Review: Queen of Volts (The Shadow Game #3) by Amanda Foody

Queen of Volts (The Shadow Game, #3)Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Welcome to New Reynes, self-proclaimed City of Sin, and one of the most interesting worlds in YA literature.

Queen of Volts is the final installment of The Shadow Game trilogy and therefore, was destined to break my heart.

I dragged out my time reading this. Literally, tried to make it last as long as possible.

Picking up where King of Fools left off, this third book finds Levi and Enne forced to play the most dangerous game yet.

Levi, who is being drawn to the straight life of politics, and Enne, who must figure out how to navigate with her true nature exposed, grapple with their feelings for one another.

Should they play the game as allies or enemies?

I mean, that was my vote.

If you know nothing about this series, I urge you to go read about Ace of Shades. These books are full of intrigue, plotting, scheming, backstabbing and compelling ambitions.

There are street gangs, crime lords, corrupt politicians, gambling dens and magic.

Legends come to life. It’s a dangerous, seedy world and I loved every minute of it. Such a vibe.

I could go on and on about the many things I loved about this series, but honestly, you just need to try it for yourself.

I will say the story truly matured along the way, so perhaps if you picked up Ace of Shades and it was just okay for you, I would urge you to give the second book a shot.

This is one of my favorite YA trilogies of all time. I love the low key MacBeth vibes that I picked up throughout.

It’s just everything. I love it. Amazing job, Amanda Foody. I can’t wait to binge read the series in its entirety someday.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Inkyard Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

This was absolutely one of my most anticipated books of the year, so I truly appreciate it!

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Review: Revival by Stephen King

RevivalRevival by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In 1962, while playing in his yard, 6-year old, Jamie Morton, suddenly has a shadow fall upon him. He looks up to find a statuesque man in church garb standing over him.

The man introduces himself as Charles Jacobs, he’s the new reverend, just arrived in town.

Jacobs, the Rev, is young, vibrant and successful at filling pews; breathing life back into the somewhat stale local church.

He also develops strong relationships with a lot of the young people, Jamie included, who actually is a favorite of sorts for Jacobs.

After an unexpected tragedy strikes, Jacobs is prompted to move on. That’s not the last time Jamie will come across him however; not by a long shot.

From there the narrative progresses with a classic coming-of-age feel and ultimately, ends up spanning five decades.

We follow Jamie as he discovers his gift for music, finds first love, moves from home, struggles with addiction and encounters Jacobs again and again.

Jacobs is the shadow that falls over his entire life.

I didn’t come up with that. That’s from the book, but definitely captures Jacobs presence in this story.

I loved the way King built this one up and progressed the narrative. As Jamie begins to realize the depths to which Jacobs has gone with his electrical obsession, and subsequent pursuit of its potential healing powers, the intensity continues to grow and grow and grow.

The interactions between Jamie and Jacobs begin to feel more dangerous every time they meet.

Jacobs electrical work and experiments were so interesting, but most interesting of all to me, were his healings. The revival-tent displays of power. It had a real mad scientist energy that had me more charged than Frankenstein’s monster.

Revival is a stunning example of King’s status as master storyteller.

From beginning to end, I was entranced. There is so much substance to be found within these pages; so many lines I wish I could recall at will. It’s exceptional. I feel like I will carry this story with me for a long time to come.

The ending is horrifying. Emotionally, philosophically, theologically; there’s a lot to unpack.

We’re talking full blown existential crisis upon reading the last 40-or so pages. I would love to read this again and annotate it. I definitely think it is worthy of that care.

Thank you to all my Constant Reader friends who finally pushed me to pick this one up. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

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Review: Don’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker

Don't Look for MeDon’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, hello, my new favorite Suspense novel of 2020.

I have always enjoyed Wendy Walker’s novels, but Don’t Look for Me takes it to a whole new level. Her best work yet!

It is clear from the very first pages that Molly Clarke is struggling in her life.

After a family tragedy, the remaining family members have drifted apart. Each consumed with grief and guilt, they rarely communicate and certainly not positively.

Molly’s daughter Nicole has told her she hates her, her husband won’t even look her in the eyes and her son publicly shuns her.

One night on a solo road trip, she becomes consumed with thoughts of leaving it all behind. The way she sees it, her family would be better off without her, happier.

With this storm of negative thoughts swirling in her head, she runs into a real life storm, literally. Just when it seems things can’t get any worse, they do. She runs out of gas.

Molly doesn’t return home.

Nicole, Molly’s daughter, has been spiraling out of control. She knows it. Hell, everyone knows it. Between the drinking, one-night stands and explosions at her mother, she’s not proud of herself.

After her Mom goes missing, Nicole is desperate to find her. The things she said to her on the very morning she disappeared. She can’t live with it. She has to make amends, and she can’t until her Mother is found.

The authorities seem to think that Molly walked away, but Nicole knows better than that. Her Mom would never leave her family, would she?

Nicole returns to Hastings, the place where her Mother’s car and belongings were found, to begin her own investigation. She will never give up on her Mom.

If the police won’t continue the search, she will. Even if Molly doesn’t want to be found.

This novel alternates perspectives between Molly and Nicole, starting off on different timelines and ultimately merging into one.

In Walker’s signature style, the chapters are short, with each one ending on a revelation or mini-cliffhanger, making this the epitome of a one-more-chapter type of story.

I thought this was brilliantly plotted the entire way through. From the very first chapter, I was hooked.

There are extremely intense moments, eerie moments, heart-breaking moments; this truly had it all.

In addition to being extremely suspenseful, I was so impressed with the examination of grief, guilt and depression.

The way in which Walker incorporated a family trauma into this story, and was able to tactfully explore how that one event had lasting, and unique repercussions, for each of the family members, was just so well done.

If you are a Reader who likes your Thrillers to have some substance, this one definitely fits the bill.

I loved both Nicole and Molly. Watching their stories unfold, learning the how and why of their circumstances, was just so powerful.

This will definitely make my Favorites List for 2020! Will it be on yours?

Don’t Look for Me is available tomorrow, Tuesday, September 15th, where ever books are sold. This may sound like a pitch, but really, I’m just trying to bring joy to your life.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I truly appreciate it and of course, cannot wait to see what Walker comes up with next!!!

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Blog Tour: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

The Night SwimThe Night Swim by Megan Goldin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Megan Goldin does it again!!!

Rachel Krall is the creator and host of a hugely successful True Crime podcast.

During her first season, evidence she procured through her work was subsequently used to free an innocent man.

Now a household name, with a reputation as a tireless truth seeker, many people reach out to her with cases they think she should investigate next.

A lot of these people feel they have no other options when searching for justice for a friend or loved one; that the system has failed them and Rachel is their last resort.

These letters for help generally come in the form of email or through more traditional post. Therefore, Rachel is surprised when a letter ends up stuck under her windshield wiper at a remote rest stop.

How would someone even have recognized her? People generally know her voice, not her face?

When she receives the first mysterious note, Rachel is on her way to Neapolis, where a high profile rape case is currently dividing the small coastal town.

For the latest season of the podcast, Rachel will be looking into the case and attending the trial.

In the ultimate, her story versus his, the victim is the granddaughter of the police chief, and the accused perpetrator is a golden boy, local-celebrity champion swimmer.

As Rachel throws herself into her investigation, the mysterious letters continue to show up in unexpected places, including her hotel room.

The author of the letters, a young woman named Hannah, pleads with Rachel to look into the death of her sister, Jenny, 25-years earlier in Neapolis.

Rachel admittedly finds Jenny’s case interesting. A reported drowning, Hannah insists that foul play was involved.

Y’all, I loved this book! The format Goldin chose to tell this story was absolutely perfect.

We get multiple perspectives, past and present timelines, and full episodes of Rachel’s podcast!

The way that Goldin was able to weave these two mysteries together was flawless. I found myself so invested in both the current rape trial and the historical perspective of what actually happened to Jenny.

I was blessed enough to have received both an e-copy, and an audio copy, of this from the publisher to read and review. I started it off switching back and forth between the two, but ultimately stuck with the audiobook.

The audiobook is so well done. The podcast chapters are incredible!

I had to keep reminding myself I wasn’t actually listening to a podcast, that it was fictional. It’s that believable!

I was already a fan of Goldin after the release of The Escape Room last year, but this one, The Night Swim takes it to a whole new level.

Megan Goldin is for sure an autobuy author for me!

In addition to the fabulous presentation of this story, I was also impressed with the commentary regarding rape culture and the treatment of victims of rape and sexual assault.

I love when a Thriller can not only be surprising and immersive, but also when it has something to say on real world issues. I think it opens up so many great discussions that are important and impactful.

In short, if you have not picked up The Night Swim yet, please do so. I particularly recommend the audiobook, although the story is fantastic regardless of the medium.

A heartfelt thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with the opportunity to read this early. It will definitely be making my Favorites List for 2020!!!

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Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Home Before DarkHome Before Dark by Riley Sager
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

RILEY SAGER!!!

He has done it again, and actually, I think this is his best work yet!!!

Loved. Loved. Loved.

Perhaps I should throw together some coherent thoughts? Yeah, let’s try.

Upon the death of her father, Maggie Holt, is shocked to discover she has just inherited Baneberry Hall, the allegedly haunted mansion her and her parents abandoned some 25-years earlier.

Quite literally fleeing in the middle of the night, her parents refused to ever return to the property. Her father then published a best-selling non-fiction account of their time there. As you do.

For Maggie’s part, she remembers nothing of her time at Baneberry. Of course, she was just 5-years old and apparently her little mind wiped the slate clean after they departed.

She has read her father’s book, House of Horrors, numerous times, but doesn’t believe a word of it. Her parents, whose relationship didn’t survive the Book, wouldn’t tell her anything, even though she pleaded with them frequently to do so.

Returning all these years later, Maggie hopes to piece together a bit of the truth while she is renovating the home for sale.

As soon as she steps foot on the Baneberry property, however, she’s knows it is not going to be as easy as she had hoped.

Alternating between Maggie’s current perspective and full chapters from House of Horrors was an absolutely delightful way to read this story. I loved how Sager set that up.

The pacing was perfection!

I was so engaged with this throughout. It got into my mind.

I was racing towards the conclusion trying to discover how much of House of Horrors was the truth.

Baneberry Hall was such a presence in the story. It was ominous and creepy AF.

I can’t imagine being Maggie and actually staying there on my own!

Home Before Dark is without a doubt going to be on my top books of the year list!

If you haven’t read anything by Sager yet and are wondering where to start, I highly recommend giving this one a shot. I think it is a perfect example of his style.

If you have read Sager before, and are a fan, what are you waiting for!?

I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next!

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Flashback Review: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

AllegedlyAllegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

Hello, my lovely book friends! Today I thought I would bring you a Flashback review. I originally read and reviewed this novel back in September 2018.

Why am I bringing it up again, you may be wondering?

That’s easy. Because I love this book and still think about it to this day. Also, this novel introduced me to one of my FAVORITE YA Contemporary authors. Tiffany D. Jackson’s writing takes me places and I love every minute of it. Read my full thoughts below and I hope, if you haven’t already, you’ll seriously consider picking up some of Jackson’s work!

Allegedly was Tiffany D. Jackson’s debut novel!?

Yeah, think on that for a while. This. Is. A. Debut.

I am still reeling from this book. It’s one of those stories that sticks with you long after you turn the final page.

Following teenage protagonist, Mary Addison, after she is released from ‘Baby Jail.‘, she now resides in a group home and is trying to adapt to surroundings.

Mary Addison entered Baby Jail after being accused, and prosecuted, for killing a baby that she was helping her mother take care of.

Allegedly.

The majority of the book is stream of consciousness narrative, which generally is hit or miss for me. This is a definite hit and how it should be done.

It was incredibly moving to hear Mary’s remembrances of various parts of her childhood, her challenging relationship with her mentally ill mother, and of her alleged crime.

The rest of the book cleverly fills in the blanks with an excellent assortment of mixed media sources, such as police interviews and court transcripts.

I thought the blending of these two styles together was executed perfectly to reveal the truth at the heart of the story.

The thing I appreciated most about this book was the way it reflected upon the juvenile justice system. Shining a much needed light on the hopelessness and desperation these kids experience, not to mention the general systematic failures.

Behind every case number, inmate number and statistic, is a story. This is just one.

Mary Addison is a whip-smart, mixed race girl, who struggles with low feelings of self-worth and faces a boatload of obstacles.

Her codependency with her mother and her mental illness was so raw. I truly felt for this girl. I was drawn into her story. It was such a struggle to get through some sections, but completely worth it.

It was so well done that at times, I would be so wrapped up, I had to remind myself that Mary Addison is FICTION. Sadly, for a lot of kids out there, too many kids, this story is all too real.

I did listen to the audiobook for this and DAMN, Bahni Turpin can make you feel all the feels. She is so talented and truly brought the story to life for me. I was listening to Mary as far as I was concerned. I could not recommend this audiobook highly enough.

Loved it, loved it, loved it!

Tiffany D. Jackson is one hell of a writer!

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The Best Books I’ve Read in 2020

Now that we are officially halfway through 2020, I thought it would be a good time for me to tell you about the best books I have read so far this year!

My monthly wrap-ups have been nonexistent this year. I think I have written one. So, this serves as sort of a 6-month wrap-up with just good stuff. I am not going to include rereads in this; all these books were new to me in 2020.

First up is a book I am currently reading. I have about a quarter of the book to go, I am taking my time with it because it is so damn good, I don’t want it to end! This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and if you guessed¬†Home Before Dark by Riley Sager, you are correct!

Yes, Home Before Dark is the Horror Thriller of my dreams. When Maggie Holt was just a girl, she and her parents moved into a desolate Vermont mansion, Baneberry Hall. They were there for 3-weeks before they fled for their lives. Her father subsequently released a novel titled, House of Horrors, that tells of their time within the house that he claims is haunted.

Twenty-five years later, after his death, Maggie returns to Baneberry Hall for the first time seeking answers. Was her father’s novel a complicated lie or are the halls of Baneberry actually as haunted as he claims?

Told in alternating sections between Maggie’s current day timeline and excerpts from the Book, I am loving every single second of my time reading this! Horror fans rejoice, this is perfection.

Next up, I would have to mention King’s newest release.¬†If It Bleeds¬†is a four-story short-story collection that includes an anticipated release following one of my favorite characters from the Bill Hodges Trilogy,¬†Holly Gibney.

I felt this was such a great, well-rounded collection. I loved every single story. They all had completely different topics and feels, but somehow worked together perfectly. I actually think I loved this as much as Full Dark, No Stars, which is saying a lot, as that is currently my number one favorite short-story collection.

Keeping with the King, I have to mention¬†Duma Key,¬†which I read last month for a readalong with a bunch of folks in the Constant Reader community on Bookstagram. Firstly, I am so disappointed in myself for not picking up this epic story before now. It was soooooo good. I can’t believe it has been missing from my life all these years.

It follows a man, who after a devastating construction site accident, moves to a remote section of the Florida coastline to recover, both mentally and physically. There he rediscovers a passion for making art, but when Duma Key essentially begins communicating with him through his artwork, the real fun begins. Steeped in family lore and hidden secrets, this story contains beautiful friendships and a ton of hauntings. It is everything!

Even though I have owned a copy of this book since it was released in 2008, I had never even read the synopsis. I had literally no clue what this book was about going in and became completely entranced as the story unfolded. This felt like classic King to me; full of paranormal glee.

Taking a completely different turn, a YA-Contemporary that has blown me away this year would be, Felix Ever After, by Kacen Callender. Following Felix Love, a transgender teen living in New York, this story is a journey of self-acceptance and discovery as Felix learns how important it is to love himself, in addition to accepting love from others.

After a fellow student creates a gallery listing Felix’s deadname, along with photos of him before his transition, he is rightly shattered. He vows to find the person responsible and make them pay. Along with his best friend, Ezrah, he sets out to do just that. For a while, Ez is on board, but eventually Felix goes rogue and continues his revenge plot on his own. During this time, Felix evolves a lot as a character, as he opens up to individuals he had previously blocked from his life and seeks to understand more about his own identity.

Speaking of YA, the YA Mystery/Thriller game has been very strong this year, as I have discovered two new favorites in 2020 releases. Those would be,¬†I Killed Zoe Spanos,¬†by Kit Frick and¬†A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder,¬†by Holly Jackson. Both of these novels follow teen girls doing some amateur sleuthing into unsolved disappearances in their hometowns.

In I Killed Zoe Spanos, Martina Green creates a podcast investigating the mysterious disappearance of Zoe Spanos. Throughout the book we get the transcripts of entire podcast episodes and it was such a phenomenal way to build out the story. I adored this entire book, start-to-finish; the podcast element being just one small portion of the fuller narrative.

In¬†A Good Girl’s Guide,¬†we follow high school Senior, Pippa Fitz-Amobi, as she investigates the disappearance of local girl, Andie Bell, for her Senior Capstone project. Andie’s boyfriend, Sal Singh, has been accused of murdering her in a jealous rage. Pippa knows Sal and is not buying this official story. She thinks the town is covering up something and she is hell bent on exposing the secrets.

Pippa is a fantastic character. I loved reading from her perspective. Even when things got really scary, she was dogged in her search. Never giving up and never allowing others to tell her she couldn’t do something. This was cleverly formatted as well to make it a highly addictive story!

Another favorite for 2020 thus far would be Julie Kagawa’s concluding book in the¬†Shadow of the Fox¬†trilogy,¬†Night of the Dragon.¬†Returning to the land of Iwagoto, we follow kitsune shapeshifter, Yumeko, and her friends as the continue to work to keep the infamous Dragon Scroll safe. They are quite literally on a quest to save the world, so no pressure.

As much as I did not want this series to end, I could not have dreamed up a more stunning conclusion. This story shattered my soul into a million pieces. It stole my breath, but also instilled a sense of love and hope. Kagawa is wildly imaginative and an exceptional storyteller. This entire series was flawless. All the stars.

And finally, a new favorite Horror novel for me would be Grady Hendrix’s 2020 release,¬†The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.¬†This story swept me away from the very first pages. I love the tone of Hendrix’s writing. This one, set in the 90s, felt like the 90s. Following housewife, Patricia Campbell, in her suburban South Carolina town, we watch as she steps outside of her comfort zone to save all she loves, when an evil force arrives in town.

Hendrix can effortlessly blend humor with horror in his novels and I absolutely adore it. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me cringe and gag; it was incredible. Highly recommend this to any Horror fan!

So, those are my top, top, top books of 2020 thus far. I have read so many great books this year. A lot of 5-star reads, but when I reflect back, these are the titles that have truly stayed with me.

I am slaying my 2020-reading goals as well, which feels great. I set my goal at 150-books for the year and as of this writing, have completed 111-books. It’s fairly obvious to me I will be exceeding my goal.

Okay, that’s enough from me for now! I have to go read! I am participating in the blog tour tomorrow for the release of Girl, Serpent, Thorn¬†by Melissa Bashardoust, so stay tuned for that!

Until next time, Cheers & Happy Reading!

Review: Duma Key by Stephen King

Duma KeyDuma Key by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Duma Key has climbed the ranks and officially entered my ‘Top 5 Kings’ List. This is quite an accomplishment, if I do say so myself.

Edgar Freemantle is a successful businessman.

Living with his wife of 20+ years in Minnesota, they have raised two healthy girls and have a good life. A solid life.

This is, until the day Edgar is involved in a horrific accident on one of his construction sites.

Crushed by a piece of heavy equipment, he is lucky to be alive, although losing his right arm, injuring his hip and scrambling his brain doesn’t seem so lucky to him immediately after the fact.

His recovery is extremely difficult, putting a lot of strain on his marriage, with him and Pam ultimately separating.

His psychologist, Dr. Kamen, suggests perhaps a change of scenery would be best for his recovery efforts, as well as a hobby. Edgar figures, why not? He has the money, what is he sticking around Minnesota for?

He rents a beach house on a remote, undeveloped piece of land on the Florida coast, Duma Key. The house, something of an artist’s retreat, is perfect for him, as he is feeling like doing some sketching himself.

Edgar begins to settle in and does indeed begin to create amazing art.

He’s unsure where some of it is coming from. He just seems to be compelled. The drawings and paintings pour out of him at an incredible rate, becoming more intricate and astounding as he progresses.

During this time, he makes a new friend while out for one of his daily beach walks. Jerome Wireman lives at the big house on Duma Key, caring for its aging lady of the house, Elizabeth Eastlake.

It is mainly through these characters that Edgar begins to learn of the dark history and lore of Duma Key and the Eastlake family.

However, Duma has a lot to say itself and that’s when things really start to get dangerous.

There is so much to love about this story. I knew absolutely zero about it going in. I don’t even think I ever read a full synopsis.

I was delighted as the story unfolded. The relationships, as is to be expected with King, were so deep and well done. The friendship between Edgar and Wireman is easily one of the best I have ever read.

In my opinion, King is great with this type of human dynamics. Further, I really appreciate how none of the relationships in this story were romantic.

It’s friendship, it’s family, and none of them are perfect, but they’re all so real and compelling.

Duma Key itself was incredibly well done. He has such a sense of place, always incorporating the idea that places remember; pieces of history live on through the lifeblood of the land and structures themselves.

You see this type of idea a lot throughout King’s works, from this one, to The Shining, Pet Sematary and everything in between.

Overall, I could wax poetic about this novel for hours. There is so much to unpack with this story. It’s extremely intricate, I would love to read it again someday and most likely will.

If you are a Constant Reader and haven’t picked this up yet, delay no more. It’s a stunner!

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Review: Dark Disciple (Star Wars) by Christie Golden

Dark Disciple: Star WarsDark Disciple: Star Wars by Christie Golden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

The only way to bring down the Sith’s most powerful warrior may be to join forces with the dark side.

Dark Disciple is an Adult novel within the Disney Star Wars Canon. To put it in timeline perspective, it is my understanding that this book falls after the novel, Catalyst and just prior to the Revenge of the Sith movie.

Interestingly, or at least for fans, this novel is based on a story arc scripted for The Clone Wars television series that went unproduced after the show was canceled.

My initial attraction to this book, besides the fact that I want to read all the Canon novels, was Asajj Ventress, the infamous former apprentice to Count Dooku.

This book built out her character in such a pleasing way. I love when a antihero gets their time to shine.

As the war rages on in the galaxy, Count Dooku’s tactics become more and more brutal. The Republic cannot stand by while hundreds more innocent lives are lost.

The Jedi Council surmises the best way to defeat Dooku, perhaps the only way, would be to join forces with someone who knows him best.

Asajj Ventress, Count Dooku’s former protege, becomes their focus for the mission.

Ventress, now making ends meet as a bounty hunter, is perfect for the assignment. After Dooku attempted to have her killed, she severed all ties with him and that hatred runs deep.

Quinlan Vos, the Jedi Knight assigned the mission, sets out to find Asajj with the goal of getting her to assist him in assassinating Dooku.

Once the two meet up, their budding relationship grows quickly. I loved the banter between them as they struggled to figure out a power balance.

Ventress ultimately teaches Vos many things, including how to harness the power of the dark side; a line that is most dangerous to cross.

As is to be expected, there was a ton of action in here. I loved the various battle scenes, but also loved the quieter moments between Vos and Ventress.

I certainly don’t need romance in my Star Wars, but for me, it was more about watching Ventress being able to let her guard down and open up to someone.

She has such a tough facade and reputation, and rarely lets that slip, even for a moment. Reading her in the more vulnerable moments, particularly when she told Vos the truth of what happened to her fellow Nightsisters, it gave me all the feels.

Additionally, the deep bond that forms between them was so well written. A forbidden romance if ever there was one.

Ultimately, this story did shred my heart in a hundred million pieces, but I’m willing to forgive Christie Golden because she wrote it with such care and grace.

Overall, I loved this story. Highly recommend to Star Wars fans who enjoy to dabble in the power of the dark side.

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Review: I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

I Killed Zoe SpanosI Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A couple of months ago, I read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, and promptly proclaimed it my new favorite YA Mystery/Thriller.

I also initially said it would be hard to beat. The next thing I know, Kit Frick comes along with this beauty, I Killed Zoe Spanos, and shattered all my expectations.

I love this book so much, y’all. An all new favorite!!

I will admit, right out of the gate, that I know this isn’t going to be for everyone. However, for me, this was pretty damn near perfect.

Our protagonist, Anna Cicconi, has accepted a position as a summer nanny for a family in the small Hamptons village of, Herron Mills.

She has recently graduated high school and is trying to turn over a new leaf before starting college in the Fall.

This includes distancing herself from city life, particularly her best friend, Kaylee, who is a party girl through and through.

Anna has been running wild lately and doesn’t like how she feels about herself after. The blackout nights are the worst. She just needs to stay away from alcohol for the summer, put her head down, and concentrate on saving money for school.

Once she is settled in, she can hardly believe her luck. The little girl she is caring for, Paisley, is really sweet and easy, plus the house she is staying in is completely swank.

Anna does have one problem though, the nights. She has every evening off and needs to stay occupied because it is never good for her to sit to long with her thoughts. She starts to go on a lot of nighttime walks, exploring the property grounds and surrounding neighborhood.

It’s on one of these excursions when she happens to meet the cute and mysterious boy next door, Caden, for the first time. He is home from Yale for the summer, staying in his family mansion, Windmere.

Caden is surprised to meet Anna as well, as she looks shockingly like his fiance, Zoe Spanos, who has been missing since New Years Eve.

It’s not the first time Anna has experienced this. Around town people are definitely shocked upon seeing the similarity between her and the missing girl.

Paired with the fact that Anna begins to have memories of Herron Mills, even though she has never been there before, it’s not surprising when she starts to believe she may have a connection to Zoe.

Interspersed amongst the current narrative chapters, we also have entire podcast episodes by Martina Green, investigating Zoe’s disappearance.

Even though the police believe she ran away, Martina, best friend of Zoe’s younger sister, Aster, doesn’t buy it. She begins her own investigation and documents it through her podcast.

It’s so good. I love, love, love the podcast element as a way to tell the story.

The back and forth, the way details of Zoe’s life and disappearance are exposed, was absolutely intoxicating. Once I got into this story, I could not put it down.

Racing towards the conclusion, I had no idea how it was going to end. Were Zoe and Anna connected? Was something supernatural happening? Is Zoe alive? Are Zoe and Anna the same person!?

I was confused, I was intrigued, I was loving every minute of it!

This is a summer Thriller everyone will want to read. I may read it again, actually, once the audiobook is released. I would love how to see how they handle the podcast in the audio.

So, in short, if you love intense, twisty-turny Thrillers, with a possibly unreliable narrator, a podcast, amateur sleuthing and multiple red herrings, you definitely need to pick this book up!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Margaret K. McElderry Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

There’s nothing like finding a new favorite!

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