Review: Vanishing Girls-Lauren Oliver


cooltext1889161239 copyNew York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

“Alarming and uplifting, a rare psychological thriller that has a kind heart at its center. Read it with all the lights on.” — E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars.

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  • Vanishing Girls is about sisters and the growing pains that cause a divide. Memories of times when things were easier, when things like boys, and finding themselves didn’t interfere with their love for each other were poignant and heartwarming. The pangs of sadness radiated from Dara and Nick, deep and nostalgic. Despite everything, the Grand Canyon between them, they remember and they miss each other so badly it’s a physical ache. The gulf is wide and vast and they both struggle to overcome the space between, to figure out where it went wrong. The dynamics between older and younger siblings, popularity, attractiveness all come into play. 
  • Madeline Snow’s disappearance propels the story forward, a mystery that grips the small town and overwhelms everyone’s thoughts. The police blotters, parents preoccupation with the search and community unity added a sinister, mysterious tone to the story that kept me in suspense. On the downside, I cared more about what happened to Madeline than the squabbles between Dara and Nick because in comparison, it was pretty weak.
  • The twist was unexpected and heartbreaking. Suddenly every bit of space makes sense in an in your face revelation.


  • The story felt fragmented and random. Pieces connected but didn’t fit with the overall story arc and the big mystery of what happened leading up to the accident was never truly revealed. There are pieces of the puzzle that at the end were still missing. 
  • Pacing was slow and parts lagged even with the varying POVs, journal entries, etc. 
  • The ending drama was resolved quickly and read like summary. I would have liked to see more of what the after effects were, not just the verdict of the crimes but the healing process. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this;


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Review: All the Bright Places-Jennifer Niven


cooltext1889161239 copyThe Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning! Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

cooltext1889171582 copy5/5 Stars

Contains heavy themes: Suicide, depression, abuse, violence, adult themes. 

All the Bright Places is one of the best things I’ve ever read and if you follow my reviews, you know I read hundreds of books a year. It’s beautiful, bittersweet, raw, the kind of read that sticks with you, that makes you open your eyes and see, really see. I love this book. And yes, I sobbed like a baby.

All the Bright Places deals with the horrible reality of suicide, depression, loss, and abuse. It’s quirky, eclectic, fun, an odd ball of a book that quotes Virgina Woolf and finds magic in everyday places. It’s heartbreaking, sweet, and silly. There’s an incredible uniqueness that wraps the story in a cocoon of light and love. I never wanted it to end. 

Finch is brilliant. A puzzle who refuses labels, and lives by whims. He takes on personas like Halloween costumes all the while trying to figure out who he wants to be without settling. Bad Boy Finch, British Finch, Nerdy Finch, every single one is hilarious, lovable, memorable. Finch is compelling and agonizing. He takes life and explores, never accepting, opening his eyes to the magic of everyday, the simple, the mysteries that lie buried in our surroundings. That’s what I felt when I read this-wonder. 

Each step of their wanderings is a mini discovery. A sigh like release of all the tension and negativity. What I got from All the Bright Places is how often we get lost in the monotonous, the mundane, that adventure can happen if you just look for it. 

Random note: Someone finally gets my obsession with Anne Bronte, though I was slightly disappointed when Violet preferred the quiet desperation of Emily.

There are so many perfect, spontaneous, and passionate moments in this book. Snapshots of happiness.

But there is also darkness, the all consuming kind that suffocates and threatens. I’ve never read about depression like that. It’s hard to describe. It’s an inevitable pull. Finch’s fascination with suicide is coupled with fascinating facts that both enlighten and disturb. So many things about the rate of suicide, the methods, the support groups I never knew about and I think it’s amazing that so much is said in so few words. 

Living again after crippling loss, it’s hard to get back up, to choose to live. Violet lost half of her soul with her sister’s death, she lost everything she knew as real, and right, and true. Violet didn’t know who she was anymore and let fear rule her. Experiencing Violet’s ways of dealing and watching her open up again was an emotional avalanche. Violet’s laughter because it has been so long in the making is a waking, almost like she’s shaking off her sadness.

Together Violet and Finch are a lesson in love. In how freeing and pure and gut-wrenching love can be. I was left speechless and in tears several times. My heart swelled and faltered. What a fantastic, adrenaline rush. 

GET THIS BOOK. You won’t regret it.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this book:

1779736424406241tumblr_nkrq4wVfUF1tv8vcro1_1280girl laying in the grass, looking down, she is very sad and depressed

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Cover Reveal: A Love Restored-Amy Miles

Title: A Love Restored
Author: Amy Miles
Series: Cherished Hearts
Release Date: June 28, 2015 
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A woman who spends her life on the sidelines.
A man desperate to discover his true worth.
A woman who seeks love in all the wrong places.
Ashlyn Doyle has spent her life trying to blend in. A sweet wallflower by nature, she is unaccustomed to the spot light, but as the personal assistant to a bestselling romance author with a drive to enjoy life to its fullest, she throws herself into her work.  With a hectic touring schedule to maintain, a party animal boss to keep in line and the task of discovering the perfect eye candy to grace the cover of Ender’s Betrayal, Ashlyn is in for more than she bargained for.
Determined to make his mark on the world, Slade Collins leaps at the opportunity to audition as cover model for Tamsin Archer’s newest novel.  Tales of Tamsin’s wild parties, affinity for hot men and the wild success that has sky rocketed every former model to fame leads Slade to use his sly smile and British accent to quickly attract the attention of both Tamsin and her shy assistant. But the faster Slade moves toward the dream he so desperately desires, the more he begins to realize fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 
Tamsin Archer loves to party, drink to excess and enjoy every drop of success her name has afforded her. With Ashlyn’s firm grip on the reigns of their five city tour, Tamsin soon settles in to the task of bedding her newest cover model, Slade Collins but soon discovers that all the drunken hookups and empty wine bottles in the world can’t fill the void that she feels.
Sometimes you have to learn to love yourself before you can love someone else. 
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Pleasant reading, 
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Release Day Blitz: Prep For Doom-Band of Dystopian

PFD Available FB BannerPFD cover_officialcooltext1889161239 copyFrom the imaginations of twenty authors of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction comes PREP FOR DOOM – an integrated collection of short stories that tell the tale of a single catastrophe as experienced by many characters, some of whom will cross paths.

What begins with a seemingly innocuous traffic accident soon spirals into a global pandemic. The release of Airborne Viral Hemorrhagic Fever upon New York City’s unsuspecting populace brings bloody suffering within hours, death within a day, and spreads worldwide within a month.

An online community called Prep For Doom has risen to the top of a recent doomsday preparation movement. Some have written them off as crazy while others couldn’t be more serious about the safety the preppers could provide in a global disaster. But when AVHF strikes, their preparation may not be enough to save them.

From authors Laura Albins, ER Arroyo, Amy Bartelloni, Brea Behn, Casey L. Bond, TK Carter, Kate Corcino, Harlow C. Fallon, Kelsey D. Garmendia, Caroline A. Gill, DelSheree Gladden, John Gregory Hancock, Casey Hays, Kate L. Mary, Jon Messenger, Monica Enderle Pierce, Cameo Renae, Hilary Thompson, Yvonne Ventresca, and Megan White.

Amazon/iBooks/Barnes & Noble/Google Play/Kobo/Paperback 

Prep For Doom Website

Prep For Doom on Goodreads

Release Party (Facebook)

Join us June 27th for a day full of author takeovers, games, and great prizes, including a Kindle Fire HD7!

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Band of Dystopian (BOD) is a Facebook group, blog, and company dedicated to dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic books. Our mission is to help fans of dystopian fiction find books they will love and help authors of the genre get the word out about their work. Our community of over 2,300 readers and authors has become a supportive, interactive, and insanely fun place to be. We are branching into the publishing world with our first anthology, Prep For Doom.

We have over 150 authors in the group, plenty of great conversation, tons of giveaways, and the perfect place for dystopian lovers to find their next great read.

Join Band of Dystopian

Happy reading, 

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Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Max Colton’s Road to Wonderland- H.A. Robinson

Book: Max Colton’s Road to Wonderland
Author: H.A. Robinson
Genre: New Adult
Release Date: July 10, 2015
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Growing up with certain expectations and your entire life mapped out for you is never easy, but when the bar is set impossibly high, most would give up.
Not Max Colton.
Even as a child, his father is unrelenting. Discipline, rules and rigid control are all he knows. Nothing Max does is good enough, and no matter how hard he works, approval and recognition are always just out of reach.
From boarding school to university, Max gets a glimpse of the freedom he’s always been denied, and learns unexpected things about himself along the way. When he somehow finds himself thrust back under his father’s iron rod of control, that freedom proves harder to let go of than he anticipated and he finds himself caught in a balancing act between his lifelong battle for his father’s approval and living out his own hopes and dreams.
With loves found and lost and his friends at his side, Max has to navigate through the world one step at a time. People aren’t always as they seem, and every stone unturned reveals a new challenge, bringing him closer to a future that has always seemed elusive and uncertain.
A future that holds success, freedom and love he never expected to have.
A future that will offer loyal friends and a home that isn’t confined to a building.
A future that leads him to Wonderland.
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 H. A. Robinson is a jet-setting billionaire with a home on each continent, who spends her free time saving kittens from trees and babies from burning buildings. A graduate of Hogwarts and a frequent visitor to Narnia, she drinks coffee in Central Perk and tames dragons in Westeros.
In her dreams…
In reality, she’s a support worker living in a small town in Cheshire, who would almost always choose fantasy over reality. She’s been an obsessive reader from the moment she picked up her first Enid Blyton book, more years ago than she cares to admit, and enjoys nothing more than getting lost in new worlds and adventures from the minds of all the amazing authors out there.
She’s had the voices of characters in her head for as long as she can remember, and puts them down on paper in order to convince herself and the men in white coats that she isn’t crazy.
cooltext1892192940 copyEnter for your chance to win a $10 Amazon giftcard

Keep reading, 
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Spotlight & Giveaway: Vanishing Act-Erica Kiefer

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Title:  Vanishing Act
Series:  Lingering Echoes #3 (Standalone)
Author:  Erica Kiefer
Published:  May 26th, 2015
Publisher:  Clean Teen Publishing
Genre:  NA Contemporary Romance
Content Warning:  Violence, drug usage, abuse
Recommended Age: 14+
A fresh start at college is exactly what Kate needs to ease the burden of her family secrets. When she meets the confident and charming Aaron Jackson, she weaves a new history for herself to fit into his seemingly perfect life. But the past refuses to stay where it belongs, causing a rift between their contrasting worlds.

When Ben reappears in Kate’s life, she is only pulled deeper into the childhood that she’s tried to forget. Driven by the abuse and pain that still lingers within him, Ben seeks Kate’s help in making a change. But in this journey for retribution, lines blur between courage, justice, and revenge.

Bound by their shared and damaged youth, Kate is forced to choose sides, and fast. The final act is almost here, and time is running out.

Vanishing Act is a Lingering Echoes novel that can be read as part of the series or as a stand alone story. Fueled by the scars from an experience in foster care that no child should have to endure, Vanishing Act touches on serious issues that can continue to impact abuse victims well into their adult lives. Vanishing Act is an emotional drama with a sweet romance mixed in.

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     My vision blurred like I was walking outside in the rain. It may as well have been raining, with how emotionally drenched and defeated I felt as I marched out of my neighborhood. I didn’t know where I was going. Despite the familiar street, I felt lost and confused. I just knew I needed to keep moving, afraid that if I stood still, the storm of emotions would drown me.
     Aaron became a silent companion at my side, keeping fast pace with my hurried steps. My thoughts stewed inside my head, a dangerous concoction of fear, hurt, and fury. My whole life I had worked to salvage this family. My entire purpose for going to college was to help us survive, even if our heads were barely above water. But it seemed the minute I’d left the house, both father and son were falling apart, sabotaging my efforts.
     Aaron seemed to sense I was about to boil over because he eventually took my hand and pulled me onto the grass. He stood in front of me with both hands on my shoulders, trying to look into my eyes. I shook my head, knowing if I spoke one word that too many more would spew out of my mouth—bitter and resentful—and I’d never be able to take them back. Aaron’s hands moved to my back and he wrapped me in his arms, pulling my face against his chest. His strong hands pressed into my shoulder blades, holding me together like fractured porcelain.
     I let the warm tears fall, one by one. I hoped that by keeping my eyes pulled tightly shut, that the tears wouldn’t find an exit. But they did—streaming one after the other until each droplet became a river, a driving current of emotion merging together. It would have felt dangerous without Aaron’s embrace, but I felt safe anchored in his arms.
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Erica Kiefer was born on Christmas Eve in Southern California to an American father whose ancestors arrived from Europe during colonial times and a Thai mother who moved to the US during high school. Adding to her rich and varied heritage, Erica grew up living abroad in Asia, including Taiwan, Fiji, Thailand and Indonesia. She gained a great respect for the beautiful mosaic of cultures found in various parts of the world. After graduating from International School Bangkok, she attended Brigham Young University in Utah, where she earned a degree in Recreation Therapy. Her career as a Recreation Therapist has allowed her to work with at-risk youth since 2007. Erica made the best decision of her life by marrying her husband in 2005 and is currently a mother of three, one of whom awaits her in heaven. Erica also loves singing, reading, writing, and satisfying her sweet-tooth with chocolate-chip cookies. Playing collegiate rugby was one of the most memorable experiences of her life, thus far. Erica’s first book, Lingering Echoes, was signed by Clean Teen Publishing and released in early November 2013.
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Clean Teen Publishing Links:
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There is a tour wide giveaway. Giveaway is International. Prizes include the following: A bookmark swag pack, winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook, and a $15 Amazon gift card.
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Keep reading,
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