Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez #bookreview #YA #fantasy #mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is a talented flamenco dancer and daughter of the most famous Dragonador in Hispalia. People come for miles to see her father fight in their arena, which will one day be hers.

But disaster strikes during their five hundredth anniversary show, and in the carnage, Zarela’s father is horribly injured. Facing punishment from the Dragon Guild, Zarela must keep the arena—her ancestral home and inheritance —safe from their greedy hands. She has no choice but to take her father’s place as the next Dragonador. When the infuriatingly handsome dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, withholds his help, she refuses to take no for an answer.

But even if he agrees, there’s someone out to ruin the Zalvidar family, and Zarela will have to do whatever it takes in order to prevent the Dragon Guild from taking away her birthright.

An ancient city plagued by dragons. A flamenco dancer determined to save her ancestral home. A dragon hunter refusing to teach her his ways. They don’t want each other, but they need each other, and without him her world will burn.

A fantasy inspired by medieval Spain with Dragonadors and dragons? I was ready to armchair travel and be swept away.

The setting is one of my favorite aspects of the story. The vivid descriptions of the sights, clothing, traditions, dances, and food (seriously, I was hungry every time food was mentioned) made it easy to immerse myself in this world. Magic (simple to complicated spells) is a part of the culture, but doesn’t play a huge part in the plot. Spanish language is interspersed with English and gives the dialogue more of an authentic feel.

I have mixed feelings about Zarela. After her father is injured during a dragon attack, Zarela immediately jumps into action and is determined to save her home and preserve the family name and honor. I admired that. But some of the ways she goes about this didn’t sit well with me. Arturo is brooding, snarly (did I just make up a word?), and stubborn, but with his love of dragons he grows on you and is easily my favorite character. He and feisty, determined Zarela clash from the moment they meet, but it’s no secret this is an enemies to lovers romance, and there are some pretty steamy moments between them that will make romance fans cheer.

It was easy to guess who’s working against the Zalvidar family, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this adventurous, fiery (literally) tale. I know it’s a standalone, but if the author chooses to revisit this world, I’d go back in a heartbeat.

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

Two Truths and a Lie by April Henry #bookreview #YA #mystery #thriller

A group of teens are trapped in an old motel with a murderer in this chilling YA mystery by New York Times bestselling author April Henry.

Nell has always wanted to be an actor, but doubts her ability. As a member of her school’s theater program, she prefers working backstage. On the way to a contest, an unexpected blizzard strands her acting troupe in a creepy motel. Soon they meet a group of strangers from another high school—including the mysterious and handsome Knox, who insists they play the game Two Truths and a Lie. When it’s Nell’s turn, she draws a slip of paper inked in unfamiliar handwriting:

I like to watch people die.
I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve killed.

Suddenly a night of harmless fun turns into a matter of life and death. As guests go missing, it becomes clear that a murderer is hiding in their midst ready to strike again. In a room full of liars and performers, the truth is never quite what it seems. Nell is going to have to act like her life depends on it—because it does.

An unexpected blizzard and teens trapped in a secluded, old motel with a murderer – this book sounded like the perfect setting for a locked room mystery.

With no electricity or cell service and cell phones in various stages of dying, these teens decide to play the game of Two Truths and a Lie. After Nell draws a slip of paper indicating a killer is in their midst, the mystery begins. Who’s lying? Who’s telling the truth? What makes it even more difficult is that nearly all of these teens are trained performers in their theater groups at school and were on the way to a competition before being sidelined by the blizzard. Soon it’s revealed that twenty years ago, two hotel guests were murdered and the killer was never found. Cue one of the characters suggesting it’s time to break out the Ouija board – never a good idea – and ominous messages from spirits leave everyone in various stages of fear and suspicion. Then the body count begins.

It’s not difficult to figure out who the murderer is, and I honestly thought one of the characters would pick up on it. Besides the teens and their teachers, a few other mysterious guests are staying at the hotel and add to the list of suspects. There are a few plot holes I’d hoped would be explained, especially with something involving the Ouija board. I’d expected the story to lean more in the supernatural direction after that, but it was rarely mentioned again.

Although I knew who the killer was early on, I still wanted to see how the story played out. This locked room mystery has the perfect wintry setting, and it’s a fun, quick read I finished in a couple of sittings.

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

One For All by Lillie Lainoff #bookreview #YA #musketeers #mystery

An OwnVoices, gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, in which a girl with a chronic illness trains as a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love.

Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone in town thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but “a sick girl”; even her mother is desperate to marry her off for security. But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father—a former Musketeer and her greatest champion.

Then Papa is brutally, mysteriously murdered. His dying wish? For Tania to attend finishing school. But L’Académie des Mariées, Tania realizes, is no finishing school. It’s a secret training ground for a new kind of Musketeer: women who are socialites on the surface, but strap daggers under their skirts, seduce men into giving up dangerous secrets, and protect France from downfall. And they don’t shy away from a swordfight.

With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels for the first time like she has a purpose, like she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her first target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He’s kind, charming, and breathlessly attractive—and he might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to lean on her friends, listen to her own body, and decide where her loyalties lie…or risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.

This debut novel is a fierce, whirlwind adventure about the depth of found family, the strength that goes beyond the body, and the determination it takes to fight for what you love.

A gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers? Besides loving this idea, I’ve always enjoyed novels set during this time period.

Tania is raised hearing her father tell adventurous stories about his time as a Musketeer. He also teaches her fencing and techniques to accommodate for her undiagnosed bouts of dizziness. She dreams of being a Musketeer, while her mother is more concerned about marrying her off to someone who can care for Tania once her parents are gone. After her father is brutally murdered, it seems as if his final wish parallels her mother’s when Tania is sent to a finishing school. She’s soon thrilled to discover that what appears to be a finishing school on the surface is actually a training ground for a new type of Musketeer. She may achieve her dream yet.

Tania’s arc is just incredible. She goes from being the target of mean girl bullying by former friends in her village and borderline pity from her mother to a young woman with agency and ride or die sisters who will stand with her no matter what. I always love a good found family story. As a side note, I thought the author’s choices of character names, variations of Dumas’s characters’ names, was clever. Tania – D’Artagnan, Portia – Porthos, Thea – Athos, and Aria – Aramis.

The life of King Louis XIV is threatened, and it’s up to the Musketeers to figure out who’s behind it and when the assassination attempt will occur. The mystery is set against a backdrop of the King’s ostentatious court, lavish clothing, and excess of nearly every kind. With secretive plotting, riveting action scenes, a charming, attractive target, and an intriguing mystery, this story moves along at a brisk pace and didn’t feel like four hundred pages. It’s a stunning debut, and I’ll certainly keep an eye on this author.

The author’s note at the end of the book addresses POTS, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, the cause of Tania’s dizziness. It’s something I hadn’t heard of but many people live with, including the author. I loved how Tania didn’t let it define her or prevent her from achieving her dream of becoming a Musketeer. All For One is a delightful, exciting novel from beginning to end.

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

The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart #bookreview #scifi #mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

An impossible crime. A detective on the edge of madness. The future of time travel at stake. From the author of The Warehouse.

January Cole’s job just got a whole lot harder.

Not that running security at the Paradox was ever really easy. Nothing’s simple at a hotel where the ultra-wealthy tourists arrive costumed for a dozen different time periods, all eagerly waiting to catch their “flights” to the past.

Or where proximity to the timeport makes the clocks run backward on occasion—and, rumor has it, allows ghosts to stroll the halls.

None of that compares to the corpse in room 526. The one that seems to be both there and not there. The one that somehow only January can see.

On top of that, some very important new guests have just checked in. Because the U.S. government is about to privatize time-travel technology—and the world’s most powerful people are on hand to stake their claims.

January is sure the timing isn’t a coincidence. Neither are those “accidents” that start stalking their bidders.

There’s a reason January can glimpse what others can’t. A reason why she’s the only one who can catch a killer who’s operating invisibly and in plain sight, all at once.

But her ability is also destroying her grip on reality—and as her past, present, and future collide, she finds herself confronting not just the hotel’s dark secrets but her own.

At once a dazzlingly time-twisting murder mystery and a story about grief, memory, and what it means to—literally—come face-to-face with our ghosts, The Paradox Hotel is another unforgettable speculative thrill ride from acclaimed author Rob Hart. 

A hotel that’s a sort of weigh station where time travelers catch their “flights” to the past – what an amazing concept. Throw in a murder with a corpse that only the investigator can see, a seemingly endless cast of suspects, and a group of trillionaires bidding to take over the hotel – there’s a lot going on in this novel, and I wanted to see how it played out.

MC January Jones is intimidating. She’s a no-nonsense, intelligent, take-no-prisoners kind of gal who doesn’t suffer fools gladly and has little patience for entitled rich hotel guests. Extensively trained in martial arts, she’s not someone you want to tangle with. She’s also “unstuck” – time is fluid and she sees memories from the past playing out as if they’re happening in the present and occurrences in the future that may or may not come to pass. It’s a result of the extensive time traveling she did while working for the Time Enforcement Agency – which makes her an unreliable narrator at times. Still deeply grieving the death of her girlfriend, she’s abrasive to everyone she encounters.

Between the guests and hotel employees, there’s a long list of suspects, and it was difficult for me to keep up with everyone – I flipped back several times to refresh my memory. Despite that, I guessed who was behind everything from nearly the beginning, so I gave myself a pat on the back for that one. In addition to the murder and attacks on guests, someone is messing with the timeline resulting in catastrophic consequences. January has her work cut out for her.

A lot is packed into this novel – themes of deep grief and guilt, wealth inequities, found families, and Buddhist philosophy. Oh – and dinosaurs. This is a mind-bending, complex story you absolutely can’t skim through, but it enthralled this sci-fi fan, and I thought the epilogue was perfect.

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

#BlogTour Killing Time by Brenna Ehrlich #bookreview #YA #mystery

Summer in Ferry, Connecticut, has always meant long, lazy days at the beach and wild nights partying in the abandoned mansions on the edge of town. Until now, that is.
 
Natalie Temple, who’s never been one for beaches or parties in the first place, is reeling from the murder of her favorite teacher, and there’s no way this true-crime-obsessed girl is going to sit back and let the rumor mill churn out lie after lie—even if she has to hide her investigation from her disapproving mom and team up with the new boy in town…
 
But the more Natalie uncovers, the more she realizes some secrets were never meant to be told. 

Ferry, Connecticut sounds like an idyllic, seaside town filled with lazy summer days by the ocean, kids riding their bikes on the sidewalk, and ice cream from the local parlor. Until the body of a beloved teacher is discovered after she’s murdered, and the rose-colored glasses are officially shattered.

The novel actually focuses on two cases – the murder of Natalie’s teacher and a missing college student several years prior. It’s told from alternating chapter POVs between Natalie and her mother Helen, owner of the local diner and a former college journalism major. Natalie also dreams of becoming a hard-hitting journalist and devours true crime books and shows. She and her best friend Katie even host a true crime podcast – which is all kept secret from Natalie’s mother, who forbids her from reading or watching anything crime-related. Headstrong and determined, Natalie decides to begin her own investigation on the sly after her teacher’s murder.

If you think it’s naive of a teenager to take on a murder investigation, you’d be right. Against the advice of Katie (a voice of reason), Natalie makes one bad decision after another without regard for the consequences. It’s not difficult to figure out who’s involved with the murder, but the why may keep you guessing and come as a total surprise. The missing college student from Helen’s college days is also an intriguing story and explains her distaste for journalism and true crime stories.

I was satisfied with the ending – it wraps up all the loose threads, and the plot moves along at a brisk pace. If you’re a fan of true crime podcasts, don’t expect many details in this novel. Other than hiding it from Natalie’s mother, it’s not explored further, but this is a book true crime buffs will enjoy.

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

About the Author:

Brenna Ehrlich is a journalist, YA author, and editor who has worked everywhere from MTV News to Rolling Stone. She resides in New Jersey with her husband Morgan and their two cats, Nimbus and Hazel. She enjoys horror movies and romcoms in equal measure.

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.brennaehrlich.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrennaEhrlich

IG: https://www.instagram.com/brennaehrlich/

Buy Links:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/killing-time-9781335418678/9781335418678 

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/killing-time-brenna-ehrlich/1139262919;jsessionid=77463C2A28F769B395869EB9A2D55A2B.prodny_store02-atgap11?ean=9781335418678&st=AFF&2sid=HarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC_7310909_NA&sourceId=AFFHarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1335418679?tag=harpercollinsus-20 

Books-a-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/9781335418678?AID=10747236&PID=7310909&cjevent=7996a3e08f9311ec82814d540a82b824 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335418678 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Killing_Time?id=8JEpEAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/killing-time-87 

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/ch/book/killing-time/id1563212004



This Is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey #bookreview #YA #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Black Mirror meets My So-Called Life in this fast-paced, timely YA thriller about separating fact from fiction–and how far we’ll go to create our own version of reality.

Like any other teenager, Jess Flynn is just trying to get through her junior year without drama … but drama seems to keep finding her. Between a new crush on her childhood best friend, overprotective parents cramping her social life, and her younger sister’s worsening health, the only constant is change–and her hometown of Swickley, which feels smaller by the day.

Swickley is getting weirder by the day, too. Half the population has been struck down by a mysterious flu. Conversations end awkwardly when Jess enters the room. And then one day, a tiny, sleek black device–with an apple logo on it–falls out of her best friend’s backpack and lands at Jess’s feet.

It was the unusual blend of comp titles and the mystery of exactly what’s going on in the small town of Swickley that made me request this novel from NetGalley. And what a surprise it turned out to be.

This is a difficult review to write without revealing spoilers. The first several chapters are Jess’s average teen life – high school, friends, crushes on guys – you get the picture. I especially enjoyed the 90s setting that was full of nostalgia – music, fashions, magazines, and food. But strange things pop up that will leave you as puzzled as Jess. Her friends are acting weird, a mysterious flu has overtaken the town, and her dog undergoes a serious personality change. Then the story takes a sudden turn that may have you asking “What the $*@# just happened?” And then it all makes sense.

Fun, clever, and imaginative, this novel is also full of action sequences and a bit of romance. It took me by surprise, and I finished the book in less than a day. I was excited to learn a sequel will be released later this year, and I’m anxious to see what happens next with Jess.

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

The New Girl by Jesse Q. Sutanto #bookreview #YA #mystery

Lia Setiawan has never really fit in. When she wins a full ride to the prestigious Draycott Academy on a track scholarship, she’s determined to make it work even though she’s never felt more out of place. But on her first day there she witnesses a girl being forcefully carried away by campus security. Her new schoolmates and teachers seem unfazed, but it leaves her unsure of what she’s gotten herself into. As she uncovers the secrets of Draycott, complete with a corrupt teacher, a golden boy who isn’t what he seems, and a blackmailer determined to get her thrown out, she’s not sure if she can trust anyone–especially when the threats against her take a deadly turn.

I was ready to pass on this one, but that tagline made me change my mind. “She’s a liar. A cheater. A murderer. And it’s only her first semester.” It made me wonder what kind of person this girl was and what she’d gotten herself into.

The first few chapters spawned plenty of eyerolls with its tropes and drama. Mean girls – check. Hot guy/instalove – check. Rich kids bullying a poor kid – check. I kept hoping something else would happen that wouldn’t make me regret requesting this book. It was Lia that kept me reading. She’s been raised by a single mom after her dad’s death and doesn’t have any extended family close by. She has dreams for her future, but her only hope of attending college is a track scholarship. The only way to attain that is to graduate from Draycott Academy, but with everything that happens she’s seconds away from being expelled.

Lia’s internal monologue is another reason I kept reading. Witty and sarcastic, she also tends to speak before she thinks, which puts her in some awkward situations. She’s a victim of both in-person bullying and cyber-bullying, but also gets in some quips of her own, and I liked that she didn’t cower in a corner. I did get frustrated with her a few times when she’d be on the verge of discovering a key to the mystery and then back off and let it drop. Her character is smarter than that.

As far as the secrets of Draycott, they don’t spark electrifying moments during the reveals, but there are a couple surprises. Although it comes with tropes, teens with private jets (seriously?), and some eye-rolling moments, The New Girl is a quick and entertaining read. Other reviewers mentioned this book would appeal to fans of Gossip Girl.

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

We Were Kings by Court Stevens #bookreview #YA #mystery #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Twenty years ago, eighteen-year-old Francis Quick was convicted of murdering her best friend Cora King and sentenced to death. Now the highly debated Accelerated Death Penalty Act passes and gives Frankie thirty final days to live. From the Kings’ own family rises up the one who will challenge the woefully inadequate evidence and potential innocence of Francis Quick.

The at-first reluctant and soon-fiery Nyla and her sidekick (and handsome country island boy), Sam Stack, bring Frankie’s case to the international stage through her YouTube channel Death Daze. They step into fame and a hometown battle that someone’s still willing to kill over. The senator? The philanthropist? The pawn shop owner? Nyla’s own mother?

Best advice: Don’t go to family dinner with the Kings. More people will leave the dining room in body bags than on their own two feet. And as for Francis Quick, she’s a gem . . . even if she’s guilty. 

I’ve wanted to read this author’s books for quite a while (she also has several published under Courtney C. Stevens), but just hadn’t been able to fit them it. When I saw her newest release pop up on NetGalley, I immediately requested it and was so excited to be approved.

I couldn’t pry the Kindle from my fingers with this novel. In fact, I was so caught up in the last 20% I was late meeting a friend for dinner – I needed to know how it would end. No way could I wait until later that evening to find out.

Nyla’s been raised my her mother (no father is in the picture), and they’ve lived with a family friend for the past several years. After her mother’s best friend receives the death penalty for a murder whe allegedly committed twenty years ago, secrets upon secrets are spilled about Nyla’s mother’s past and what happened all those years ago. Nyla and her new friend Sam (whose dad was a childhood friend of Nyla’s mother) soon dive deep into the mystery of who really killed Cora King. Once Nyla meets the King family, they all come under suspicion at some point during the story. They’re one dysfunctional bunch with plenty of skeletons stuffed in the closet.

The buildup to the big reveal had me suspecting almost everyone, and the twists are whiplash-worthy. And the reveal scene itself – shocking and so vivid I could see it playing out in my mind as if I was watching it on screen.

We Were Kings is a fast-paced mystery full of secrets, surprises, and maladjusted family dynamics. I’m just sorry it took me this long to read a book by this author.

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

Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz #YA #historicalfiction #mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

A gothic tale full of mystery and romance about a willful female surgeon, a resurrection man who sells bodies for a living, and the buried secrets they must uncover together.

Edinburgh, 1817.

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry.

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who’s just trying to survive in a city where it’s too easy to die.

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham’s lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, the university will allow her to enroll. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books – she’ll need bodies to study, corpses to dissect.

Lucky that she’s made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living, then.

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets. Hazel and Jack work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society.

Gothic tale, willful female surgeon, a man who sells bodies, and Edinburgh 1817 – there’s just nothing bad here, folks. Everything about the description made me want to read this novel. And then there’s the cover – what a stunning work of art!

Hazel is a woman ahead of her time. Although from a wealthy family, she’s continually reminded by her mother that Hazel’s brother will inherit their estate, and she must marry her cousin to maintain her lifestyle. But that’s not important to her. Hazel is determined to become a female surgeon, which is unheard of in her time. Women can’t possibly comprehend the complexities of the human body. Dressed as a man, she attends classes and is an exemplary student, until being tosssed out after it’s discovered she’s the wrong gender. That’s only a minor inconvenience – she soon makes a deal with a renowned surgeon. If she passes the medical exam on her own, he’ll train her himself. You’ll immediately root for this strong-willed, intelligent girl.

To pass the exam, Hazel needs bodies to practice on, and it seems she’s destined to meet Resurrectionist Man Jack, who’s been unable to find honest work. When people begin disappearing off the street but then turn up alive with fewer body parts, Hazel and Jack have a mystery on their hands. The title may lead you to believe this is primarily a love story, but that’s not exactly true. Yes, there’s a romance, but it’s not at all the main focus of the story. I believe the title refers to Hazel’s love of anatomy over most anything else in her life.

The novel moves along at a brisk pace, but I was a little surprised at how quickly this standalone wraps up. Despite that, I thought the ending was perfect for these characters and the story setting. I haven’t read anything else by this author, but you can be certain I’ll be checking into her backlist. If you’re a fan of historical fiction and strong female protagonists, you can’t go wrong with this book.

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

#BlogTour You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus #YA #mystery #suspense

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Now all they have in common is Carlton High and the beginning of a very bad day.

Type A Ivy lost a student council election to the class clown, and now she has to face the school, humiliated. Heartthrob Mateo is burned out–he’s been working two jobs since his family’s business failed. And outsider Cal just got stood up…. again.

So when Cal pulls into campus late for class and runs into Ivy and Mateo, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn a bad day around. They’ll ditch and go into the city. Just the three of them, like old times. Except they’ve barely left the parking lot before they run out of things to say…

Until they spot another Carlton High student skipping school–and follow him to the scene of his own murder. In one chance move, their day turns from dull to deadly. And it’s about to get worse.

It turns out Ivy, Mateo, and Cal still have some things in common. They all have a connection to the dead kid. And they’re all hiding something.

Now they’re all wondering–could it be that their chance reconnection wasn’t by chance after all?

I’ve read a couple other mystery/suspense books by this author and couldn’t resist the opportunity to participate in a blog tour for her newest release.

It starts out like a Ferris Bueller kind of day for friends Ivy, Mateo, and Cal when they decide to skip school, but they sure don’t wind up at a baseball game or fancy restaurant for lunch. When they wander into the scene of a very recently committed murder – seriously, the body hadn’t even begun to cool – their day goes off the rails at the speed of light. Panicked and on the run, the teens make one bad decision after another and dig themselves in deeper. I wanted to rip their heads off. Although close friends in middle school, the three of them drifted apart and spend time rehashing the scenario that seemed to cause the divide. Old wounds are reopened, fingers are pointed, and at times the three turn on each other while trying to discover who the murderer is.

All three characters are well-crafted and are dealing with their own problems – besides being possible murder suspects. Mateo works three jobs to help pay for his mother’s medications after she loses the family business. Cal is dumped by another girlfriend who left him with some unfair parting shots, and his list of friends is sadly very short. Overachiever Ivy struggles to prove herself to her parents. After her talented younger brother skips a grade, she feels as if a competition exists between them. She’s undoubtedly an intelligent girl (I adored the random trivia she’d text Cal in the wee hours of the morning), but of the three seems to make the worst decisions. Honestly, I’m surprised Cal and Mateo didn’t just dump her a few times, but she does make up for it.

The plot will keep you guessing, and there are a couple red herrings to throw you off. At the big reveal, the person behind everything is probably someone you’ll never guess, but I won’t say why – no spoilers. I will say I’d hoped for a more jaw-dropping moment.

I think all of this author’s books are standalones, but the ending almost leaves an opening for a sequel. I know I wouldn’t mind seeing what happens next, but I doubt it’s in the cards. This is a quick read that doles out clues along the way – pay attention early in the book – and will keep you guessing.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen M. McManus is the #1 New York Times and international bestselling author of young adult thriller/mystery novels, including One of Us Is Lying, One of Us Is Next, Two Can Keep a Secret, and The Cousins. You’ll Be the Death of Me will be her next novel, publishing December 2021. Her work has been translated into more than 40 languages worldwide. Karen lives in Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, which she mostly uses to draft fake news stories for her novels. For more information, visit http://www.karenmcmanus.com or @writerkmc on Twitter and Instagram.