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Genre: Thrillers

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer, Book 2
Also in this series: The Fixer
Published by Bloomsbury on 07 Jun 2016
Genres: Abduction, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Politics & Intrigue, Social Issues, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Fixer, The Naturals

Place(s) Traveled To: Washington, DC

First Line(s): “Tess, has anyone ever told you that you’re an absolute vision when you’re plotting something?” Asher Rhodes shot a lazy grin in my direction.

I don’t know about you dear reader but I was crazy excited to be able to get my hands on THE LONG GAME after finishing the wild ride that was THE FIXER!! There was an ending with THE FIXER but there were also just enough threads to leave this reader lusting for more and THE LONG GAME did not disappoint! THE LONG GAME picks up almost immediately after the events in THE FIXER end only the mysteries are bigger and the stakes higher and poor Tess may just be a tad bit over her head. Tess is still reeling from revelations that happened in THE FIXER and dealing the the consequences of that story so she really doesn’t need anything else going on. But trouble as a way of finding Tess and she just can’t let sleeping dogs lie. After all, who can be a normal teenager when your related to the biggest fixer in DC and go to one of the most elite schools in America?

I was totally sucked into this story right from page one and really hated to put it down for such mundane things as sleep or food. I just needed to see where Jennifer Lynn Barnes would take the story even as she broke my heart a time or two in the process. As I said above the stakes are higher in THE LONG GAME, lives are at stake and there is betrayal around every corner. The twists are twister and Barnes does an amazing job at keeping the reader guessing while not being so obtuse that the big reveal comes out of left field. THE LONG GAME is a crazy intense ride and its so hard to talk about without giving anything away.

One thing I really liked in THE LONG GAME is how Tess really comes into her own despite all the upheavals in her life. She is strong and smart and can take care of so much on her own but she always knows when things are above her and to ask for help. She may run head long into danger at times but she always makes sure that help is on the way. I also like how this series is not romance focused. Yes, there is a romance in the book but it sits more on the sidelines as THE LONG GAME is a straight up thriller. Its a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat while occasionally making you laugh and a few breaks in tension for a kiss or two.

I also really really really hope that this isn’t the end for this series because I would love to see more from Tess and the gang. Especially with some of the reveals that happened in THE LONG GAME. There are still threads that could be followed to bigger and crazier things. Although, I am not entirely sure that my heart could take more of the intensity that Barnes brings to this story. For me, THE LONG GAME was a total edge of my seat read and I count it as one of my top books of the year. You are really missing out on good crafty story telling if you haven’t picked up this series yet. There really aren’t words to describe how good it is just know that you won’t be disappointed if you pick up these books. If you are, then we can’t be friends. (kidding….maybe…gives you haters the stink eye)

intense

 

irishdarkblue IR - The Fixer

 

Add The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes to Goodreads. (click here for my review.)

Add Clarity by Kim Harrington to Goodreads. (click here for my review.)

Add Also Known As by Robin Benway to Goodreads. (click here for my review.)

five-stars
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Monday, May 30, 2016

Audio Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Audiobook, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: You by Caroline KepnesYou by Caroline Kepnes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Series: You,
Also in this series: Hidden Bodies (You, #2)
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 30 Sept 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Suspense, Thrillers
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Hidden Bodies (You, #2)

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Bridgeport, Connecticut // Little Compton, Rhode Island // Fall River, Massachusetts

First Line(s): You walk into the bookstore and you keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn’t slam.

 

My first thought upon finishing YOU by Caroline Kepnes was “what the heck did I just read?” but more than that I was lost in just how good it was. YOU is supremely well written and takes a character, in this case Joe Goldberg, who is a terrible terrible person and makes you LIKE him. Not just that but you kind of sympathize with him and understand why he is doing what he is doing. Which is a total mind fuck since Joe is a deranged stalker who kills people and so shouldn’t be a sympathetic character. From the moment that I started YOU on audio I was enthralled. Santino Fontana *is* Joe Goldberg and he totally brings this character and this world to life. I can’t imagine experiencing this book in any other format than the audio because Fontana is just such a great narrator. He gave me chills and he made me like Joe. Again, Joe is not a character to like so its slightly disturbing and part of what makes YOU such a good book.

I know that YOU isn’t a book that is for everyone and I think that a reader will either love it or hate it. I don’t think that there is any shades of grey with this one. Because Joe is crazy. There is no way around it but the people that he meets aren’t the best either. Not that any of them deserve their fate but when you see them through Joe’s eyes and hear his thoughts you can believe his rationale as it works for him. Even as you sit on the edge of your seat begging the other person to make a different choice since you know what Joe has planned if they make the wrong one. Before I read YOU I really didn’t think it would be a book that I would like but after…well…after I found it hard to leave Kepne’s world behind because she is just so talented and her words so powerful that I wanted the story to last.

You Quote

If you like thrillers and audiobooks that I strongly recommend that you experience YOU in that format. I think that the spoken word is just so powerful at times and with Fontana as the narrator it almost feels like you are sitting across form Joe listening to him tell his story. Which is terrifying since, as I’ve said, he’s a crazy stalker who kills people and not the sort of person that you ever want to cross paths with. Joe is a total sociopath and I just bow down to Kepnes in her characterization of this character. Joe is just so real that you really think he’s in the room with you as this book progresses whispering in your ear and sending chills down your spine. The images that Kepnes’s words evoke are so vivid that if I closed my eyes I could picture each and every one.

YOU was a fantastic listening experience and one that I wish I could experience again for the first time. This is seriously one of my favorite reads of the year and I like it more the more I think back on it. YOU is the sort of book that stays with you long after you read it and is a really hard experience to describe to others. I could not stop listening to this book and think its unlike any other story out there. Its totally riveting and I really can’t wait to see what Kepnes comes up with next. If you haven’t experienced this book yet then you need to move it up your TBR pile. I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed!!

irishdarkblue

IR - You

Add Stolen by Lucy Christopher to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

As of this posting, there is only one book that I can think of that makes a good read-a-like for YOU. If I think of something later then I will update this post. Or if you know of I good read-a-like then let me know in the comments and I’ll credit you and link back to your review!

five-stars
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Dead House by Dawn KurtagichThe Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 15 Sept 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Suspense, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Somerset, England

First Line(s): I curse anyone who reads this book. If you touch it, hell will be waiting. Screw you. Happy reading.

THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich is the a YA debut murder mystery story. Its told using mixed media or “found” documents after there is a fire at a boarding school that resulted in the deaths of a couple of students and another,Carly, to disappear without a trace. Twenty years after the events in question Carly’s diary is found and that is the main source material used to tell this story. The reader quickly learns that Carly isn’t your average teenager. Because at night she’s no longer Carly and she becomes Kaitlyn. The two girls, though they share a body, are two very different people and they lead two very different lives and yet they somehow manage to coexist. It is never clear throughout the telling of THE DEAD HOUSE which personality is the original and which is the alter.

THE DEAD HOUSE is a quick read because of its format and I thought that the story was well written and engaging as I was reading it. However, the more time that passes between my reading of the book the more story itself fades into the background. When I finished THE DEAD HOUSE I wasn’t sure what to make of the story and now a few months later I am still unsure of it. There didn’t seem to be much in the way of resolution and it felt a little open ended as if there might be a sequel at some point in the future. I also expected THE DEAD HOUSE to be a creepier story than it was and maybe the audio version incorporates the creep factor in better. Though I’m not sure how well this mixed media style would work in audio form.

The Dead House Quote

Overall, I was left a little underwhelmed with THE DEAD HOUSE. It was interesting and yet at the same time its also forgettable. I feel like I’m missing something when I see all the rave reviews of this story. Because for me there wasn’t a whole ton of substance. We got the facts and nothing but and we never really got a solution to the mystery at large. Who was Carly/Kaitlyn really? Where did she go after the fire? Or was she a victim that was never found? In the end I was left with more questions than answers so was left thinking that the whole story was just average.

Other than the main mystery of the fire, there are several other things going on from potential paranormal aspects to cults and mysterious events that happened years before the fire. There is a lot of detail given and yet not a lot at the same time. THE DEAD HOUSE is a weird little novel that I liked but didn’t love and maybe it is one that I should re-read to see if its one of those stories that makes more sense the more its read. Although, I really don’t have a whole heck of a lot of desire to re-read this one. THE DEAD HOUSE wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t what I was expecting either and so maybe that’s part of where my disappointment comes in. If you liked mixed media and ghost stories then maybe you’ll like this one too.

irishdarkblue

IR - Dead House

Add The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender to Goodreads.

Add Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer LathamScarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 19 May 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Arabian, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Magic, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Las Almas Bay, Unknown

First Line(s): The kid was cute. Her bare, knobbly legs swung back and forth like pendulums between the chipped legs of my client chair.

Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham was a book that I was really looking forward to reading this year as its a debut novel featuring a Muslim-American. Yay diversity!! And while I did like the story I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would. Scarlet Undercover was a quick read but it wasn’t as mysterious or suspenseful as I was hoping it would be. Much of the mysterious elements came in the form of characters being cryptic and not revealing what they knew in a timely manner. This just frustrated me to no end because so much could have been avoided if the various characters didn’t keep secrets and just communicated with each other. Also, being cryptic is not the same as laying red herrings and weaving  a tapestry of misdirection and false truths until you get to the big reveal.

I did enjoy the character of Scarlett but did find elements of her character to be a bit unrealistic. The secondary characters were also interesting but none of them ever really shined all that bright. While I often enjoyed Scarlett’s voice when looking back I find both her and her friends and family to all be forgettable. There is a romance element to this story but like the overall mystery its a bit lukewarm and falls short of creating that heart achy feels that I so love in a story. Again, the romance and the mystery all suffer from lack of communication and as such the love interest and the story line could have all been easily resolved if people just talked to each other.

Scarlett Undercover Quote

The plot pacing of Scarlett Undercover could have also been better. So much happened due to convenience and it often made my eyes roll when events and people just appeared and disappeared exactly when needed. Despite all my high hopes for Scarlett Undercover I was left underwhelmed with the story. I also felt that the ending was a bit rushed and then there were all the unresolved threads. As far as I know Scarlett Undercover is a standalone book but there is definitely enough left open to spawn a sequel or two. Which, if it happens, I’m on the fence on if I would read it or not because while this book was just ok I never really became invested in the story.

I did like that Scarlett was smart and sassy as well as being a diverse heroine. This book was bursting with diversity which is a good thing but sometimes felt a little forced. Just as the paranormal elements of this book felt forced because they were just randomly tossed in and not fully explained or developed. Scarlett Undercover was just an ok read for me but if you are looking for some snarky diversity then you should check it out.

irishdarkblue

IR - Scarlett Undercover

Add Clarity by Kim Harrington to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Review: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Horrorstor by Grady HendrixHorrorstör by Grady Hendrix
Published by Quirk Books on 23 September 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 243
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Cleveland, Ohio

First Line(s): It was dawn, and the zombies were stumbling through the parking lot, streaming toward the massive beige box at the far end.

 I remember when I started to read Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix someone in my Twitter stream made a comment that they didn’t think that a book set in an Ikea could be scary. My response was to ask if they’d ever worked in a large department store, because if you’ve ever been in one after hours when all the main lights are off then you know just how spooky they can be. With the lights off and the customers gone every sound seems to echos and your fellow employees are just shadows in the dim light if you spy them across the store. So I think that my experience working in such a chain store helped to make Horrorstor just a little more scary than it might for those who haven’t.

One thing that I really liked about Horrorstor was how the book was formatted. It was set up like it was a furniture store catalog with pictures and diagrams and descriptions that got creepier and creepier as the story progressed. The story starts off innocently enough but then as it moves along and you learn more about the store and the back story of the area it all begins to come together and the creep factor intensifies. To me Horrorstor reminded me a little of the movie Poltergeist which terrified me royally when I was a child so if you like that movie then you will probably like this book. Though, luckily for me and my over active imagination, this book wasn’t as scary as Poltergeist.

 horrorstor quote

 

Horrorstor is a quick read and I read it in a single sitting as I wanted to see just how this story would progress. Even with all of its supernatural bits I found it to be believable and a very odd little book. It made me laugh at times and cringe in others and at the end I wanted there to be more to the story. There are parts of me that hopes for a sequel and then there are other parts that are happy with how it ended. Its not a story where everything is tied up in a neat little bow so if you like that sort of thing then you will be disappointed. Horrorstor is more open ended in which there is an ending but there are still open threads so that we, as readers, are left to imagine where the story goes from the final page and that is something that I like….from certain types of books. Hendrix wrote a good story that was evenly paced and while this was my first read by this author it won’t be my last.

irishdarkblue

 

Irish Recommends - Horrorstor
four-stars
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Made for You by Melissa Marr – Blog Tour

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Blog Tour, Contest, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: Made for You by Melissa Marr – Blog Tour

Review: Made for You by Melissa Marr – Blog TourMade For You by Melissa Marr
Published by Harper Collins on 16 September 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Parents, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Rock Star Book Tours
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Jessup, North Carolina // Durham, North Carolina

First Line(s): “Did you see her?” Piper whispers, lifting the same plastic cup of wine she’s been holding the past two hours as if it hides her.

 

Made For You is a mystery/thriller release from Melissa Marr who is best known for her Wicked Lovely which involves the Fae. I have always loved a good mystery and so was eager to see what Marr would bring to the table in this genre. While I did find Made For You to be well written it lacked some of the complexity that I expect to see in a mystery. I got my first inkling on who the killer was on page 10 when Marr switched over to his POV and then that theory was later proven to be correct. The killer’s revelation comes with over 100 pages left in the book and there were no red herrings along the way to lead me astray. The story is also told from the POVs of Eva, who the killer is obsessed with, and her best friend Grace. I didn’t mind Eva’s POV points and think I may have preferred the book to be told entirely from her viewpoint but I didn’t understand the need to include a POV from Grace. Grace’s POV sections were far and few between and they never added anything to the story. To me, they were unnecessary filler and I could have done without even though I did like Grace as a character. In fact, I often liked her more than Eva.

Eva was a bit of a Mary Sue who was overly obsessed with her appearance and her poor little rich girl worries. She has everything but isn’t happy but doesn’t do the things that might make her happy as it might affect her social standing. Eva lives in a small southern town with very old fashioned ways where everyone follows the dictates of what the monied families think is acceptable even though all the teens find these ways to be antiquated. And yet, they date who their parents want them to and do the things their parents want them to do. These old fashioned ways often had me rolling my eyes. Though one things I did like in Made For You was the involvement of Eva and Grace’s parents. Even though at the start it seemed as though Eva’s parents would be your typical absentee ones that populate young adult fiction. While it took awhile for Eva’s parents to arrive once they did they proved themselves to be caring and protective and wanting only the best for their only child.

I also liked the character of Nate and enjoyed his relationship with Eva. In some ways I almost wish that Made For You was just a straight romance as I would have liked more Nate and Eva moments but it wasn’t bad as a mystery. It was just predictable. I also could have done without the supernatural aspect where Eva had these unexplained and unhelpful visions. The visions were never explained very well and at the end of the novel the reader is left wondering if she retains this power after the threat is over or if they continue for the rest of her life.  As a thriller, Made For You, didn’t do it for me as I went into it thinking it would be this creepy, edge of my seat read. And while I did read the book in a single sitting I wasn’t all that scared. Maybe I am getting a stronger backbone by watching shows like American Horror Story and Walking Dead but I wasn’t creeped out. I wasn’t scared. And never once  did I doubt who done it. But even though I guessed the killer I did enjoy the story. If you are looking for a creepy, twisty thriller than Made For You might not be the book for you. But if you are just looking for a well written contemporary story with a dose of romance then you should give this one a shot. While I didn’t always like Eva in the beginning she did come into her own by the end.

 

irishdarkblue.

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Made For You Quote

 

Tour Schedule

 

Week One:

9/8/2014- Katie’s Book Blog– Scavenger Hunt

9/9/2014- Crossroad Reviews– Review

9/10/2014- Fire and Ice– Scavenger Hunt

9/11/2014- Reading with ABC– Review

9/12/2014- BookHounds YA– Scavenger Hunt

Week Two:

9/15/2014- Ticket to Anywhere– Review

9/16/2014- Fiktshun– Scavenger Hunt

9/17/2014- Seeing Night Reviews– Review

9/18/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads– Scavenger Hunt

9/19/2014- Fictitious Delicious– Review

Contest

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

three-stars
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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: Forget Me by K.A. Harrington

Posted by Irish in 4.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Forget Me by K.A. HarringtonForget Me by K.A. Harrington, Kim Harrington
Published by Putnam Juvenile on 07 August 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: River’s End, Massachusetts // Littleton, Massacussetts

First Line(s): He lied to me.

Forget Me by K.A. Harrington is a contemporary mystery set in a small New England town. Its a book that is made for conspiracy therorists and mystery lovers alike. The story is told through the eyes of Morgan who witnessed the hit & run accident that killed her boyfriend Flynn a few months before Forget Me begins. Looking for some sort of closure she goes to post the one and only photo she has of him online and learns that he might not be dead after all. This leads her and her BFF Toni to start investigating this Evan Murphy to see if he is really Flynn. Now while Morgan and Toni are no Veronica Mars they don’t do a too terrible job at sorting through the facts. Though there are times when they are a bit more like Laverne and Shirly and so even as the tension rises there are still moments of humor.

Forget Me is a book of abandoned places and creepy clowns, its filled with lies and misdirection, there is mystery and drama and everything else in between. There is a romantic storyline but its not the dominate feature of the story. There are excellent secondary characters in Toni and Reece and I just loved all the scenes they were in. I loved Morgan for her doubts and for those things she knew to be true. I loved her relationship with her parents and how real it was. I especially loved the banter between Morgan and Toni and how they complimented each other as friends. I also adored Evan and there were some moments in this story that made my heart ache in that way that I love.

The mystery is fast paced and there are some red herrings thrown in along the way but its not so super complicated that those well versed in mysteries can’t figure things out before the big reveal. But neither is the story so obvious that it can be figured out on page 2. Forget Me is a fun mystery with some edge of your seat moments and I am going to miss this world that Harrington has created. I liked this town and I liked these characters and I kind of wish this was the start of a series just so that I could see more of them all. Though at the same time everything ends in a good place so I am totally satisfied and I turned the final page with a happy sigh that only comes when finishing a good book. All in all I think that this is my favorite Harrington book to date and its one that I am sure will be re-read at some point in my future. If you are a lover of a well-told story then you should totally pick this one up!

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irishdarkblue

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forget me2
four-half-stars
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: Her Dark Places by Kelly Killarney

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, New Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: Her Dark Places by Kelly KillarneyHer Dark Places by Kelly Killarney
Series: The Sutton Files,
Published by Self-Published on 03 June 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, New Adult, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Thrillers
Pages: 175
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unnamed, New Hampshire

First Line(s): I always knew it was Saturday morning when the elevator smelled like puke, piss, and sex.

Her Dark Places by Kelly Killarney is a new adult thriller set on a college campus. Its a books of secrets and snarky moments and one that I enjoyed. It focuses on Jasmine “Jazz” and how she attended Sutton University with a purpose and getting an education there is only a small part of that. Because Jazz is smart and she could have gone to any other school, in fact, her plan was to attend college with her boyrfriend Graham. But things happened and plans changed and now Jazz is looking for answers. She doesn’t want to make friends but she finds it impossible to keep her roommate Audrey at arms length. Especially when Audrey acquires a stalker so Jazz makes it her mission to figure out who is tormenting Audrey.

Along the way Jazz meets two very opposite guys, Brennan and Sean. Brennan is the all-American good boy that every girl says she wants all while falling for the Seans of the world. Sean is an aloof, loner that has bad boy written all over him. He is also the Veronica Mars of Sutton University in that he’s an amatuer private investigator and for reasons known only to himself he decides to help Jazz and Audrey. So there is the love tirangle, or rather the love square since Jazz is attacted to both Sean and Brennan but she also has a boyfriend. But rest assured, dear readers, while there is attraction there is no cheating involved. Things go as they so often do when teens leave high school for college, they change and grow appart and find it hard to maintain a long distance love. Its not impossible to stay together but its rare when it does. So SPOILER Jazz and Graham eventually break up and she is free to focus on the two very different boys in her life. And even though Her Dark Places is the start of a series she does make a definate choice at the end.

Yay for choices!!

I really hate when a girl waffles between two guys for the length of a series especially when its usually pretty obvious who she is going to end up with. So while this one does have a bit of a love triangle it does have an ending.

Overall I did enjoy Her Dark Places but I felt that the ending was a little rushed and that it glossed over some things that shouldn’t have been. I do feel that the series shows promise as I enjoyed the main characters and do plan on checking out the next book once it becomes available. I liked how the main mystery was resolved in this book that but that there are threads still open for another one, mainly that secret that Jazz has, which you do find out during the course of reading Her Dark Places. In a way Her Dark Places is a bit like season 1 of Veronica Mars where you have the mystery of the week and then the overall mystery of who killed Lily Kane. Jazz is no Veronica but I liked her and I liked her friends and I hope to see more of them all as the series continues. 

If you are looking for a New Adult book that is a bit different from your angsty, broken character storites that currently flood the market then I suggest giving Her Dark Places a try. The writing and pacing of the story are solid and while I did figure out the mystery I think there is enough there to keep those who aren’t avid mystery readers guessing.

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irishdarkblue

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her-dark-places banner

three-half-stars
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Audio Review: Also Known As by Robin Benway

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Audio Review: Also Known As by Robin BenwayAlso Known As by Robin Benway
Narrator: Robin Benway
Series: Also Known As,
Also in this series: Going Rogue
Published by Brilliance Audio on 26 February 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Espionage, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Parents, Social Issues, Thrillers, Young Adult
Length: 6 hours 58 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Audible
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Going Rogue, Emmy & Oliver

Place(s) Traveled To: Reykjavik, Iceland // New York, New York

First Line(s): I cracked my first lock when I was three.

Also Known As by Robin Benway is the sort of book that I always wished that Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls books were. Also Known As features Maggie a teenage girl who is the daughter of spies and as a result she was raised to be a spy as well. Unlike with Cammie we aren’t constantly told how amazing she is but instead we are shown all the little ways that make Maggie a great spy. But throughout it all we are faced with her doubts and her anxieties as she’s torn between being a good spy and trying to live a normal life. Something which has always been denied her because of the lives that her parents live.

The story is fast paced and entertaining and I loved meeting Maggie, Roux, Jesse, Angelo and Maggie’s parents. Though Maggie’s parents did bug me a lot because they refused to see the things that their daughter was missing out on so that they could live the life they wanted. They were selfish and would dismiss Maggie when she said that she wanted some stability and most of all, friends. Both of her parents lived a normal life prior to becoming spies and while there are great opportunities that Maggie had and she saw some amazing things she missed out on a lot as well. This is something she starts to realize as she attends school for the first time, makes her first friend, and begins to fall in love. Maggie’s struggles between what she knew and what she wants were real and heartfelt and really showed growth and change as the story progressed.

Also Known As is a fun read and I liked the humor and mystery of it all. I could have done without always being told that Maggie was an excellent safe cracker and that made her super special because to me I didn’t see how just that one skill made it so people wanted to kidnap her. Now if she was a talented hacker like her mom and had the language skills of her dad coupled with her safe cracking ability I could understand it more. But just safe cracking? I just didn’t see it.

The mystery in Also Known As wasn’t the most complex and the clues weren’t laid out the best but the mystery portion is almost secondary to Maggie’s journey. Its Maggie that made me fall in love with this story and the humor that she brought to every day situations. I loved her friendship with Roux and I loved seeing Roux blossom as she got to know Maggie. Prior to Maggie’s arrival Roux was once the school’s queen be but then she made a mistake and became the victim of bullying (and still is in the book) which affected her greatly. And then there was Jesse Oliver, Maggie’s love interest, who is really just too sweet for words and I loved listening to these two fall in love.

Also Known As is one of the first books that I’ve listened to that was narrated by the author and I have to say that Robin Benway did an excellent job bringing her story to life. Benway’s narration was better than some professional narrators I’ve listened to and I never had any issues knowing who was speaking when. All the characters had distinct voices that it was easy to picture them as I listened to this audio. For me, Benway became Maggie and Roux and Jesse and I found myself wanting to listen to this audio every chance I could. Because it was a fun story and it was told well.

If you are a fan of the Gallagher Girls series and looking for something to check out next then you’ll want to pick up this book. And if you are a fan of audiobooks than I highly recommend listening to this one. You’ll laugh and you’ll cringe and you might cry a little as you laugh some more as Maggie and her friends run around New York trying to save the day and survive high school all at the same time.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Review: The Book of Names by Jill Gregory & Karen Tintori

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Review3 Comments

The Book of Names by Jill Gregory, Karen Tintori
Published by St Martin's Press on 09 January 2007
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Espionage, Mystery & Detective, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Social Issues, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

Place(s) Traveled to: New York City, New York // London, England // Israel

First Line: Two men shoveled the sand under cover of darkness.

The premise of this book is simple, into every generation there are 36 pure souls (lamed koviks) that are born who through their existence keep the earth together. If any of these souls die then bad things start to happen – war, famine, earthquakes, etc. Way back when in Biblical times Adam, bright boy that he was wrote down the names of every living creature including who all the lamed koviks in all the coming generations.

As you can guess with all these pure souls running about there are those people who will stop at nothing to destroy them. People who want to disrupt Gods plan and remake the world in their image. They somehow manage to break the code of Adams book of names and start to kill off the lamed koviks. The world slowly moves to turmoil as they do.

Enter the reluctant hero, David Sheppard, who do to an accident in his youth has somehow managed to tap into a higher existence and is somehow able to come up with the names of various lamed koviks. David has no idea at first the meaning of these names that keep coming to him, just that when he searches for some their names many of them have died in weird accidents or unnatural causes and all he really wants is to stop the names from coming. Until one name that pops out matches that of his ex-stepdaughter who he loves as his own child.

Enter beautiful sidekick who helps David to realize the power of the names and just what is happening in the world because someone is killing them off. She convinces David to join her fellow Israeli’s in tracking down the remaining names to try to stop the ultimate evil from taking over.

What follows is a fast paced read about the ultimate battle between good and evil. As David rushes to save his stepdaughter and with her the fate of the entire world a reader can’t help but to swiftly turn the pages to see just what will happen next. This book is right up there with Angels & Demons by Dan Brown and The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell in that its a good read though unrealistic. However, I found this novel to be slightly more realistic then those two previously mentioned books. This books is a fast adventure that I didn’t want to put down – well once I got through the first 20 pages that is. I admit that I almost put it down at first for those first few pages didn’t thrill me…..but I always try to read at least 50 pages or so before turning away from a book and I am so glad that I didn’t.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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