Review: Flying Away by Caroline A. Gill

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synWhen Iolani Bearse was five years old, she lost her father to war. When she was nine, her mother died in a freak car accident. When Lani was fourteen, eerie green lights invaded, tearing her from the only home she had left.

Living as a runaway, dragging a horse and her cousin Eleanor across the countryside, Lani must learn to survive. Now Lani is the only person between the horrible, greedy lights and the last bit of family she has left. Her own heart is barely beating, but powerful memories pull her to Malcolm St. John. She fights what she feels, buried deep within her shattered soul.

Malcolm St. John always held his feelings in, especially about Iolani. So when she shows up on his doorstep, desperate and determined, Mal must decide if the wild tales she spins are the fragments of insanity or the last hope for a dying nation. This Lani is different from the child he knew. Something is coming for her, for him, and will not be stopped

If the cousins and Malcolm can’t escape the grasping hunters who hound them, the future of a broken America will be destroyed. Everything Lani has ever loved will burn with them. Somehow, she must find a path through friendship and loyalty to save them all.

review3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author 

PROS:

  • Iolani (Lani) has a powerful, haunting voice. She’s introspective and honest, completely in tune with herself. Lani is never afraid to admit what she’s feeling or that she’s scared. It’s incredibly brave and empowering that she can be that real with herself. Lani is impulsive, she throws herself into situations and takes big risks for those she loves. Her relationship with the flies is playful and child-like. Lani feels youthful and just starting to grow up. She doesn’t know how to cope with adult situations and is a bit immature, but her wide-eyed innocence really works for her. 
  • Descriptions are vivid and beautifully written. Some sections are profound, emotional, and deep. They make you think and question reality. Lani’s emotions are magnified, they explore her loss and the intriguing relationship she has with her cousin. 
  • The mystery pulls you in. The thing with the flies, the green lights, those creepy people popping in and out of houses and leaving behind human husks. It’s seriously terrifying. There are so many moments that build up the mystery and will have you questioning what these things are, just how far their influence is, what can be done to stop them, and where they came from. 
  • The premise is genius. 

CONS:

  • Some sections dragged for an extremely long time. Scenes that should have been short and suspenseful to up the anxiety, for some reason, extended well beyond normal time frames, which is pretty disturbing in a drowning situation. Other scenes that needed a little more time were cut off. 
  • Iolani’s fascination with Malcolm is bizarre and kind of random. That in this time of chaos that she clings to this relationship that seems built up so big in her head. That singular focus on finding him and transposing him as her knight it’s all super strange and doesn’t exactly fit. 
  • There’s so much going on, including flashbacks, that it feels jam-packed with a whole bunch of information that’s all over the place. Flipping from one thing to the next, throwing in fantasy, tragedy, the real-time threats, and memories it’s chaos. Sometimes it blends seamlessly, others, these chunks of story are unnecessary and feel a little like filler. 

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

Creepy reading, 

Jordan

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ARC Review & Giveaway: The Darkest Lie by Pintip Dunn

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syn

“The mother I knew would never do those things.

But maybe I never knew her after all.”

Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.

As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own…

review

3.5/5 Stars

***I received this ARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author and with participation in this tour. 

+++Contains triggers: child pornography, violence, disturbing images

The Darkest Lie a gripping mystery that deals with loss, forgiveness, and how to survive when the world around you seems to be falling apart and you’re tumbling off your axis. 

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re into puzzles and fashion yourself an amateur sleuth
  • You’re all about the swoon
  • You’re searching for hard-hitting, relevant, and extremely important subjects that apply to real life

PROS:

  • There are so many important and crucial things in this story that apply to today’s teens, especially in the age of social media. Crisis hotline centers are a huge asset for anyone feeling lost or alone and who wants someone to talk to, even a stranger. The moments in the hotline center, though brief, are uplifting and hopeful. They show that even the smallest of comforting words or just listening can make all the difference in the world. Pornography rings also feature prominently in this story, specifically how predators lure and blackmail their victims into cutting everyone out of their life until they only one they have left is their abuser. This pattern is real and terrifying and I can only hope that this story will bring awareness to the dangers and how easily it is to become a victim in what seems like a healthy, happy relationship as well as in one initiated online. 
  • The lurid and horrific details of CeCe’s mother’s death are mingled throughout the story, but are revealed in startling, blunt imagery. The pieces, much like the clues that CeCe’s mom leaves behind will make your skin crawl. They’re possessive, violent, and the suspense will keep you on edge. Jumpy. 
  • Sam and CeCe are adorably goofy. Sam has a vibrant personality with eclectic taste and so much passion for what he believes in. The dorky was he dresses, that ridiculous scooter, all the elbow pads and too short pants are incredibly cute, in a way that’s unique and surprising. The anticipation, waiting for them to finally cross the friendship boundary is agony. You can’t help but ship their bizarre brand of attraction. 
  • That journal. Chilling, graphic, all sorts of terrifying because it is so real and could happen to anyone. CeCe’s mother’s secrets and abuse are heartbreaking and raw. The emotions and fears are intense and scary. 

CONS:

  • For the bulk of the story, the pacing is pretty slow before anything cryptic or creepy happens. There’s a lot of random, everyday, mundane things going on that highlight CeCe’s usual high school experience, but don’t really pull you in off the bat. 
  • I wasn’t sold on CeCe. Of all the characters in the book, CeCe seems the least developed to me. Her voice isn’t particularly strong, she’s awkward, has babbling outbursts, and says some offhand, cruel, and crude things about her mother that sort of turned me off to her personality a few times. While CeCe is a shell of who she once was after her mother’s death and withdraws from everyone around her, her resentment is crazy strong, and a little selfish. 

authPintip cropped-2Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,”

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. She is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart® finalist and a 2014 double-finalist. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com.

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Jordan