The Possible by Tara Altebrando #TuesdayBookBlog #bookreview

What if…no one knows the truth about you?

It’s been thirteen years since Kaylee’s infamous birth mother, Crystal, received a life sentence for killing Kaylee’s little brother in a fit of rage. Once the center of a cult-following for her apparent telekinetic powers, nowadays nobody’s heard of Crystal. Until now, when a reporter shows up at Kaylee’s house and turns her life upside down, offering Kaylee the chance to be part of a high-profile podcast investigating claims that Crystal truly did have supernatural mind powers. But these questions lead to disturbing answers as Kaylee is forced to examine her own increasingly strange life, and make sense of certain dark and troubling coincidences…

Unusual and gripping, The Possible will twist the reader round and round as it hurtles towards a sensational climax. For lovers of We Were Liars, Patrick Ness and Derren Brown. – Goodreads.com

This author’s previous book, The Leaving, was so compelling I immediately requested The Possible when I saw it on NetGalley.  The cover is beautiful and the mention of telekinesis really caught my attention.  Is Crystal’s claim of telekinesis a hoax?  Does Kaylee have telekinetic powers?  A few twists caused me to change my mind several times throughout the book.  And I love the idea of a granny pod.

Although Kaylee’s best friends are likable, level-headed teens, I didn’t care much for her character at all – which isn’t a deal breaker for me – but I wondered why her friends stuck around.  She undergoes a change by the end of the book, but for the better part of the story, I found myself searching for some characteristic to warrant the loyalty of her friends.  The gradual building of the climax kept me hooked, but the events really require a heavy suspension of disbelief.

The Possible didn’t grab me like The Leaving, but I’d recommend this book to readers fascinated by unexplained events and the questionable effects and reliability of media coverage.  This book is scheduled for publication June 6th, 2017.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.

 

 

The Playground by C.S. Boyack #bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog #paranormal @virgilante

The hottest toys of the Christmas Season are the Playground Network dolls. They contain a worldwide social network for children. Except, the network is controlled by a ruthless businessman with dreams of power.

To reach his goals he turns to the occult. Will our children make up his personal army? Could we have an enemy soldier in every home?

Gina Greybill is a cancer survivor who stumbles into her own brush with the paranormal. She wants nothing to do with it, but may be the only one who can bring down the Playground Network. To do it she’ll have to embrace her new situation, and recover the next generation of Playground software.

There is competition for the software in the form of a brutal thug named Clovis. He’s bigger, more ruthless, and more experienced. To top it all off, he has a head start.

The Playground is suitable for more mature readers, due to violence and mature themes. – Goodreads.com

In the guest room where my sons slept when we visited my in-laws, my mother-in-law displayed a doll collection.  I think the boys slept in that room exactly one night before moving to the finished basement – they said the dolls stared at them and were creepy.  If my MIL’s dolls had been like those in The Playground, I’m convinced it would have pushed my sons over the edge and I’d be knee deep in therapy bills right now.  So that should tell you something about how chilling this story is.

Each of the three vastly different character arcs are riveting, but of the three, Clovis is my favorite – he’s a hardened, professional killer, but anyone with a soft spot for animals and kids can’t be all bad in my book.  That being said, I admired Gina for having her whole life disrupted, accepting her new ‘job’ so gracefully, and embracing her bizarre duties.

The Playground is dark, gruesome, and thrilling and a must read for horror/paranormal thriller fans.  The ending made me wonder if this is the beginning of a series for some of these characters – something I’d be very interested in reading.

 

House of Furies (House of Furies #1) by Madeleine Roux #bookreview #horror

After escaping a harsh school where punishment was the lesson of the day, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton is thrilled to find employment as a maid at a boarding house. But soon after her arrival at Coldthistle House, Louisa begins to realize that the house’s mysterious owner, Mr. Morningside, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. Far from a place of rest, the house is a place of judgment, and Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff are meant to execute their own justice on those who are past being saved.

Louisa begins to fear for a young man named Lee who is not like the other guests. He is charismatic and kind, and Louisa knows that it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment. But in this house of distortions and lies, how can Louisa be sure whom to trust?

Featuring stunning interior illustrations from artist Iris Compiet, plus photo-collages that bring Coldthistle House to chilling life, House of Furies invites readers to a world where the line between monsters and men is ghostly thin. – Goodreads.

This cover really grabbed my attention first, and although I haven’t read any other books by this author, her name caught my attention second because of her Asylum series, and I immediately requested this novel.

House of Furies is very well-written, with incredible imagery.  From Mr. Morningside’s office, to Coldthistle House, to the fate of some of its inhabitants – the descriptions were eerie and vivid.

Louisa’s character was admirable in the way that she stood up to Mr. Morningside and demonstrated strong loyalty to her friends, yet I also appreciated her flaws, which made her character more interesting and complex.  Despite Mr. Morningside’s alleged identity, I enjoyed his character and found myself agreeing with some of his actions.

As with most gothic horror, this book is more of a slow burn, but a very enjoyable, creepy read.  Although classified as YA horror, this would also appeal to adults.  House of Furies is scheduled for publication May 30th, 2017.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the digital ARC.

Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair #IndieAuthor #TuesdayBookBlog #bookreview #mystery

Small towns hold the darkest secrets.

Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.

But memories in small towns are bitter and long.

Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets. – Goodreads.com

If I knew nothing about this book, I’d want to read it based on the cover alone – isn’t it the perfect picture of tranquility?  But don’t be misled because, as it also says on the cover, ‘Small towns hold the darkest secrets.’  And that is so true of the town of Eclipse Lake.

Mae Clair captures the atmosphere of small towns so well – the gossip, reputations that are never forgotten, nosy neighbors, etc.  But she also creates characters that lure you into that small town, asking you to stay awhile and learn their hidden secrets and scandals.  And that’s why I found it so difficult to put this book down.

Most people who read this will be charmed by the romance between Dane and Ellie – and I was, but the relationship that wormed its way into my heart was between Dane and his son, Jesse.  I loved how they were so protective of each other and the way Jesse’s respect for his father grew even more (eventually) upon learning about his past.  As an animal lover, Koya also stole my heart.

When the mystery is revealed – I sure didn’t see that one coming.  Thought I had it figured out all along – wrong!

Well-paced, both captivating and unlikable characters, clashing family dynamics – Eclipse Lake offers mystery and suspense as well as a good redemption story.

Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) by Sylvain Neuvel #bookreview #scifi

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars. – Goodreads.com

If you’re a sci-fi fan and haven’t read this highly imaginative series yet – it’s your loss.  Although this book didn’t captivate me quite as much as the first, it’s still an engaging read and a worthy followup.

This book takes place nine years after Sleeping Giants and reacquaints the reader with returning characters and their activities during this time, and introduces a couple of new integral characters.  Where the first book is all about discoveries and learning what Themis is capable of, Waking Gods is more action-oriented, with the opportunity to use Themis for her intended purpose.  That being said, don’t assume that’s all this book is about – there are some shocking twists and surprises that left my mouth gaping.

I didn’t settle in with this book until about the 25% mark – it moved at a slower pace, but quickly picked up after that.  Like the first book, Waking Gods is told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles – a format that is done very well.

With the ending, I’m assuming there will be at least one more book in this series – and I’ll be eagerly anticipating its release.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

Within the Garden of Twilight: The House of Crimson and Clover IX by Sarah M. Cradit #TuesdayBookBlog @TheWriterSarah

Temporary peace descends on the Deschanels in New Orleans. Loved ones have returned. A calm appears in the chaos. Life is, seemingly, back to normal.

Those who had been away look to establish their new routine. They trade intrigue for dinner parties. Survival skills for day jobs. Settling into a quiet life comes with a sense of long-awaited relief, and they want, desperately, to embrace it with open arms. To sit in silence in their gardens at twilight and dream a dream they dare not: One of health, happiness, and above, all family.

Yet under the surface lurks the shadows of their past, and the promises of tomorrow. A whisper in their ear, reminding them, “Soon.” – Goodreads.com

With only one more book in this series, the end is in sight, and while I’m sad to see it conclude, I’m anxious to see how the journey will end for these characters that have become almost real to me.

One of the things I enjoyed so much about this book was the number of characters included.  Some of the novels have focused on just a handful, but with Garden of Twilight, the reader learns exactly where everyone stands and how all of their individual situations are intertwined in the overall scheme of things.  In short – be ready for a humdinger of a showdown in the last book.

I was surprised a few times – especially with one character.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say his actions were out of character – just sudden and unexpected.  With another (my personal fav), I hated to see him hit rock bottom, but sometimes that needs to happen before you can become who you’re meant to be, and I’m excited to see his transformation.

Overall, I’m bittersweet about this series winding down, but I’m also looking forward to seeing this author expand into other worlds.  As always, if you’re new to this series, start from the beginning

I received a digital copy of this book from the author.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus #bookreviews #TuesdayBookBlog

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them. – Goodreads.com

Nearly every review you read about this book will compare it to The Breakfast Club, that iconic, coming of age, John Hughes film from the 80’s – stereotypical high school students sentenced to detention.  As with the characters in that movie, these characters are so much more than they appear on the surface, and as this story progresses, their layers are gradually peeled away.

Early on I was sure I knew who’d killed Simon – and then I’d decide it was someone else.  Which is one of the best things about this book – it keeps you guessing with its twists and surprises.  With the story told in four different perspectives, each character’s inner thoughts, viewpoints, and feelings regarding their lives and Simon are revealed.  The character development is outstanding, with one character in particular undergoing a considerable transformation.

I couldn’t quite buy into the way law enforcement was portrayed – leads not pursued, obvious questions ignored, and assumptions without investigation.  Suspension of disbelief is required in some areas.

Clever, gripping, and unpredictable, this is a suspenseful YA mystery and one of my best reads this year so far.  This book is scheduled for publication May 30th, 2017.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.