This will probably be a quick review as this was a super quick yet incredibly powerful read. I have yet to read a Sarah Crossan book that didn’t shatter me on every level.
I have to state that there are TRIGGER WARNINGS within this story: abuse, domestic violence, mental illness. That being said, these topics are tough, raw, and hard to read, but they were handled with the utmost care and delicacy. They were not thrown in to help move the story along, they were necessary and beautifully woven into the story in a way that made the story heart-warming yet gut-wrenching at the same time.
Allison’s character was complex, well developed, and believable. I swear Allison was someone I could have known in real life, someone I could have grown up living down the street from. I want nothing more than to be able to help her with a kind word, a hug, or something more. Either way, she was utterly amazing and I connected with her from page one.
The overall story was so full of emotion that I could not turn the pages fast enough. I just had to know what happened to Allison and the lonely lady, Marla. Their story gripped me and never let me go. While this was a gripping and unafraid story, it was not for the faint of heart. I cannot stress that enough – there were some pages/chapters that were downright horrific to read, but that did not make them any less important. Everything in this story was raw and I loved it. I am upset that I did not read this sooner.
I will forever be a Crossan fan and I will urge everyone to read her books. Nearly all of them are written in verse and will stay with you for a very long time (in the best way possible). Please give this a chance if you have not already.
Today Freeform Books, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for her upcoming YA Mystery Book, DEADLY LITTLE SCANDALS, which releases on November 5, 2019! We’re also revealing the new cover for book 1 in the series, LITTLE WHITE LIES! Check out the awesome covers and
enter the giveaway!
“Think of the White Gloves like the Junior League-by way of Skull and Bones?” Reluctant debutante Sawyer Taft joined Southern high society for one reason and one reason alone: to identify and locate her biological father. But the answers Sawyer found during her debutante year only left her with more questions and one potentially life-ruining secret. When her cousin Lily ropes her into pledging a mysterious, elite, and all-female secret society called the White Gloves, Sawyer soon discovers that someone in the group’s ranks may have the answers she’s looking for. Things are looking up… until Sawyer and the White Gloves make a disturbing discover near the family’s summer home–and uncover a twisted secret, decades in the making. No one is quite who they seem to be in this twisty, soapy, gasp-inducing sequel to Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ unputdownable Little White Lies.
“I’m not saying this is Sawyer’s fault,” the prim and proper one said delicately. “But.” Eighteen-year-old auto mechanic Sawyer Taft did not expect her estranged grandmother to show up at her apartment door and offer her a six-figure contract to participate in debutante season. And she definitely never imagined she would accept. But when she realizes that immersing herself in her grandmother’s “society” might mean discovering the answer to the biggest mystery of her life-her father’s identity-she signs on the dotted line and braces herself for a year of makeovers, big dresses, bigger egos, and a whole lot of bless your heart. The one thing she doesn’t expect to find is friendship, but as she’s drawn into a group of debutantes with scandalous, dangerous secrets of their own, Sawyer quickly discovers that her family isn’t the only mainstay of high society with skeletons in their closet. There are people in her grandmother’s glittering world who are not what they appear, and no one wants Sawyer poking her nose into the past. As she navigates the twisted relationships between her new friends and their powerful parents, Sawyer’s search for the truth about her own origins is just the beginning. Set in the world of debutante balls, grand estates and rolling green hills, Little White Lies combines a charming setting, a classic fish-out-of-water story, and the sort of layered mystery only author Jennifer Lynn Barnes can pull off.
Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed young adult novels. She has advanced degrees in psychology, psychiatry, and cognitive science, including graduate degrees from Cambridge University, where she was a Fulbright Scholar, and Yale University, where she received her Ph.D. in 2012. Jen wrote her first published novel when she was nineteen-years-old and sold her first five books while still in college. In additional to writing YA novels, Jen has also written original pilot scripts for television networks like USA and MTV, and she is one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of fandom and the cognitive science of fiction and the imagination more broadly. Jen is an Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma, where she holds a dual appointment in Psychology and Professional Writing.
**I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.**
This was blurbed to be Stranger Things meets The Lake House. How does a reader say no to something like that?! Sign me up! It was a valid description, however, the overall story itself felt messy, jumbled, and crammed with too many side stories. I was confused as to what the overall focus of the story was supposed to be. I read sci-fi, contemporary, mystery/thriller, and coming of age. Make up your mind! This would have been so much better as either a sci-fi or mystery/thriller, but certainly not all four genres forced into one.
The contemporary side of the story lacked any real emotion or depth. I never felt a romantic connection between Araceli, the protagonist, and the random boy she was writing letters to. It came across as insta-love and we all know how I feel about that topic. If this had been a contemporary by itself, I would have DNFd without giving a second thought.
The mystery/thriller side of the story was lacking as well because I never felt a sense of urgency. I never felt that Araceli and her group of stereotypical friends were ever in any danger. They were disappearing but I was more curious about why but I wasn’t loosing sleep over this question.
This story had potential but the execution was what ruined it for me. The story had no flow whatsoever. The conversations between character felt forced and awkward. I found myself skipping and skimming a lot of the dialogue just so I could get through this. By the time I got to the end of the story, I was so disappointed. The ending felt rushed and unfulfilling.
I was not able to connect to any of the characters as they felt shallow and undeveloped. I didn’t know their likes, dislikes, characteristics, or anything substantial. I only knew the basic information on Araceli so I could not ever get behind her or her actions. Everything that the characters were good at felt convenient. There is a dance team at the new school Araceli attends and it’s the peak of popularity? Oh good! Because Araceli happens to be amazing at dancing. There are a lot of people disappearing in this new town that Araceli moved to? Swell! Her parents happen to be investigative reporters and know their way around war zones so she knows just what to do! Give me a break. Solutions just came too easy and they were not believable at all.
I am not upset that I read this book, I adore this author, but the overall story that I read was not what I expected.
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
March Madness has begun and college basketball
playoffs are heating up, not that Robert Walker—a graduate student from
Texas—particularly cares. He has decided to skip classes for the day, sleep in,
and get some rest. Unfortunately, a brief spat on the phone with his fiancée
makes that impossible. Hoping to take his mind off of it, he scans through TV
channels in search of entertainment and instead finds one news report after
another that warns of violence erupting in the streets.
People are randomly and savagely attacking one
another all along the East Coast from Maine to Florida. Some speculate it may
be related to strange lights that have appeared in the sky above the outbreaks.
Before any solid conclusions can be drawn, however, the brutality spreads,
sweeping across the country until it hits Houston, then proceeds on to the West
Coast. Robert, a handful of classmates, and a few others manage to survive the
first wave and find themselves in the midst of civilization’s blackest hour, surrounded
by pandemonium, bloodshed, and masses of people who have been stripped of their
humanity. Hours later, as those strange lights continue to dominate the sky,
the vicious horde undergoes a new transformation.
There is no escaping the horror. Unable to reach his fiancée by phone, Robert sets out to find her, joined by a small ensemble of fellow survivors. The thirty-five miles they must cover are fraught with danger, and their terror grows with each step they take as they witness the genesis of a new Earth. Can they find a way to stop it? Will they even survive it?
Puffy house shoes. “Ma,” Robert
said, then raised the phone to his ear. “Ma, what’s going on?” Static swelled
over the line. “Hello? Ma? Ma!”
“I’m here, Bobby,” Ms. Walker said,
barely audible above the static. The alarm and urgency infusing her voice frightened
him more than everything that had happened thus far.
“We have to get outta here!” Alex
“Quiet!” he shouted back at her.
Then, in a calm voice, he said to his mother, “Talk to me.”
“My father called from Chapel
“—that people had gone mad, killing
“He said it was happening all along
the East Coast. The news didn’t know what—”
“The president was attacked by two
of his own Secret Ser—”
“—beating him and—”
“—if he’s alive or dead.”
“We have to go,” Big Walt said and
hurried to the window to survey the area. “I think we can make it if we go now.
Robert raised a hand and motioned
for Big Walt to stop speaking for a minute.
Alex moved to stand in front of the
door and curled both hands into fists. Kicking off her house shoes, she bounced
like a boxer waiting for her moment to knock out an opponent.
“—ad,” she said softly. “Robert.”
Her voice rose a bit.
“What happened, Ma?” Robert asked
as he placed an index finger in his other ear.
Big Walt unlocked the window and
raised it to its full height. He looked toward the sky. “Humph.”
“Ma, I can’t hear—” He broke off.
“Wait. Big Walt, what are you doing?”
“I have to live, my friend,” Walt
said. “Good luck.” He pushed the screen outward with both hands, letting it
fall into the flowerbed four feet beneath the window. In one fluid motion, Big
Walt dove outside.
Alex glanced over one shoulder.
“Where’s Big Walt?” She dashed over to the window with Robert on her heels.
Big Walt ran toward the parking lot where a female student had rammed her car into the automatic gate. With tight fists, two male students beat on the semiconscious woman. Her tired sobs and weak battle against the duo proved fruitless.
Bellowing a war cry, Big Walt struck both students with his fists and knocked them backward. They looked like the crooks in the old Batman TV show when they tumbled almost exaggeratedly over the curb.
About Joe: (No author Photo)
Joe Solomon earned
both master’s and doctoral degrees from Rice University and is a writer, a
director, an independent filmmaker, and a composer. His first novel—a supernatural thriller
entitled The Darkness: Giger, Texas—reached #2 on Amazon’s Best Seller list and
is available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. His next novel—The Light:
Houston, Texas—will release June 11, 2019. He has also completed a collection
of short stories that arose from the macabre and will release next year.
An award-winning screenwriter, Joe has completed seventeen screenplays and nine stage plays. He has also been very active in the independent film industry, directing four short films, one feature film (post production), and six music videos. His screenplays have won Best Screenplay at the Mediterranean Film Festival (Cannes, France), been Official Selections at the Beverly Hills Film Festival, been a Finalist in the American Movie Awards, won the Final Draft Screenwriters Award, won the Screenwriting Showcase Award, reached the Second Round in The Sundance Feature Film Program, and been a Finalist in the Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition. His music videos have won Best Music Video at the Honolulu Film Awards, the Silver Remi Award for Creative Excellence at the WorldFest Houston International Film Festival, won the Maple Leaf Award at the Canada International Film Festival, been an Official Selection of the International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema—Milan, been an Official Selection of the Switzerland International Film Festival, won Best Director—Music Video in the Honolulu Film Awards, and been a Finalist in the American Movie Awards. They have also been Official Selections of many additional international film festivals.
By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender.
While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light.
This sounds downright amazing and I cannot wait to read it.
A fierce sequel full of sisterhood, heart pounding action,
betrayal, and intrigue in the royal court in a series that “breathes new
life into the feminist story of oppression and resistance” (Publisher’s
Banished by Asa at the end of Grace and Fury, Nomi and Malachi
find themselves powerless and headed towards their all-but-certain deaths. Now
that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never
sets foot in the palace again. Their only hope is to find Nomi’s sister,
Serina, on the prison island of Mount Ruin. But when Nomi and Malachi arrive,
it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an
island in the grip of revolution, and Serina–polite, submissive Serina–is its
Betrayal, grief, and violence have changed both sisters, and the
women of Mount Ruin have their sights set on revenge beyond the confines of
their island prison. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a
new age of freedom for all. But first they’ll have to get rid of Asa, and only
Nomi knows how.
Separated once again, this time by choice, Nomi and Serina must
forge their own paths as they aim to tear down the world they know, and build
something better in its place.
The stakes are higher and the battles bolder in Tracy Banghart’s
unputdownable sequel to Grace and Fury.
I’m going to make this a down and dirty review because I really want you to pick up the book. 🙂
This book ROCKED with Girl Power! and it had me pumped! Nomi and Serina really found themselves in this sequel and I was here for it. I loved them in the first book and loved them harder in the second. They found had their character arc and discovered what they were capable of and who they were supposed to be. It was nothing short of amazing.
The second half of the book was so action packed that it went by quickly. So quickly, in fact, that I would have liked a minor/short epilogue chapter to give me ultimate closure on the characters I’d bonded with over the two books.
This book was full of all of the ships: sister relationships and love relationships. I wanted all of the ships! The way the sister relationship was written was brilliant. This wasn’t the Katniss/Prim type of relationship where one always needed to be protected. Both girls were strong, fierce, and a force to be reckoned with. The romance ships were also really good, but I’m not going to spoil anything for you.
I cannot get over how many feels I have for this book. It was just as good as the first book and I hope you read it, if you haven’t already.
In a world where women have no rights,
sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the
palace, the other in prison.
Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace–someone to stand by
the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman.
But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s
eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been
Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.
Tracy Banghart grew up in rural Maryland and spent her summers on a
remote island in northern Ontario. All of that isolation and lovely scenery
gave her the time to read voraciously and the inspiration to write her own
stories. Always a bit of a nomad, Tracy now travels the world Army-wife style
with her husband, son, cat, and sweet pupper Scrabble. She wrote Grace and Fury
while living in Hawaii.