, a man named Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter assigned to kill, or retire, androids ("andys"). As you'd imagine, it's a depressing world where most of humanity is either dead, sick from the nuclear fallout or have emigrated to Mars. Animals have pretty much died out except for a select few which are super expensive to own. To buy one you have to take out a loan as though you're buying a car.

There were really cool twists I didn't see coming. Who's an android and who isn't? Rick has to give a test that's designed to tell an android from a human, but how effective is it? I thought about how hated the androids are and how afraid humans were of losing what's left of humanity. I think that's always been a very real fear as long as humans have been around.  
   
Sometimes there were a few spots where I wish things had been explained a little more clearly, such as Mercerism, which was like a religion. It probably just went over my head, haha.

Ack, I wish I could explain how I felt and what I thought after finishing this novel. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is written so well, and my review can't do it justice. If only you guys could see into my brain for just a quick minute! My thoughts are so complicated, I can't even. Can't. Even. 

Read this book! It's especially fitting with the struggles the world is now facing and will be facing in the future. 
    
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You (You #1) & Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline Kepnes ~ #bookreview

Book One



Title: You
Series: You #1
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Published: 9/30/14
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books                          
Source: Borrowed from library


My Rating:









Synopsis 

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.





I'm going through a thriller phase right now. Over the last couple of months, I've read four or five of them and have enjoyed them all. After reading a review for Behind Closed Doors, I happened to see a comment on the review recommending this series, and that's all it took. I was sold.

You was edgy, scary and fun. I love unreliable narrators, and it was pretty clear from the beginning I couldn't trust Joe's version of events. He's a stalker, for one, and two, he has a distorted view of what a relationship should be like.

I'm still trying to figure out how he finagled his way into transforming himself from Beck's stalker to her boyfriend. Obviously she didn't realize she was being stalked, but still. He's just so smooth that one would never suspect there's a dark and dangerous side to him. He's well read and intelligent, and on the outside appeared to be "normal."  

For a few weeks everything's peachy, but I knew Joe and Beck were heading off the rails at any moment. He was too freaky about her, and really, I didn't think there was anything special about her. She was quite annoying as a matter of fact - someone I'd never want to hang out with.

As unhealthy and unattainable his views on relationships are, Beck was never going to give him what he wanted. I saw that from the get-go. She had issues herself, like a complete lack of self respect and the attention span of a gnat. 

You had plenty of surprises and held my attention throughout, and as weird as this sounds, I actually wanted more of Joe. He weaves an interesting tale and seeing the inner workings of his mind is disturbing but also like a train wreck - you can't look away.     

Book Two




Title: Hidden Bodies
Series: You #2
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Published: 2/23/16
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio  
Narrated by: Santino Fontana
Length: 13 hours, 3 minutes                                          
Source: Borrowed from library



My Rating:




 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23492288-hidden-bodies


http://booklikes.com/hidden-bodies-caroline-kepnes/book,13038083


Synopsis


Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice...  
 

*Audiobook edition review*

Hmmm...Hidden Bodies didn't live up to its predecessor, You. I think part of the problem was the emphasis on secondary characters who weren't interesting. Joe seemed tamer this time around, and there were parts I had to listen to repeatedly because I kept zoning out leaving me to wonder if I missed something important. But nope, I never did. Those moments were mostly in the beginning when Joe meets his new girlfriend Love's family. There just wasn't enough of what made the first novel so likable for  me.

I listened to a huge chunk of Hidden Bodies in one day once I was in the middle of the story - I had to know what was going to happen! Another strange thing I encountered was some of the story depressed me, and I almost had to take a break from listening but didn't really want to stop. I became so wrapped up in it I had to remind myself I wasn't in the story, and that's likely because I spent 4 or 5 hours in a row listening to it.

Santino Fontana as the narrator was fantastic. His voice was exactly how I thought Joe would sound. I quite enjoyed his Californian accent for the local characters. There are parts of Hidden Bodies I'd listen to over again just because of his talented reading of this novel. So while the story didn't live up to the first novel, I would still recommend it because you need more Joe in your life like I did, haha! I really hope there's a third book and that it can capture the essence of the first novel!
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