ARC Review: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

the darkest cornersGoodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

Release Date: April 19, 2016

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The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

review3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Random House Children’s Delacorte Press.

I wanted to love this story, but for the majority of the book, I was bored. Nothing really happened until the end of the book. The story was about a lie that might have put an innocent man in prison and caused two best friends to be torn apart. 

The main characters, Tessa and Callie aren’t particularly likable. Tessa has absolutely zero value for herself, which, given her upbringing is easy to understand, but after a while, it really grates on you. She’s a downer, but she’s clever. She researches and takes courageous leaps towards finding answers to the questions that plague her, not only about the past-the serial killer-but her family as well. At the same time, it takes Tessa and those helping her forever to figure anything out. They’re stringing things together so slowly that it’s pretty frustrating. Callie is a spoiled, somewhat whiny, angsty teen. She’s rude, likes to party, and has a terrible attitude. Her cold shoulder to Tessa, her former best friend, is not really explained, there’s a slight suggestion that left me feeling unsatisfied. 

Secondary characters like Decker and Ryan, even Nick, were intriguing and had strong personalities that I wish were explored more. It might have added something to the story.

Tessa’s quest to discover the truth about her family, to find out if they truly loved her, and to sift through the lies made me feel for her. Even if I wasn’t her biggest fan, the hurt and heartache she suffered through was definitely moving. 

I got half of the twist right early on, but that second part is crazy. Never ever saw that coming and it is SO messed up. Elaborate, twisted, dark, and brilliantly executed by the villain. 

The pacing is mind-numbingly slow. It’s hard to stay engaged. Even with the prosepect of uncovering the mystery and whether or not the lie will change anything. 

That ending. Wide open for a second. 

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

Mysterious reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: The Foxglove Killings-Tara Kelly

ed9ef-the2bfoxglove2bkillings-500x750Goodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

Release Date: September 1, 2015

cooltext1889161239 copyGramps always said that when the crickets were quiet, something bad was coming. And the crickets have been as silent as the dead. It started with the murdered deer in the playground with the unmistakable purple of a foxglove in its mouth. But in the dying boondock town of Emerald Cove, life goes on.

I work at Gramps’s diner, and the cakes―the entitled rich kids who vacation here―make our lives hell. My best friend, Alex Pace, is the one person who gets me. Only Alex has changed. He’s almost like a stranger now. I can’t figure it out…or why I’m having distinctly more-than-friend feelings for him. Ones I shouldn’t be having.

Then one of the cakes disappears.

When she turns up murdered, a foxglove in her mouth, a rumor goes around that Alex was the last person seen with her—and everyone but me believes it. Well, everyone except my worst enemy, Jenika Shaw. When Alex goes missing, it’s up to us to prove his innocence and uncover the true killer. But the truth will shatter everything I’ve ever known about myself — and Alex.

cooltext1889171582 copy3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Entangled:Teen

READ THIS IF:

  • You are into creepy murder mysteries
  • You love unexpected twists

PROS:

  • The diary entries are sickening and terrifying. They come from a disturbed, desperate mind full of anger and resentment. They’re the kind of dark that makes you want to keep the light on. 
  • Mystery propels the plot forwards as the clues mount and the crimes get even more macabre. 
  • Bullying plays a central role in this story. The war between the cakes and the residents who don’t have money makes for disaster. They’re unhinged, crazed, violent, you never know what’s coming and everyone is out for blood. No one can be trusted. Some scenes are twisted and ominous. They’re made of sick human on human carnage. They thirst for humilation and retaliation. It’s even more distrubing than the murders themselves. How people can be so cruel and sadistic is truly horrifying. 
  • Relationships were real and complex. No fiery chemistry or epiphany where all the answers magically appear. It’s messy and painful and yeah, full of mistakes but whether it be between friends, family, etc., each interaction has an authentic ring to it. 
  • A twist that will leave you reeling. You’ll want to go back and read, to look for signs.

CONS:

  • Why the foxgloves?
  • There were some intriguing stories that almost sound like campfire tales strewn within. They’re dark, chilling, and will make you feel a little paranoid. These colorful stories, had they been more focal, would have added another layer of uncertainty, fear, and foreboding to the story. 
  • How do you not immediately report something as disturbing as someone breaking into your room when you were sleeping? How do you not report being assaulted when there are witnesses? There’s so much crime and violence going unchecked that it grated on me. While it was chaotic and frightening, it made everything seem perilous and sinister, I couldn’t understand Nova’s constant need to push things aside. 

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

Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz160458551594267413561957

 

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Review: The Girl from the Well-Rin Chupeco

18509623Goodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

cooltext1889161239 copyYou may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as “Dexter” meets “The Grudge”, based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

cooltext1889171582 copy4/5 Stars

+++Contains scenes of graphic violence and alludes to child abuse. Trigger warning.

Perfect for fans of The Ring, The Grudge and spooky ghost stories that set your teeth on edge and have you sleeping with the lights on. The Girl from the Well is a haunting story of passion and vigilante vengeance.

PROS:

  • The Woman in White is creepy. She walks on ceilings and hides her eyes in a cloak of dark hair. Her vengeance bleeds off the page like an open wound, the anger is vicious and sinister. The violence is detailed, graphic, and all sorts of twisted. I loved the she is not just the Woman in White but a girl scorned by a horrific past who serves as a guardian for abused children. She’s more than her legend. Nothing is black and white, she’s not pure evil, everything is a solid shade of gray. As the story progresses, she becomes more of a girl learning about herself and what she’s capable of, she rediscovers the heart she’d left down in the well with her broken body.
  • Images are consistently disturbing and vibrant. There’s a hollow, dark energy that colors the carnage, bringing it to life as if you were watching it on film.
  • The sub-stories are unique, they bring in culture and myth, adding a historical aspect to the story. Not the atypical haunting, there’s a weighty purpose and heritage that links the story pieces together seamlessly.
  • The Woman in Black is a nightmare. She’s twisted, vile, grotesque and her intentions will make your skin crawl. I don’t think I’ve ever been more terrified reading in my life. Every look, every bone-chilling moment she’s present sinks in deep and the foreboding escalates. Her back story was intriguing and unexpected, full of shock and surprises. I adored the tie-in with Japanese culture and exorcisms. 
  • If you have a doll phobia BACK AWAY SLOWLY.
  • The relationship between the Woman in White and Tark is bizarre. It’s warm and kind of weird but it works. Their connection grows as the story progresses, it transcends friendship and becomes a strange brand of love.

CONS:

  • Secondary characters faded out, they didn’t have defined personalities, and in some cases weren’t memorable at all. They got lost in the dominant story arch. 
  • Callie drifted in and out of the story, she felt wishy-washy and undeveloped. I found myself searching for more of her, some distinct personality traits or likability but she read flat.

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

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YA/NA Books: Best of 2014

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Looking back on 2014, so many wonderful changes have been made to the blog. I’ve gained several hundred followers and views, thank you! I’ve opened more communication networks and expanded social media to include more Indie authors and have made friends with many new authors. I’ve upped my participation in tours, giveaways, and conducted great interviews. It’s been a year of growth and discovery and I hope that you’ll continue on with the blog into what promises to be another amazing year-2015. A year which may or may not include my book release…we’ll see. Fingers crossed.

That being said, in 2014 I read and reviewed 218 books. That’s 32 under what my goal was but grad school, eh and writing, YAY. I asked over on the FB page and on my personal page for categories, the following are a combination of those suggestions and my own. The books on this list consist ONLY of books I’ve read this year. Some of them are not 2014 releases, most are. 

BEST DYSTOPIA

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Plus One final549871_543681332339041_863237682_n

BEST DEBUT

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BEST FEMALE LEAD

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BEST MALE LEAD

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BEST PLOT TWIST

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BEST CLIFFHANGER

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BEST COUPLE

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BEST SERIES

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BEST MADE INTO FILM

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BEST SECONDARY FEMALE 

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BEST SECONDARY MALE

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BEST DIVERSITY

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BEST PARANORMAL

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BEST TEARJERKER

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BEST OVERALL

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BEST DIALOGUE

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BEST PROSE

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BEST WEIRD/BIZARRE/HORROR

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BEST ACTION/SUSPENSE

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BEST CONTEMPORARY

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BEST DRAMA

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BEST LGBTQIA

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BEST END OF SERIES

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BEST MYTHOLOGY

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BEST LOVE TRIANGLE

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BEST GOTHIC

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BEST REALISTIC FICTION

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BEST NEW SERIES

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This is, of course, not an all-encompassing list and I’m sure there are categories and areas that I’ve neglected. Some of these titles are repeated but I couldn’t help myself. 

Keep reading and have a lovely New Year,

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Release Day Blitz: Fatal Abduction-Julia Crane


Fatal Abduction

FAGoodreads/Amazon/B&N

Fatal Abduction (IFCS, #3)

November 3, 2014

cooltext1544204149 copyThere’s a serial killer at large. His victims just happen to resemble Kaitlyn—dark haired, pale skin and athletic build. Kaitlyn goes undercover, attending a prestigious high school to try to lure the killer into a trap and save the lives of other potential victims. Will she be able to catch the killer before his body count rises? Or will she become the next victim?

cooltext1543398187 copyJuliaCrane

Julia Crane is the author of the Keegan’s Chronicles, IFICS. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination.

Pleasant reading,

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Haunting Halloween: YA Reads for Everyone

Ghosts/Possession

diviners

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Kami Garcia/Unbreakable

Amity

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11384302

Angels/Demons

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Carnival-of-Souls

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7285498

rise of the known

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Deadly Disease

Masque

Zombies

8951449

3432478

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18723171

17876692

Terrifying Creatures

mad

47626

Serial Killer

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15942674

Aliens

ThroughGlass COVER REVEAL

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Faeries

iron king

6076413

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Vampires

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Witches/Warlocks/Necromancers

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cursed

Hexed

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Werewolves

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

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Cult

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Psychological

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12901365

20728920

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Paranormal Creatures Galore:

Those without one main species focus

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13450339 Tithe_A_Modern_Faerie_Tale 400000000000000675028_s4   What are some of your favorite chilling, magical, or downright terrifying YA Halloween reads?  Twisted reading, cooltext1754437870 copy

Cover Reveal: Fatal Abduction-Julia Crane

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Fatal Abduction by Julia Crane

Book 3 – IFICS Series

New Adult Sci-fi

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There’s a serial killer at large. His victims just happen to resemble Kaitlyn—dark haired, pale skin and athletic build. Kaitlyn goes undercover, attending a prestigious high school to try to lure the killer into a trap and save the lives of other potential victims. Will she be able to catch the killer before his body count rises? Or will she become the next victim?

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Donate Body to Science. Check.
When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

Kaitlyn finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a handsome, brilliant scientist who can’t get over the guilt he feels knowing she was once a vibrant, beautiful young woman. He never expected a science project to affect him the way she does. As he tries to help her rediscover her past, he finds himself falling for the brave girl struggling to find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds.

Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble

*Warning 17+ due to sexual gritty topic and language.
Kaitlyn and Erik are sent on a mission to track down Vance Dasvoik, a ruthless monster. His latest thrill—abducting and selling young women.

Vance’s current victim: Aaliyah, a seventeen-year-old who never imagined walking her brother home from school one evening would change her life forever.

The mission quickly turns personal for Kaitlyn when she finds Aaliyah beaten, her mind and soul fractured from abuse of the worst kind. Kaitlyn knows firsthand what it’s like to be haunted by the past and resolves to bring justice to the elusive Dasvoik.

Goodreads/Amazon /Barnes & Noble

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Julia Crane is the author of the Keegan’s Chronicles, IFICS and many more. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Happy reading,

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