Teen Killer Club by Lily Sparks #bookreview #YA #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Framed for the murder of her best friend, a young girl joins a super-secret society of teenage assassins to avoid a lifetime behind bars–and discovers her own true self–in this mesmerizing debut novel.

Seventeen-year-old Signal Deere has raised eyebrows for years as an unhappy Goth misfit from the trailer park. When she’s convicted of her best friend Rose’s brutal murder, she’s designated a Class A–the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profile. To avoid prison, Signal signs on for a secret program for 18-and-under Class As and is whisked off to an abandoned sleep-away camp, where she and seven bunkmates will train as assassins. Yet even in the Teen Killers Club, Signal doesn’t fit in. She’s squeamish around blood. She’s kind and empathetic. And her optimistic attitude is threatening to turn a group of ragtag maniacs into a team of close-knit friends. Maybe that’s because Signal’s not really a killer. She was framed for Rose’s murder and only joined the program to escape, track down Rose’s real killer, and clear her name. But Signal never planned on the sinister technologies that keep the campers confined. She never planned on the mysterious man in the woods determined to pick them off one by one. And she certainly never planned on falling in love. Signal’s strategy is coming apart at the seams as the true killer prepares to strike again in Teen Killers Club.

I’m not sure what this says about me, but a camp that trains teens to be assassins had me requesting this before even reading the whole description.

The action begins almost immediately as Signal and another teen are introduced to the other campers.  For convicted murderers who have the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profiles, most of them seem so…nice.  Having been framed for a murder and lacking even a hint of a killer instinct, Signal is absolutely a fish out of water and is pretty helpless with the assigned tasks.  Speaking of tasks, the first one is how to dispose of a body without it being detected – and that’s when I was all in.  Bizarre?  Absolutely.  But a practical skill for assassins.

I’d expected the teens to be sent out on missions pretty early in the story, but they don’t happen until the last part of the book.  The rest of the time is spent on training, trying to recover Signal’s sketchy memories of the murder she was accused of, strange happenings around camp, and a prominent love triangle.  I’m generally not a fan of this trope and honestly didn’t see the need for it, but that’s just me and a personal preference.  Other reviewers seemed to enjoy it.

With an action-packed, brisk ending, don’t look away or you’ll miss some things.  I suspended my disbelief with the big reveal as some of it seemed to come out of left field, but I was also frustrated because many questions are left unanswered, particularly one central character’s backstory.  It’s set up perfectly for a sequel, but nothing in the title indicates one is in the works.

Dark, cultish, action-packed, and morally gray, Teen Killers Club is an engrossing read – just maybe not the best selection for more squeamish readers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Viral Blues (The Hat #2) by C.S. Boyack #bookreview #superheroes #paranormal

Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

Avengers Assemble!

Okay – maybe they’re not the real Avengers, but these characters are still a talented team fighting for the same cause, each bringing a different skill set to the table.  Although I wasn’t as familiar with a couple of characters, I’d had such fun reading about Lizzie and the Hat in the first book, knew Lisa (one of my favs) from the author’s blog, and adored Clovis (love his style) and his dog from The Playground.  With such a stellar collection of characters, I had high expectations for this novel – and Boyack didn’t disappoint.  The addition of zombies (I’m a big fan) to the story just made it even better.

With a touch of the paranormal, witty and amusing dialogue, thrilling action scenes, and a cast of lively characters, Viral Blues is a rousing adventure I highly recommend.  Once you’ve finished, you’ll be anxious to check out each character in their previous books.

Gamble (Nightforce Security Series #2) by Staci Troilo #bookreview #novella #suspense #TuesdayBookBlog

Sometimes stakes are too high to gamble. Other times they’re too high not to.

Noah Crawford is a consummate bachelor—until a one-night stand piques his interest in something more. The only problem is, she wouldn’t give him her name, and he has no way to find her.

A week later, resigned to forgetting her, he accompanies his friends to a casino. Floor traffic promises to be light while everyone clusters at the sportsbook for the college basketball championship game. But Noah isn’t in the mood for frivolity and sets off on his own. No one is more surprised than he is when he bumps into his mystery woman.

He’s playing a far different game than cards when armed criminals take over the poker room. Noah is separated from his friends, and somehow the room has been cut off from security. Help isn’t coming. It’s up to him to keep everyone safe while he tries to thwart the gunmen.

Noah quickly realizes he’s trying to prevent more than a simple heist. And he doesn’t know who he can trust. The stakes have never been higher, and he’s all in. But one of the thieves might have an ace up his sleeve, and that could cost Noah everything.

I’ve read other books by this author, but this is my first in The Nightforce Security series – and what an introduction!  This short novella manages to pack in enough action to rival a full length book.  It’s intelligent and fast-paced, with a touch of romance, and has some amusing names for casino criminals.  I especially enjoyed the banter between Noah and his friends – boys will be boys.

If you’re in the mood for a quick read with intrigue and suspense, look no further.