Posted in Book Extras, Reviews

Blog Tour: “Girl on the Verge” by Pintip Dunn

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Enter here to win an Amazon gift card! – and scroll down for my review and more info on this book and author!

Book details:
Girl on the Verge
by Pintip Dunn
Published by: Kensington
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Synopsis:

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…


MY REVIEW

Girl on the VergeGirl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the tradition of “Fatal Attraction” and the recent movie “Unforgettable,” “Girl on the Verge” explores what happens when someone gets a little too….friendly. However this book adds some twists that make it a great, suspenseful read.

Kan is a great character who is immediately likable and relatable. I really enjoyed her character and was immediately creeped out by Shelly, who was also really well written. One added “twist” that makes the book interesting, is that despite Kan’s pleas and concerns, her mother and grandmother seem to ignore her as things get more and more weird. It adds a desperation to Kan’s situation, which adds to the suspense.

This book really packs a punch too toward the end. We’re not talking about just dressing alike; it’s full-blown boiling bunnies. And I couldn’t stop reading until I found out what was going to happen.

I sailed through this book quickly. The cultural identity issues Kan faces and the other subplots will keep you turning pages, too.

Highly recommended.


 AUTHOR BIO:

PintipPintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She 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.

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, FORGET TOMORROW, won the RWA RITA® for Best First Book. Her other novels include THE DARKEST LIE, REMEMBER YESTERDAY, and the novella BEFORE TOMORROW.

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

Author links:
Posted in Book Extras

New YA Series Cover reveal & Giveaway!

In August, the first book in a cool-sounding new YA series – Project Pandora by Aden Polydoros – will be released. And today, we got a first peak at the cover!

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Here’s a description by the publisher:

Olympus is rising…

Tyler hasn’t been feeling like himself lately, his dreams are full of violence and death, and there are days where he can’t remember where he’s been.

Miles away, Shannon finds herself haunted by similar nightmares. She is afraid that she has done something terrible.

As the daughter of a state senator, Elizabeth has everything she could ever hope for. But when an uninvited guest interrupts a fundraising gala and stirs up painful memories, everything goes downhill fast.

Murder is what Hades is good at. So when two of his comrades go AWOL, he is rewarded with the most exhilarating hunt of his lifetime. For him, the game has just begun.

Project Pandora comes out August 1!

Check out YA Book Central for more information about the book as well as a chance to win an advance copy!

Posted in Reviews

Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano

Lost GirlsLost Girls by Merrie Destefano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was quite a ride. The premise is amazing and the book really grips you from the beginning and doesn’t stop until you’re left looking at the last page.

Rachel returns home after going missing for two weeks. However, in addition to forgetting how she went missing and what happened, she doesn’t remember the entire last year of her life. And additionally it appears she went through a major transformation in that year. As she tries to figure out what happened to her – as well as numerous other “Lost Girls” in the region – she’s also dealing with uncovering what led her to completely give up her former life and become someone she barely recognizes.

I don’t want to give too much away because I’ve read other reviews that kind of spoiled it – but she basically fines that she and her friends have become involved in something that is dangerous in the extreme.

It’s like sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll for teenagers.

Like I said I really enjoyed the story which is really peeled back in layers as memories return to Rachel at different times. There’s definitely a sense of foreboding throughout the novel as Rachel comes closer to figuring out what is going on. That atmospheric tension really makes the book go from good to great.

However, I gave the book four stars because while I did like the story, some of it was so far out there and unbelievable that it made me pause slightly. For a book that is supposed to take place in the “real world” there was a lot of stretching of the imagination that needs to happen. I mean, you basically have to imagine that all of the adults in the novel are completely dumb and can only figure things out when it is spelled out for them. But once you get past that, you’ll be fine.

I wouldn’t let that deter you from picking up this book which really is very, very good. I enjoyed it very much and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a quick read which will pull you in immediately.

I would definitely read more from this author.

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Posted in Author Q&As

Author Q&A: Caytlyn Brooke

32762607Earlier this week, I shared my review of Dark Flowers, a spooky YA thriller that kept this adult highly entertained. It follows two girls as they fight for their freedom during a high-stakes adventure in the Louisiana swamps.

From the back of the book:

Life at St. Agatha’s School for Girls is anything but a fairytale. With ratty blankets and a torturous device called the box, it’s not hard to understand Eliza’s desperation to escape. When the timing is right, Eliza manages to run away with her best friend Millie, heading through the Louisiana swamps to the town on the other side.

But the swamps may be even more dangerous than the orphanage. Silver and black fairies invite the girls to experience a world where they can have it all, but Eliza doesn’t trust the sparkling beauty. When Millie suddenly becomes violent and attacks another girl, Eliza knows something awful is about to happen.

She will do anything to protect Millie but once Eliza remembers her own terrible secret, it is impossible to forget. The fairies’ songs call to Eliza and its getting harder and harder to pretend it’s all in her head.

Below, Brooke talks about the inspiration for the fairy-based tale, what she’s working on now and what gives her the creeps!

At the bottom of the post is a bonus question for those who have finished the book which – WARNING – contains spoilers.

Where did you get the inspiration for this book? It has some fairytale elements, but it is quite scary in some parts!

Growing up, I was always obsessed with fantasy and discovering hidden worlds. My sister and I loved exploring our backyard for tiny fairy feet or glitter on the leaves. The movie, “A Fairytale: A True Story” had a lot to do with that. We would make elaborate fairy houses and leave them little chocolates (of which my brothers repeatedly ate) but we had so much fun waiting to see them. Then, one day a few years ago, her and I were playing in my backyard and I somehow managed to get pollen all over my arm. I looked down and said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if this just absorbed into my skin?” and poof! The idea for Dark Flowers was born! We immediately raced inside and I started to sketch out the characters and the plot. My sister even gave me the name for Millie! I wanted to capture the hope that children harbor when they truly believe in something and are desperate to find it.

As for the scarier parts, I am a huge fan of the darker side of any story. Happy endings are nice, but when you add in twists and creepy moments, I feel it is more impactful. Readers are going to remember and think about a chilling image as they lie in bed and I love creating those moments that linger in the mind no matter how brightly the sun shines.  Continue reading “Author Q&A: Caytlyn Brooke”

Posted in Reviews

Dark Flowers by Caytlyn Brooke

Dark FlowersDark Flowers by Caytlyn Brooke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you’re looking for the perfect spooky book to curl up with as a snowstorm swirls outside, look no further. Dark Flowers is the perfect dark version of a fairy-tale: complete with a brutal headmistress, orphans in distress, a psychiatric hospital and not-so-nice fairies.

The main character is Eliza, who, along with her friend Millie, lives at St. Agatha’s School for Girls, a depressing orphanage run by a sadistic headmistress. Eliza vows not only to escape through the Louisiana swamps that surround the grounds, but bring Millie with her. But their attempt is thwarted when the girls encounter alluring fairies, who invite them to share in their realm. But Eliza has a bad feeling about them. And based on what happens next, she was right.

This book kept me turning pages until I hit the end. I couldn’t wait to see what happened. I don’t want to give away too many details, because the fun is in reading the twists yourself, but as the girls get closer to uncovering the secrets of the swamp fairies, things get scary – fast.

And while the story uses some tried-and-true techniques to keep the readers on their toes – dreams, whispered voices, scary children – the story feels fresh and new. It never at any point feels tired or reductive. That’s what makes it so great; I had no idea what was going to come next or how it was going to work out.

The ending is also satisfying, wrapping things up nicely, answering all the major questions. But it’s definitely got this open-ended feeling, like in the movie Psycho, where you are left wondering, “Oh God, what’s next?!”

I’m really trying not to give anything away because it really is that good, there’s a new shock around every turn and you’ll stay up all night finishing it. You won’t regret picking this one up.

Absolutely recommend.

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Posted in Reviews

Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog

Unnatural DeedsUnnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a little different than your average YA/mystery-thriller in style, but I liked it! You know the whole time that someone is murdered and things have gone horribly wrong, but you don’t see the clear picture until the end.

The story is written as a reflection by high school junior Vic, addressed to her boyfriend Andrew. Vic is shy and anxious, while Andrew, who lives next door is also extremely anxious, but the pair are best friends and boyfriend/girlfriend – a seemingly perfect pair. Andrew is homeschooled, while Vic goes to a small Catholic school. The first day of her junior year, she meets “Z,” and they begin a fast-paced, obsessive affair which leads to … something. We don’t know, but each chapter starts with pieces of police interviews and reports which indicate something is very wrong.

Oh, and at the beginning of the novel, Vic tells us she’s narrating this story from a ditch alongside the road, where she’s stuck.

Yeah. The atmosphere is incredibly dark and foreboding – the whole time you’re trying to get a grip on who the villain is, if anyone, and what the big picture is.

There’s twists at the end which really will jolt you and throw the story into chaos.

My only qualm is – for me, the twists and ending raised more questions than they answered. I like when I can walk away knowing what happened and reflecting back on the story, but I found myself in this case saying, “Wait…why this? Why that? Did s/he mean this?”

My questions weren’t sequel-worthy or anything, they were just questions about some things that knowing the bigger picture finally, made me question some things.

I’m trying to be vague so I don’t spoil things, I hope this all makes sense. I’d love to hear from people who have read it and want to share their perspective!

Overall, I did like it – I really wanted to know what happened! It was definitely a creepy tale for people who like thrillers. Just be prepared to question everything.

View all my reviews