17.1.18

Review: Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant



Synopsis/Cover Image from Amazon
It starts with a lie. The kind we've all told - to a former acquaintance we can't quite place but still, for some reason, feel the need to impress. The story of our life, embellished for the benefit of the happily married lawyer with the kids and the lovely home.

And the next thing you know, you're having dinner at their house, and accepting an invitation to join them on holiday - swept up in their perfect life, the kind you always dreamed of...

Which turns out to be less than perfect. But by the time you're trapped and sweating in the relentless Greek sun, burning to escape the tension all around you - by the time you start to realise that, however painful the truth might be, it's the lies that cause the real damage...

... well, by then, it could just be too late.
Review:

A mind blowing psychological thriller! 

When I started Lie With Me the other morning I never expected to finish it in one day; however, once I started I couldn't stop. I kept saying 'one more chapter, one more chapter.' 

The characters aren't particularly likable. I actually despised the majority of them, but there's something about their respective stories that made them so utterly compelling. I wanted to know more about everyone- their wants, their needs, what made them tick, and, more importantly, what secrets they were hiding. I often wondered if Paul, the lead character, was an unreliable narrator because of his memory gaps. I couldn't believe he could possibly forget that much about his past.

The plot, however, is what kept me coming back for more. The mystery is complex as well as gripping. I couldn't believe at times that everything was built upon one lie that turned into a million other lies. It's crazy how lies - big as well as small - can change the course of one's life so drastically. Additionally, I liked the secluded setting. I knew it was going to end badly as soon as Paul arrived at the beach house. Over the course of the book, I had several theories as to how it would end. Some of those theories ended up being true, and others ended up blowing me away. Sabine connected so many little pieces seamlessly. It was spectacular to see how well everything came together. 

Overall, Lie With Me is a suspenseful, unforgettable thriller. It's easy to see why it has become such a sensation in the UK. I can't wait to read more by Sabine Durrant. 


4 stars!!

Lie With Me is now out!

Source: Publisher



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16.1.18

Review: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson


Synopsis/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.

Review: 

Maureen Johnson is one of my favorite YA authors. Not only have I devoured and loved the majority of her YA contemporary books (The Key to Everything, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, The Last Little Blue Envelope, and Girl At Sea), but they've always toped my "best of" lists. Therefore, when I caught wind that she was releasing a new series - one focusing on a teenage sleuth, a decades old murder mystery, and a boarding school setting - I was jumping-up-and-down-can't-contain-my-happiness excited. I had high hopes; however, I had faith that Maureen would deliver.

As it turns out I was one 100% right. Truly Devious just may be Maureen's best work yet! Suspenseful, swoony, and incredibly well written, Truly Devious is a wild ride from start to finish. 

Truly Devious beautifully blends together two murder mysteries - one from the past as well as one from the present. At first I didn't know how Maureen was possibly going to stretch the murder mysteries over three books; however, now that I've finished the book it's crystal clear. There's A LOT at play and I can't wait to see how it unravels. 

Both mysteries are nail-bitting/edge-of-my-seat suspenseful. There's so many twists, so many turns, and so many more connections than I could have ever possibly imagined. Out of the two, however, I think the one from the past hooked me in the most. For one, I enjoyed the flashbacks Maureen offered. It gave insight to the key players from that fateful day - Albert Ellingham, the butler, the FBI detail assigned to Albert, etc -  and each "confessional" introduced an exciting new clue. I also liked that details surrounding the case where slowly revealed. It offered up an extra dose of suspense, especially when Stevie took it upon herself to "re-open" the case. 

The setting also added a layer of chill to the novel. Ellingham Academy is by no means your typical boarding school. It's located in the middle of nowhere, cut-off from civilization in many facets. It also contains crazy artwork, secret hideaways/passages, and a mega mansion. Maureen did such a fantastic job of setting the scene. 

Stevie is great lead!  She's smart, funny, and utterly charming. When the story begins, Stevie is beyond ready to have a fresh start. She never fit in well at home - her conservative parents never understand her, she always does or says the wrong thing, and the majority of her friends are online rather than in person. At Ellingham Acadmey Stevie slowly starts to get comfortable, finding an unexpected home. She makes friends, pursues a boy, and learns how to speak up for herself. I clicked with her from the start, and I loved seeing her embark on this journey.  In addition to Stevie, I enjoyed the wide variety of other characters introduced in the past as well as the present. There were unique as well as complex. My favorite of the bunch, though, is Stevie's love interest. I could never quite figure him out but I loved how he made Stevie more adventurous, more willing to go with the flow.

Overall, Truly Devious is yet another stellar book by Maureen, and given the crazy, I-can't-believe-this-is-happening ending I can't wait to see where it goes next.

Truly, Devious is now out! 

5 stars!! 

Source: eARC provided by HarperCollins - thank you! 



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15.1.18

Review: Cake at Midnight by Jessie L. Star


Synopsis/Cover Image from Publisher's Website
In this deliciously sweet foodie romance, a twenty-something pastry chef falls out of sync with her old childhood crush and falls into the arms of the quiet but charming boy next door.

Giovanna, Zoë, and Declan have always been a trio—their fierce friendship has seen them through every heartbreak and hardship and helped pave the way to brighter futures. Gio is a passionate baker of cakes, pastries, and all things delicious, Zoë a take-no-prisoners beauty, and Declan an ambitious businessman on the way up.

Best friends forever, Gio thinks—until Gio's lifelong crush on Declan is exposed, leaving her humiliated, and Gio realises she needs to cut him loose to get over him once and for all.

Enter Theo, Gio's neighbour...she's never met anyone like him before. He doesn't talk much, but he's kind, he's sexy, he's generous, and he's often awake in the middle of the night, like Gio. Theo has a sweet tooth and a mysterious history and Gio can't seem to stay away.

Thanks to the power of sleepless nights and chocolate cake, Gio thinks she's finally over Declan, but then his whole world turns upside down. Gio knows she can't desert Declan in his time of need, but how can she explain a lifetime of love to Theo?

Letting go of the past isn't so easy when your heart is breaking.
Review: 

Jessie L. Star's Cake at Midnight gave me all the feels! 

Going into this I was expecting to like it. I mean, it's a foodie romance, and seriously, what's not to like about that? However I ended up LOVING it. The romance, the characters, the writing, the CAKE....everything was top notch. Honestly, if Sarah Dessen wrote contemporary romance instead of YA I think it would look a lot like Cake at Midnight

Cake at Midnight introduces Gio, a young pastry chef with a bad case of unrequited love, and Theo, Gio's new neighbor. 

I loved Gio from the moment she was introduced. She's sweet, trusting, and vastly hopeful. I admired that she wouldn't give up on people, no matter how tough times got. I also adored Theo. When he was first introduced I didn't truly understand him. I wondered why he was so aloof and mysterious as well as so unwilling to ever fully smile. His need, though, to help Gio in tough times was adorable and sexy! I loved when he went all macho man. I won't say much about his family history and past because I think it's important to experience it first hand, but I will say Theo is just such an incredible guy. He's had a tough past but he always stays resilient and hardworking. 

I'll admit that I was worried that Gio's case of unrequited love would get on my nerves. Luckily it didn't. I could 100% could understand it, actually, because the type of unrequited love that Gio has (for a long-term friend who has been giving her mixed signals for years) is one I think most readers will find relatable. I know I did! It did frustrate me at times, though, that Gio wasn't always quick to call Declan out for leading her on and in the process treating her like dirt; however, she got better at it as the book went on it so I couldn't be too mad. 

Additionally, I loved the romance in Cake at Midnight. Gio and Theo's relationships is the epitome of slow-burn. The build-up was fantastic. There was hilarious yet awkward moments (the one where Gio hits her head off of Theo's door is my favorite!), late night hangouts involving cake, and some big and epic romantic gestures. I was swooning the whole way through! 

I could honestly go on about Cake at Midnight all day, but I'll cut it off here and leave you all with this. Jessie L. Star's Cake at Midnight is one of my favorite romances of the year (and possibly of all time!). So if you love romance (and cake and big oh-my-goodness revelations!) as much as I do, this NEEDS to be on your TBR! I promise you'll thank me later! 


5 stars!!

Cake at Midnight is now out!

Source: Publisher



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