“Dangerous Lies” Becca Fitzpatrick

Rated 3 stars *** ARC. Ebook. Simon & Schuster. 2015.

DangerousLiesEstella Goodwinn returns home late one night to find her mother in a drugged stupor alongside a dead body. She accuses Danny Balando, her mother’s dealer and leader of a local Philadelphia drug cartel, of the murder. With her life threatened, she is forced to leave behind her boyfriend Reed, given a new identity, and sent to live in Nebraska under the Witness Protection Program.

Now known as Stella, she angrily refuses to settle into her strange new life in Thunder Basin. Knowing she only has to wait a few months until she turns 18 and can leave, she spends days plotting her escape. Carmina, the long suffering retired cop who took her in, and Chet Falconer, the good looking neighbor boy, begin to whittle away at the bricks of pain, loneliness and confusion she’d built around her heart. As Stella begins to feel a pull towards Chet and life in Thunder Basin, she gets a reminder from her old life that will forever shake up her life.

Fitzgerald did a good job describing the witness protection program, but Stella’s bratty behavior towards Carmina, and her constant neediness for Reed was a little over the top. Her up and down emotions towards her mother and Chet was another downer, which is why I only gave it 3 stars.

Despite these bad spots, “Dangerous Lies” is a good read, and I will recommend it for ages 16 and older.

I received an electronic copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

“The alienation of Courtney Hoffman” Brady Stefani

Rated 1 star * ARC. Published June 7, 2016. SparkPress.

TheAlienationOfCourtneyHoffmanCourtney used to love being with her grandfather, listening to his strange stories about aliens visiting Earth, until he tried to drown her when she was just a little girl. Now that she’s 15 years old, she still hasn’t come to grips with the traumatic events of that day.

When her childhood imaginary friend reappears in her mind, and aliens begin to constantly attempt to communicate, Courtney is sure she’s going insane. A new friend convinces her to visit a doctor who understands aliens and who will solve her problems. Before she knows it, Courtney is involved in a race to help the aliens save the world from destroying itself.

Courtney was so immature. I lost count of how many times she pulled her hair in frustration, and I don’t know any 15 year olds who pull their hair. Her friend Agatha was 19 years old and her vocabulary, which consisted of saying the word “dude” in every sentence, was grating and just as bad.

Courtney is 15, has a 19-year-old friend, says bad words, and has a mother who doesn’t listen to anything she says. That means it has to be a YA book. Right? Wrong! The storyline was boring and not believable, the characters were flat and immature, and it could have easily passed for a lower middle grade book. I was looking for an interesting YA book, but this was not that book. A sequel is planned, but I won’t be reading it. I’m sorry I read this one.

I didn’t like it, but will leave it up to you to decide if you want to read it or not.

I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

“Perdita” Faith Gardner

3 stars *** ARC. Ebook. 2015. Merit Press.

PerditaArielle and her sister Casey have never gotten along, but she adores her sister’s best friend Perdita who always has time to talk. The last time Arielle saw her, she had gotten into an argument with Casey and slammed out of the house. The next time she saw Perdita, she was dead.

With Casey now off at college and her best friend Chloe off with a new boyfriend, Arielle feels at odds with everything. Since Perdita’s drowning death, she keeps revisiting the emotions of having seen her own brother drown 10 years earlier when she was only 6 years old. She even begins to feel as if she can see ghosts – especially Perdita’s. The only bright light in her life is Tex, Perdita’s brother. She and Tex are in theater class together, but even their relationship seems strange. When she finds out Perdita was murdered, she realizes her ghost has been trying to tell her something. Arielle is afraid to listen, but even more afraid of not listening.

I liked the storyline, but felt it took too long for something “ghostlike” to actually happen. I also didn’t like that Chloe’s relationship with her overly possessive boyfriend was never explored, which made me feel that the author missed an opportunity to let readers know it is not okay to become a completely different person for the sake of a boyfriend. Chloe was a robot to her boyfriend’s whims, and the only one who knew this was Arielle. I think Arielle should have confronted her about it.

I thought the book was ok, but because of the dragging storyline and the Chloe issue I could only give it 3 stars.

Recommended for 14 and older.

 

“What you left behind” Samantha Hayes

Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. Ebook. DCI Lorraine Fisher #2. 2015. Crown (Random House.)

WhatYouLeftBehindDetective Inspector Lorraine Fisher planned to have a nice vacation with her sister Jo and nephew Freddie in her childhood country home. Though surprised to find Freddie moody and uncommunicative, she brushes off Jo’s concern he might be suicidal because their neighbor Simon and 5 others killed themselves 18 months earlier. Jo is certain the recent suicide of Dean, a homeless teen motorcyclist, would lead to more suicides.

When an autistic neighbor shows her a drawing he made of the accident, showing there had been two people on the motorcycle when Dean died, Lorraine’s interest is piqued. Soon Lenny, another homeless teen, commits suicide and Freddie disappears, leaving Lorraine to find out what happened. What she doesn’t know is that someone has been very clever and will stop at nothing, even murder, to keep secrets hidden that will turn the town upside down.

This whodunit kept me biting my nails and sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation as Hayes cleverly dropped clues about various key characters. Just when I was convinced I knew what happened, she threw a very clever curveball that left me scratching my head in disbelief. Hayes is an author who does not disappoint, and I look forward to reading more of her books.

Though this book was the second in a series about Detective Lorraine Fisher, it stands alone as each book has its own storyline.

Highly recommended for Adults.

 

“Orhan’s Inheritance” Aline Ohanesian

Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. Ebook. 2015. Algonquin Books.

Orhan'sInheritanceForced to return to his tiny village in Turkey from the big city of Istanbul for the reading of the will after his beloved grandfather Kemal dies, Orhan is shocked when his ancestral home is left to a stranger named Seda. Knowing his father and aunt would be displaced if this happens, he is determined to travel to the United States and confront the mysterious woman named in the will.

Orhan finds 90 year old Seda living in an Armenian nursing home, stubbornly refusing to reveal her ties to Kemal. Through persistence and an invisible bond that seems to draw them together, Orhan slowly learns the painful secrets hidden in Kemal and Seda’s pasts which forever changed both of their lives.

Kemal and Seda’s hopes and dreams, often reminding me of the famous star crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet, is intermingled with the horrors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The more I read the more I could see its sad comparison to the events of the Trail of Tears, and how similar warped thinking by people in leadership led to the Holocaust.

These awful lessons from the past should never be repeated, and should serve as a reminder to beware of those who execrate others based on race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation – especially those in leadership or those seeking to become a leader. Thank you Aline for educating us, and for reminding your readers to never forget crimes committed against humanity. As George Santayana wrote in 1905, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We need to remember.

Highly recommended for Adults.

“All these perfect strangers” Aoife Clifford

Rated 3 stars *** ARC. Ebook. To be published July 12, 2016. Random House.

AllThesePerfectStrangersIn the late 1980’s a murder was committed in Pen’s small hometown when she was only 15, which implicated her and her best friend Tracey. It’s now 1990, and she is seeing a psychiatrist for some murders that happened at her University. Using her doctor’s suggestion, Pen decides to keep a journal to recount events in her life so she could get to the root of her real problems.

Pen’s diary goes back and forth in time describing the current situation in her hometown, then skipping back to her life at University where someone is attacking females with a screwdriver, and where drugs, sex and drinking run rampant and unchecked. Occasionally Pen’s diary jumps even further back in time to give readers glimpses of her time with Tracey, but that timeframe is not as well developed.

The author cleverly weaved in secrets and lies as people were dropping like flies, which made me suspect practically everyone. I enjoyed trying to figure out what was happening, but I did not like the way the book ended. Are readers supposed to guess at what happened in the last chapter, or is the author planning on writing a sequel? I really hope not, but if she isn’t going to write one why did she leave readers dangling off the edge of a cliff?

I will recommend this book with some reservations. If it weren’t for the ending, and not getting clear answers to my many questions about Pen and Tracey, I would have given this book 4 stars. Its murky ending lowered it to three stars.

Recommended for Adults.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

“All the missing girls” Megan Miranda

Rated 4 stars **** ARC. Ebook. To be published June 28, 2016. Simon & Schuster.

AllTheMissingGirlsTen years ago Nicolette Farrell left her friends, boyfriend and family behind in her sleepy hometown of Cooley Ridge, North Carolina. Over the years she worked hard to bring herself up by her own bootstraps, and is engaged to a rich lawyer in Philadelphia with her own career. When a mysterious letter arrives from home, followed by a call from her brother, she realizes she has to return to face the demons she’s been running from ever since her best friend Corinne vanished.

It doesn’t take long for Annaleise Carter, another young woman, to disappear soon after Nic arrives in town. The police are sniffing around her ex-boyfriend Tyler, Corinne’s old boyfriend Jackson, Nic’s brother Daniel, and even her senile father. Nic doesn’t know who to believe and, as the truth is gradually revealed, her world will never be the same.

I loved the suspense in this book, and suspected everyone as I eagerly devoured it. I was sure I knew who was guilty, and was SHOCKED when Miranda played her last card and revealed her hand. I did NOT see THAT coming!

I didn’t like that the story was told backwards, which is why I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars. It’s a unique way to write, but I kept getting confused. I would read about events in one chapter that weren’t explained until the next chapter, but there was an earlier chapter after that which really came before it. HUH?! I found myself going back and forth several times to get the gist of the action, which took away from the storyline, and was especially hard to do with an ebook. Though I was not a fan of this, the suspense and whodunit atmosphere makes “All the missing girls” worth a read.

Recommended for Adults.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.