This Is Not the Real World (This Is Not the Jess Show #2) by Anna Carey #bookreview #YA #suspense #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

In the explosive, thrilling sequel to This Is Not the Jess Show, 18-year-old Jess is out for revenge as she confronts the corrupt media empire that documented every moment of her childhood.

Finally free of Swickley and a life that was broadcast to the whole world on Stuck in the 90’s, Jess is doing her best to adjust to existence on the outside–but she can’t outrun her past forever.

Like-Life Productions has tracked down Jess and her boyfriend, Kipps, and forced Kipps to come back to set for the rest of his contract. Determined to rescue Kipps and exact revenge on Like-Life Productions for what they did to her, Jess teams up with a reporter who’s investigating the seedy underbelly of the TV production company–including a series of suspicious disappearances. Jess agrees to return to set under the guise of missing her friends, family, and old life. Then she can take them down from the inside.

Jess must play along in order to gain the power she needs to expose the truth–but fact and fiction blur as Jess struggles to stay one step ahead of Like-Life Productions. How far will she go to maintain control of the narrative, and what will it cost her?

Packed with twists that race toward a shocking ending, this second book will keep you guessing. 

The first book in this duology came with a twist that left me gaping in disbelief, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened in this sequel.

In the last book, Jess and Kipps narrowly escaped the show and then went into hiding with friends. This story begins several months later. Jess is eighteen-years-old, but Kipps is only seventeen, so when he’s tracked down by Like-Life Productions and forced to fulfill the remainder of his contract, both characters find themselves in situations beyond their control. To be with Kipps and find a way to expose the truth, Jess also returns to the show.

This sequel gives more insight to many of the supporting characters who play bigger roles this time, especially Chrysalis, the “villain”. Where the first book revealed plenty of secrets and had a momentum that made it difficult to put down, this one has a different feel. The big question is now who Jess and Kipps can trust, and who’s in line waiting to betray them. Still, it has a few surprises, more dastardly deeds come to light, and the power of social media (a positive aspect) is incorporated into the story line.

At barely three hundred pages, this is a quick read that takes only a few hours. The story doesn’t really end on a cliffhanger, but I’m unsure if another book is in the works. If this is the end, it’s been an engaging, quirky series packed with surprises that I enjoyed. It was fun to relive some 90s nostalgia.

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

Activated (Calculated #3) by Nova McBee #bookreview #YA #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

From Young-Adult author Nova McBee comes the third book in the gritty, action-filled Calculated series.

After her exploits in Tunisia, Jo Rivers knows she’ll never lead a normal life. She also can’t move on until she grasps the unexpected evolution of her mathematical gift and confronts her unresolved feelings after meeting Noble. With Kai undercover, Noble is the only one who has the answers Jo needs. There’s just one small problem: Noble has vanished, leaving only a coded message in the stars.

When Rafael, a friend from Jo’s days in China, goes missing, it coincides with a new PSS assignment involving a potentially catastrophic satellite breakdown. Jo suspects something more sinister is at play and has no choice but to track down Noble, who may be her only hope to find Rafael and prevent global chaos.

Traveling to the perilous Arctic of Finland, Jo and her band of prodigies team up with unlikely allies from her past to find out what or who is interfering with the satellites— before it’s too late. Trusting her gift, Jo follows a path of numbers that light the way…which leads to answers she didn’t predict.

I’m such a fan of this series featuring MC math prodigy Jo Rivers. It’s rare, but each book is just as good as or even better than its predecessor.

It’s difficult to review the third novel in a series without spoilers, but I’ll give it a shot. Be warned – vagueness ahead. Again Jo finds herself and her team in the midst of a dangerous mission with millions of lives at stake. Noble, who shares her numbers gift, is missing, Kai is undercover, and Rafael sends a guarded message requesting her help. She’s also muddling through some issues in her personal life and wonders if she’s made a horrible mistake.

As with the previous books, expect action-filled scenes, heart-pounding danger, a little romance, and a plot that reads like an intricately plotted chess game. Although YA, this series would easily appeal to adults. I thought Activated would wrap up the series but was thrilled to learn another book is coming – and I sure wouldn’t mind getting it sooner rather than later!

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

What We Harvest by Ann Fraistat #bookreview #YA #suspense #darkfantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

For fans of Wilder Girls comes a nightmarish debut guaranteed to keep you up through the night, about an idyllic small town poisoned by its past, and one girl who must fight the strange disease that’s slowly claiming everyone she loves.

Wren owes everything she has to her home, Hollow’s End, a centuries-old, picture perfect American town. Tourists travel miles to marvel at its miracle crops, including the shimmering, iridescent wheat of Wren’s family farm. Until five months ago.

That’s when the quicksilver mercury blight first surfaced, poisoning the farms of Hollow’s End one by one. It began by consuming the crops–thick, silver sludge bleeding from the earth. Next were the animals. Infected livestock and wild creatures alike staggered off into the woods by day—only to return at night, their eyes, fogged white, leering from the trees.

Then, the blight came for the neighbors.

Wren is among the last locals standing. And the blight has finally come for her, too. Now, the only one she can turn to is the last person she wants to call: her ex, Derek. They haven’t spoken in months, but Wren and Derek still have one thing in common—Hollow’s End means everything to them. Only there’s much they don’t know about their hometown and its renowned miracle crops. And they’re about to discover that miracles aren’t free.

Their ancestors have an awful lot to pay for, and Wren and Derek are the only ones left to settle old debts. 

I’ll start this review by saying this is an incredible debut, and I’ll follow this author anywhere she wants to take me in her next book.

Hollow’s End is a small town that draws hoards of tourists for its wildly successful, centuries-old farms. Without these farms, the town would die. And that’s exactly what happens when a quicksilver mercury blight poisons the crops, then the livestock, and moves on to the townsfolk. If you’re thinking zombies, you’re not exactly wrong. The animals and people crave flesh, but disappear into the forest at night – which is lucky for the noninfected folks. Wren and Derek are members of two of the four founding families and are frantically trying to save their loved ones, farms, and town. Time is of the essence since Wren is now infected and showing symptoms.

I loved the pacing of this story. There’s no slow unfolding of details – the reader is immediately thrown into the action and feels Wren’s desperation. I initially didn’t like her much. She makes some selfish demands of others and plenty of mistakes, but to her credit she owns it later on. The buildup oozes tension. She and Derek start to make headway in finding a solution only to be slapped down by one obstacle after another. Death is only inches away in several scenes. Stakes are tremendous, and they discover dark secrets abound in these founding families.

What We Harvest is a fantastic blend of horror, thriller, and dark fantasy with a little alchemy to give it some added flavor. I devoured (in a non-zombie-like way) this book in less than twenty-four hours. This is an author to watch, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

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

Daughter by Kate McLaughlin #bookreview #YA #psychologicalthriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Scarlet’s life is pretty average. Overly protective mom. Great friends. Cute boy she’s interested in. And a father she’s never known – until she does.

When the FBI show up at Scarlet’s door, she is shocked to learn her father is infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake. And now, he’s dying and will only give the names and locations of his remaining victims to the one person, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby.

Scarlet’s mother has tried to protect her from Lake’s horrifying legacy, but there’s no way they can escape the media firestorm that erupts when they come out of hiding. Or the people who blame Scarlet for her father’s choices. When trying to do the right thing puts her life in danger, Scarlet is faced with a choice – go back into hiding or make the world see her as more than a monster’s daughter.

Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter is a novel about trying right deadly choices that were never yours to begin with.

This description reminded me a bit of the TV show Prodigal Son (still bitter about the whole cancellation thing). The serial killer’s son in that show was an adult, so I was interested to see how the scenario would play out with a teenage girl who didn’t know who her father was.

Scarlet’s family has only consisted of herself and her uber overprotective mother. No extended family and no father in the picture. Her friends and boyfriends are vetted by her mom, and Scarlet only goes on school trips if her mother is a chaperone. She assumes her mother has an extreme case of helicopter parenting, so imagine her shock when she learns (rather abruptly) that her father, Jeff, is an infamous serial killer. He’s dying in prison and will only release the other names of his victims and locations of their bodies to Scarlet. Talk about pressure and stressful situations.

Wanting to bring peace to the families of the victims and because she’s genuinely good person, Scarlet agrees to see him. The meetings between them are intense and dripping with tension – I was on the edge of my seat wondering if Jeff was playing her. You can’t help but think about the scenes with Anthony Hopkins and and Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs. The snippets of articles in between chapters that explain the inner workings of sociopaths’ minds and how they differ from most peoples’ are fascinating and enabled me to understand Jeff’s conversations and reactions to Scarlet.

Something I especially liked about this book is that it brings to light how our society focuses more on the serial killer instead of the victims. This story shows how the lives of Jeff’s family and the victims’ families are affected by his actions.

Daughter isn’t for the faint of heart. Although the murders take place off page, Jeff does go into disturbing detail occasionally about the killings during his conversations with Scarlet. Compelling, chilling, and certainly dark, I’d recommend this novel to fans of psychological thrillers and true crime stories.

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 Last Laugh (The Initial Insult #2) by Mindy McGinnis #bookreview #YA #thriller #suspense

In the dark and stunning sequel to The Initial Insult, award-winning author Mindy McGinnis concludes this suspenseful YA duology as long-held family secrets finally come to light . . . changing Amontillado forevermore.

Tress Montor murdered Felicity Turnado—but she might not have to live with the guilt for long. With an infected arm held together by duct tape, the panther who clawed her open on the loose, and the whole town on the hunt for the lost homecoming queen, the odds are stacked against Tress. As her mind slides deeper into delirium, Tress is haunted by the growing sound of Felicity’s heartbeat pulsing from the “best friend” charm around her fevered neck.

Ribbit Usher has been a punchline his whole life—from his nickname to his latest turn as the unwitting star of a humiliating viral video. In the past he’s willingly played the fool, but now it’s time to fulfill his destiny. That means saving the girl, so that Felicity can take her place at his side and Ribbit can exact revenge on all who have done him wrong—which includes his cousin, Tress. Ribbit is held by a pact he made with his mother long ago, a pact that must be delivered upon in four days.

With time ticking down and an enemy she considers a friend lurking in the shadows, Tress’s grip on reality is failing. Can she keep both mind and body together long enough to finally find out what happened to her parents? 

I don’t usually post reviews on Fridays, but the second book in this duology released this week, and I didn’t want to wait a month to post it (the blog schedule is pretty full).

It’s not the first time I’ve mentioned this – McGinnis is an auto-buy author for me. Each of her books is vastly different, but all that I’ve read are bizarre, unpredictable, and will take you to places you never imagined.

This sequel picks up immediately after the events of The Initial Insult. Felicity Turnado never came home from the party the night before, and everyone is looking for her. Tess Montor, who murdered Felicity, is dealing with a severely infected arm after being clawed by her escaped panther and is still unsure of what happened to her parents after their disappearance seven years ago. Ribbit Usher is the star of a viral video after humiliating himself at the party the night before while intoxicated. Time is running out for him to follow through on the morbid promise he made to his mother many years ago.

It’s difficult to write this review without spoilers, but I’ll say what I can. McGinnis mentioned this series was inspired by Poe, and The Tell-Tale Heart strongly influenced this sequel. The story moves along quickly with surprises waiting to ambush you. Starting around the 80% mark, trust me when I say you won’t want to be interrupted until you’ve finished reading. Weird and perilous events occur at a rapid fire pace – not everyone survives. Flood gates are opened and long held secrets come surging out. You may utter expletives in shock. I certainly did.

An incredibly dysfunctional family (seriously, I can’t emphasize this enough), an escaped black panther, an orangatan who signs, maggots (you’ll need a strong stomach), revenge – all are present in this phenomenal sequel. If you haven’t ready any of this author’s books, you’re seriously depriving yourself. Correct that as soon as possible.

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.

At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp #bookreview #YA #thriller #suspense

The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is ironically named. No one has hope for the delinquent teenagers who have been exiled there; the world barely acknowledges that they exist.

Then the guards at Hope start acting strange. And one day…they don’t show up. But when the teens band together to make a break from the facility, they encounter soldiers outside the gates. There’s a rapidly spreading infectious disease outside, and no one can leave their houses or travel without a permit. Which means that they’re stuck at Hope. And this time, no one is watching out for them at all.

As supplies quickly dwindle and a deadly plague tears through their ranks, the group has to decide whom among them they can trust and figure out how they can survive in a world that has never wanted them in the first place. 

This is the third book I’ve read by this author, and she certainly doesn’t shy away from tough subjects. A deadly infectious disease is unleashed on the world in this novel – sound familiar?

When the teens at Hope Juvenile Treatment Center learn the guards are gone and the doors are unlocked, they’re unsure of what’s going on. After a group of them venture into town, they run into a road block and are informed by soldiers about the spread of a plague. People are sheltering in place, and even after explaining their situation to the soldiers, they’re told to return to the center. They’ve been forgotten about. Discarded. With pleas for outside help ignored, the teens have no one to rely on but themselves.

If you’re thinking this sounds like a difficult, dark read, you’re right. Parts are this novel are incredibly hard to get through. Some of these kids have been rejected and abandoned by their families and friends and have no one. A group of them embark on their own to take their chances in the outside world. Others choose to stay and take care of each other. Not everyone lives. The sections with phone call transcripts between parents and friends and lists of food inventory give more insight to what these teens are dealing with.

The story is told in three POVs – Grace, who is thrust into a leadership role, Logan, who is mute and uses a form a sign language only she and her infected twin understand, and Emerson, a nonbinary newcomer to the facility. Each character is very well-crafted and has tremendous character arcs, especially Grace. Those who choose to stay at the center take on jobs and responsibilities and become a family of sorts. It was heartwarming to see some characters’ self perceptions alter during the course of the story. You’re not trapped in the box others put you in – stars can be changed.

Although bleak and certainly sobering taking the last two years into account, this is also a story full of hope and demonstrates what people can do when they come together to help each other.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss.  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.

The Light (Wake-Robin Ridge #4) by Marcia Meara #bookreview #supernatural #mystery

The Magic is Back!

For Robert MacKenzie Cole—or Rabbit, as he’s known to all—the chance to accompany his family to see North Carolina’s infamous Brown Mountain Lights has him nearly dizzy with excitement. And what better night to watch this unexplained phenomenon unfold than Halloween?

But when the entrancing, unpredictable lights show up, Rabbit gets far more than he bargained for. He’s gifted with what folks in the Appalachians call “the Sight,” and it’s this extrasensory perception that enables him to spot the one light different from all the rest.

In his biggest challenge to date, Rabbit—aided by his daddy and his newest friend, Austin Dupree— begins a quest to learn more about the mysterious light. Their investigation unveils a web of cons and corruption none of them expected and exposes a brutal murder along the way.

Throughout all, Rabbit is unfaltering in his commitment to do whatever it takes to understand the truth behind the glowing orb and to determine how he can help it. After all, it followed him home.

Every book in this series has not only warmed my heart, but offered an immersive and compelling supernatural mystery.

I’ll say it again – I’d love to join this fictional family. I’d be quite happy with them at Angel House in the NC mountains. Until reading this book, I wasn’t familiar with the Brown Mountain Lights, but it’s a fascinating, true mystery that goes back hundreds of years. I liked how the author cleverly worked this phenomenon into the plot and turned part of it into a puzzle for Rabbit to solve. Austin is a wonderful addition, and the sibling type relationship that develops between him and Rabbit is one of my favorite parts of this story.

With the “web of cons and corruption”, I was confident I knew the direction the story was headed – but I was quickly proven wrong. I love a good surprise. What might have been more of a predictable, but no less engrossing mystery developed into an unexpected redemption story with a bittersweet outcome and a new friend.

This is a feel good, addictive series that I’m sad to see come to an end, but I’ve heard rumors the author may be considering extending it? I really, really hope? I’ve enjoyed every page and made friends with a little boy who grabbed my heart and didn’t let go.