ARC Review: Missing by Kelley Armstrong

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The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.

The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.

But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?

review4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Crown Books for Young Readers

+++Potential triggers for animal abuse/mutilation, abduction, violence, suicide, and physical abuse

Creepy, chilling, and all sorts of sinister, Missing is the kind of mystery that hits hard because of just how possible the situation is. 

This mystery is a challenge. There are so many clues that lead you in several directions. The reader, just like Winter, doesn’t know who to trust and what’s more, there are hints that suggest Winter is not psychologically sound or an entirely reliable narrator. I loved that the possibilities were endless and kept me guessing throughout, up until the very end. 

There are some seriously nightmare-inducing scenes. Some material may be triggering for readers, especially when it comes to animal abuse/mutilation. The adrenaline is high. Every snap of a twig, every laugh in the dark, every moment that makes you doubt, it’s a rush that will leave you breathless with anticipation. I could not put it down. 

In Reeve’s End the poverty is so profound that people can’t afford food and hunting is a necessary means of survival for some. The story begins with the main character setting traps, hunting for her dinner, resting in her personal shack in the woods. As the world building picked up, it was a huge revelation. Reeve’s End is one sketchy and messed up place. The cops are a joke. They arrest people on whim, they dismiss actual tips, and are full of prejudice that prevents them from doing real police work. And the sexism. Wow. There are several pointed comments about a woman’s position in society, victim blaming, and intelligence as something snobby and indecent. Sometimes the rage was pretty strong and the frustration that no one would listen to Winter and Jude, it’s enough to put anyone on edge. 

Winter and Jude. Steamy. Profound. Beautiful. The way they confide in each other. They see beneath the surface and fronts they put on for outsiders and they’re so cautious. Winter recognizes Jude has deep resentment, issues, and has put up a wall because she has the same feelings within herself. Their relationship isn’t angsty or particularly sexual like a lot of YA lately, it builds and grows and is rooted in understanding and compassion. 

While there were tidbits and clues throughout, I don’t think there were enough of them. The ending is so twisted that there’s really no way to see it coming and there wasn’t enough given to the reader to make a guess until a chapter or two before the reveal. 

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

Keep reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

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When Caroline’s little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can’t help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home.

And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can’t see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend–and their best option just might be each other.

review3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley &  Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Afterward is a dual POV story set in the months after two abducted boys were rescued from their captor’s home. Told from the perspectives of Ethan, a boy who was held and abused for FOUR years, and Caroline, the sister of the young autistic boy who was nabbed by Ethan’s predator. This story is about recovery and learning to work through the trauma in a healthy way. Getting back to normal after being kidnapped seems impossible and when everyone treats you like you’re fragile and will disappear again at any moment, it’s a Herculean weight on your shoulders. Caroline struggles to understand what he brother went through when, because of his autism, he cannot communicate what happened to him, he just has severe nightmares and PTSD. Jennifer Mathieu, skillfully, and respectfully shows both sides of the spectrum, the family that is working so hard to help and understand and the victim’s road to being okay again. 

The story starts with the immediate flash to when her brother was taken. The energy, that crumbling sense of fear as her stomach dropped out when she couldn’t find him. The terror, the anguish, the way she blamed herself were intense and gutting. That scene was a gripping introduction. After that, things slow down, they ease up, and while there are flashbacks for Ethan that are particularly disturbing and haunting, nothing much happens. It drags, you might feel compelled to skim, and get a little bored. It reads a bit like a contemporary, coming of age story in that lethargic, floating way. 

What works is that the story is intensely realistic. The ups and downs, the angst, the general family issues, the class struggles, things like that were all spot on. 

What I didn’t like was how little story actually had to do with Caroline’s brother, Dylan. There are barely any scenes with him and while you do sympathize with Caroline’s heartbreaking quest to understand what her brother went through, I think the focus was skewed. 

There aren’t really any secondary characters and the ones that are there flit in and out and aren’t particularly likable, with the exception of Ethan’s therapist and the dog. 

Ethan’s POV was strong and powerful. He grows and fights to sort through the reasons why he was taken, what he went through, the repressed memories, and all that trauma and clings to normalcy. He just wants to be a teenage boy and yet, he has so much mentally weighing on him that when he gets the opportunity it’s a whole different issue. It’s complex and intense and his thoughts will make you want to read more. 

Caroline was an okay character. She’s a little random, a misfit, she does questionable, rebellious things, but that’s who she is. As the story progresses, she gets a teeny bit more likable, but it’s how she changes Ethan that makes her better.

Overall, Afterward wasn’t what I expected and left me feeling letdown. There were parts that were missing answers and things that still hadn’t been worked through by the end. I didn’t really get the need for so much Caroline. I would have liked to have seen more of her relationship with Dylan. 

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

Emotional reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: 100 Hours by Rachel Vincent

100Hours_HRESAmazon/Goodreads

Release Date: March 28, 2017

A Note from Rachel Vincent

In my upcoming YA suspense 100 HOURS, Genesis and her cousin Maddie come from opposite ends of the privilege spectrum, but when they wind up kidnapped for ransom during spring break in Colombia and have no one else to count on, they discover they have more in common than either of them thought.

If you’ve read any of my previous releases, 100 HOURS probably seems like a departure for a Rachel Vincent book. And that’s what I thought, back when it was just me and an idea. But as I wrote the story and got to know the characters, I realized that even though this book is set in the Colombian jungle and these characters have no supernatural abilities, 100 HOURS is very much a book about the themes that draw me in over and over. Survival. Family friction and loyalty. High-stakes pulse-racing action. Twists, turns, secrets, and revelations. Girls who can fend for themselves—and for anyone else who needs help.

synMaddie is beyond done with her cousin Genesis’s entitled and shallow entourage. Genesis is so over Miami’s predictable social scene with its velvet ropes, petty power plays, and backstabbing boyfriends.

While Maddie craves family time for spring break, Genesis seeks novelty—like a last-minute getaway to an untouched beach in Colombia. And when Genesis wants something, it happens.

But paradise has its price. Dragged from their tents under the cover of dark, Genesis, Maddie, and their friends are kidnapped and held for ransom deep inside the jungle—with no diva left behind. It all feels so random to everyone except Genesis. She knows they were targeted for a reason. And that reason is her.

Now, as the hours count down, only one thing’s for certain: If the Miami hostages can’t set aside their personal problems, no one will make it out alive.

auth

Rachel-Vincent

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | TUMBLR | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Rachel Vincent is a former English teacher and an eager champion of the Oxford comma. She shares her home in Oklahoma with two cats, two teenagers, and her husband, who’s been her # 1 fan from the start. Rachel is older than she looks and younger than she feels, and she remains convinced that writing about the things that scare her is the cheapest form of therapy—but social media is a close second.

giveawayONE (1) winner will receive a SIGNED SET of a paperback copy of THE STARS NEVER RISE + an ARC of THE FLAME NEVER DIES

Giveaway is US only. Must be 13 or older to enter. Giveaway ends on July 11th at 11:59 PM Pacific.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Adventurous reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: After the Woods-Kim Savage

after the woodsGoodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

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Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

review3.5/5 Stars

+++I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Farrar, Straus and Giroux

***Contains triggers: abuse, violence, abduction, assault

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re interested in recovery after trauma
  • You enjoy mysteries that are complex and thought-provoking
  • You like puzzles

PROS:

  • After the Woods examines trauma at the roots and asks questions. Looking at the girl that got away and the one who sacrificed herself for her best friend, Kim Savage peers into the recovery process post-abduction. Everyone deals with trauma differently. 
  • After the Woods also looks at the damaging effects of emotional abuse. The scenes between Liv and her mother are disquieting and heartbreaking, that someone could treat their daughter as if they were imperfect and never one deign to compliment her. Every time Liv’s face fell or she replied with a sarcastic comment, it struck a chord. 
  • The flashbacks to the abduction are terrifying and sickening. The foreboding will set you on edge. Even though you know she makes it out of that situation, what actually happened during the time is a bit of a mystery. As the clues come out, the anxiety increases to a dangerous level. 
  • Julia is a selfless person. She puts her friendship with Liv up on a pedestal, refusing to believe anything but the strength of their bond. All others are second to Liv. Best friends for life and then some. Julia needs to learn how to cope. She’s sarcastic, brash, and haunted by the events in the woods. She clings to statistics and facts as a way to understand her abduction. The odds are low but they comfort her. Julia is fascinating. Seeing the way her mind works, how she analyzes and keeps meticulous lists helped me better understand the many ways people deal with trauma. 
  • The cover is gorgeous. 

CONS:

  • The big reveal was kind of a letdown. There are so many signs pointing to the ending that I figured it out before the halfway point. 
  • Julia is constantly making decisions that make you want to shake some sense into her. Her delusions about the media, the deals she makes, how she dismisses Liv’s wacked out behavior for most of the book, it all is so frustrating. 
  • If you’re looking for a romance, After the Woods is more about friendship than swoon. While there are a few moments, it’s secondary to everything else. The romance itself felt a bit like instalove. Suddenly, it was there. Not much build up. 

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

Keep reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal: Shift-Karina Espinosa

Releasing February 10th, 2015
cooltext1790897456 copyIt’s hard enough being an undergraduate student, an intern at Downtown Manhattan’s police station, and a bouncer at a local bar. Add her now ex-boyfriend who recently dumped her for the school’s resident bimbo—oh, and she’s a werewolf.
 
 Mackenzie Grey meets her match when she is kidnapped by the Brooklyn Pack and tossed between Sebastian and Jonah—the Alpha and the Beta. Being a lone-wolf in the city is dangerous, and now that the Pack has found her, so can every supernatural being in the Tri-State area. And not even her sarcastic, smart mouth can get her out of this.

When a string of kidnappings involves Mackenzie in supernatural politics, she questions her new acquaintances and finds unlikely allies. Can she escape Pack law and keep her freedom—or will she be condemned to an unwanted path?

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Facebook/Twitter: @TweetsByKarina/Instagram: karina745

Born in New York City, my family picked up and moved to South Florida when I was twelve. After high school I spent the next few years traveling and experiencing what life had to offer me. At twenty four years old, I’m back in South Florida in my third year of University-majoring in Communication studies. When not in the writing cave, I usually have my nose in a book or on Netflix, cut off from the world with a huge bowl of ice cream.

Pleasant reading,

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Cover Reveal: The Missing One-Liz Lovelock

Title: The Missing One (Lost Series #2) 

Author: Liz Lovelock

Release Date: No date set 
Cover Designer: Cover to Cover Designs

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Everything in Melodi White’s life is finally perfect. She has an amazing man by her side, she’s made lifelong friends and she’s starting to live the life she and her twin sister Abby dreamed of. But things don’t stay perfect for long.

Melodi lives constantly haunted by the past of her sister Abby and her ex-boyfriend Jacob. Can Melodi and Corban move forward with their relationship when someone she never expected to see again returns, and throws them on to an emotional rollercoaster?

With so much turmoil surrounding them, will their love be strong enough to endure when disaster strikes and Melodi is kidnapped? Will she survive the wrath of her kidnapper or will Melodi remain the missing one?

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Other Books in the Series
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My name is Melodi White, I had a dream once like every other girl does. Then one day, my dream was torn to shreds, by my sister’s evil boyfriend, Jacob. It’s been three years since she was ripped from my life. She wasn’t just any sister; no, she was my twin, my best friend.

Deciding to follow our childhood dream of moving to New York, I head for a life of adventure and fun. A night on the town and I find myself wrapped in the arms of one gorgeous, drop-dead-sexy man, Corban. He has literally swept me off my feet, taken my breath away with a single kiss and left me wanting more, a feeling completely alien to me.

Corban Andrews, CEO of Case Construction, rich, sexy and ravishing is set to make my world come undone. I allow myself to put my trust in him, but will his rules and my trust issues let us explore what we could have together? It’s either that or am I at risk of staying lost and alone.

When a blast from my past reappears, I know I may be pushed so far down the rabbit hole, Corban and I just may not survive. It all comes down to survival and choices. I have no idea which I will choose.
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Liz is a wife, mother, reader, blogger and now an author. She’s always busy doing something as she have so much going on and my two little ones keep her on her toes regularly. 

She’s from bright sunny Queensland, Australia. When she was little she would be up late reading Garfield and Asterix comic books and also Footrot Flats. When she hit high school that’s when she read Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden and from there her love of books continued to grow. 
Pleasant reading,
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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?

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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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