Review: None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney

None Shall SleepNone Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emma Lewis is a rare survivor of a serial killer. She was actually held hostage by him for days prior to her escape.

Travis Bell is a U.S. Marshall candidate, whose father lost his life in the line of duty at the hands of a serial killer.

In addition to these odd circumstances, they are also both extremely intelligent. It’s because of all of this, the FBI decides to recruit Emma and Bell to interview juvenile killers and provide insight on cold cases.

The theory is that teen killers will be more willing to open up to other teens, as opposed to stiff old, fuddy-duddy FBI agents.

Both Bell and Emma agree to the assignment within the Behavioral Sciences Unit and move into the dorms at Quantico. They begin training with other recruits and start their teen killer interviews.

The first interview ends up going better than expected. The killer does seem to be more receptive to them and opens up about his crimes and motivations.

Concurrently, the BSU is working on an active, high-profile serial killer case where all of the victims are teenagers.

Trying to get to the bottom of this case, and catch the killer before another teen is killed, the BSU decides to turn to infamous teen killer, Simon Gutmunsson, for help.

Emma ends up interviewing Simon alone and this is where the strong The Silence of the Lambs vibes begin.

Emma and Simon’s relationship is very Clarice and Hannibal. The more they talk, the more Simon is able to draw out of Emma. Details she should not be confessing to him under any circumstances.

Simon is a masterful manipulator, who could strike with zero provocation.

Simon is revealing a lot to Emma as well and it begins to seem that he has a connection to the current case, but how?

This story was super intriguing from the very first chapter. Emma and Bell were both great characters to get to know.

Because of their history of trauma, they were both working through the effects of that; deciding how they wanted their lives to go. Channeling their pain into potential good for others, instead of letting it hold them back.

They hit it off right away and bonded quickly. I thought that made sense. They were the only people in that position, going through the same things. They had no one else.

Watching their relationship evolve over the course of the book seemed so natural. I am attached to them now and genuinely hope this is not the last we see of their characters.

I also loved all the scenes with Simon. He was chilling, much like Hannibal Lecter before him. The audiobook had incredibly creepy narration for his portions, so highly recommend that.

The cat-and-mouse interactions between Simon and Emma were so well-written. Additionally, Simon has a family member who plays a role in this story and their relationship was equally disturbing.

Overall, I thought this was an exceptionally tense and well-plotted YA Thriller.

Highly recommend to anyone who enjoys shows like Criminal Minds, or Mindhunter, as well as The Silence of the Lambs!!

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Review: For Better or Cursed by Kate Williams

For Better or Cursed (The Babysitters Coven, #2)For Better or Cursed by Kate Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

For Better or Cursed is the second installment to Kate Williams, The Babysitters Coven trilogy. These comedic teen stories channel heavy Buffy vibes, with a dash of Adventures in Babysitting.

Witchy besties, Esme and Cassandra, are back and beginning to settle into their new lives as full-blown Sitters. They’re back at school, babysitting and continuing to learn under Coach Brian’s tutelage.

After their battles in the first book, Cassandra seems to be suffering from some lasting side effects, so they’ve been trying to figure that out as well. She’s blacking out and doing incredibly bizarre things during these spells.

The girls think she may have been cursed, so clearly, that’s not good.

In addition to all of this, they receive news that the Synod, the Sisterhood’s governing body, has called a Summit and it’s going to be in their hometown.

In fact, Esme and Cassandra are responsible for planning the grand finale party for the weekend. They’re so not prepared for that. Luckily, Brian’s interior design skills and expert social event knowledge will definitely come in handy.

I loved the Summit. It was attended by witches from all over the world. The introduction of some new characters was a lot of fun to read. They all stayed at the same hotel and attended classes where they learned more about Sitting and the many threats they are facing.

I thought this was a great plot device to build-out the concepts of this world. Incidentally, the girls learning more about Sitting allowed the Reader to learn more right along with them.

As with the first book, I loved the humor in this. It’s silly, completely ridiculous and over the top, and because of this, a perfect escape from the world.

I laughed so many times. Esme’s perspective is dry and hilarious. The most insane things happen during the course of this story. There’s never a dull moment. The scenes in the hotel room trying to capture the chicken; I was in tears.

Overall, I think this series, despite its minor flaws, is highly entertaining. It’s not perfect, but if you enjoy spoofy types of humor, you could really enjoy this.

As an aside, I did listen to the audiobook of this and I thought the narrator’s delivery was so strong. She definitely added to the level of humor with her performance!

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

I will absolutely be picking up the third book when it releases later this year!

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Review: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

The CousinsThe Cousins by Karen M. McManus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

The wealthy Story family is practically royalty on Gull Cove Island, a remote vacation destination off Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

They own the largest resort on the island and everyone knows them. Twenty-five years ago, the family matriarch, Mildred, suddenly disowned her four children, essentially banishing them from the island.

These children are now adults and three of them have children of their own. Aubrey, Jonah and Milly, although cousins, hardly know each other, having only met a handful of times.

Seemingly out of the blue, all three Story grandchildren receive invitations from the Grandmother they have never met, to travel to the island for the summer and work at the Gull Cove Resort.

All three teens think that this sounds like a terrible way to spend the summer, but they aren’t really given an option.

Their parents see this as a chance to get back in Grandma’s good graces and possibly back into an inheritance. Money, as we know, can be a strong motivator.

The cousins meet aboard the ferry to the island and begrudgingly begin to get to know one another.

Before they know it, two hours has gone by, the ferry is docking and their summer of scandal has officially begun!

As to be expected with a novel by Karen M. McManus, this was full of twists and turns the entire way through.

The over-the-top drama was compelling and I was so into finding out all of the Story family’s deepest secrets. There was a lot to unpack.

Milly, Aubrey and Jonah were each unique, with their own insecurities and hang-ups. I liked how their relationships evolved over the course of the story, as they began to work together to get to the bottom of why their parents got disowned.

In addition to the current timeline, there was also a past perspective following Milly’s Mom, Allison, in the summer leading up to their being disinherited. Eventually, it all pieces together into a more than startling conclusion.

This is a super quick read and I had a lot of fun with it. What’s not to love about a remote seaside setting, a possible inheritance, decades old family secrets and rich people drama?

Incidentally, I live on a remote island off of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, so can attest to the setting being well done. I loved that McManus even used the actual name of the ferry company that services our island.

Details like that made me feel connected right away.

I am so glad that I finally got around to picking this one up and now can anxiously anticipate her next release, You’ll Be the Death of Me!

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Blog Tour: The Iron Raven (The Iron Fey: Evenfall #1) by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Raven (The Iron Fey: Evenfall, #1)The Iron Raven by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

The Iron Raven is the first installment to a new trilogy set in the world of Julie Kagawa’s, Iron Fey series.

There have been seven previous full-length novels, as well as a handful of novellas, in this series. This is the first to feature Robin Goodfellow, aka Puck, as the narrator.

I must confess, I have never read any of the novels set in this world. In spite of that, I still had a ton of fun reading this story and loved all of the characters!

I’m sure for long-time fans of the series, this book is full of nostalgic content and it will be even more wonderful for them to read.

I was excited to pick this up because Kagawa’s Shadow of the Fox trilogy is my favorite YA Fantasy trilogy of all time.

Her witty and vibrant writing style mesh extremely well with my tastes. In fact, after this, I am quite tempted to go back and read the Iron Fey series from the beginning!

This novel is a classic adventure story, complete with a dangerous quest, set in the lands of the Fae.

It begins with Puck chancing upon the King of the Forgotten, Kierran, who needs to get a message to his mother, Meghan, the Iron Queen. He is trying to warn her of a vicious monster currently wrecking havoc in the Between.

When the monster does show it’s face, it is unlike anything Puck as ever encountered. He’s injured in the process, as well as his new friend, the lady’s assassin, Nyx.

They set out together to find Meghan and engage her help with putting a stop to the monster’s reign of terror before it is too late.

I really enjoyed Puck as narrator. He is sarcastic and funny even in the most dire of situations. He is also a character struggling with past hurts and negative aspects of his own personality.

I always love a quest, as a hodge-podge team of traveling companions are constructed, you just know that you are in for an action-packed good time. That was certainly the case here.

Puck and Nyx are ultimately joined by Meghan, Ash, Coaleater and Grim, as they try to find out the truth behind the monster and what threatens the lands of the Fae.

They encounter some dangerous obstacles and a whole host of magical and mythical creatures along the way; all while trying to navigate their own interpersonal challenges.

I was completely swept up into this world. As always, Kagawa’s character interactions stole the show for me. I love her dialogue and laughed out loud numerous times.

The ending is a compelling cliffhanger, leaving off with a prophecy that definitely let’s the Reader know this adventure is far from over!

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

I had so much fun with it and cannot wait for the next book to be released!!!

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Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff; Illustrations by Marie Lu

Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)Gemina by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE BEST MOST WONDERFUL REREAD!!!
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I originally read Gemina, the second installment of The Illuminae Files, in December of 2019. I listened to the audiobook and I had a hard time connecting with it. I really felt like I didn’t retain any of the story.

I decided to pick it back up and give it another shot, as for me, I genuinely believed it was a choice of formatting issue and not a story issue.

Oh, how right I was. I loved my time reading my hard copy and was surprised to learn there was artwork by Marie Lu incorporated into the story, one of my favorite YA authors!

This time through I was connected right away. I could not put it down and ended up finishing it very quickly.

Gemina takes place on the Jump Station Heimdall and follows two new characters, Hanna, the station captain’s daughter, known to be a spoiled princess, and Nik, the resident bad boy with a heart of gold.

After the Kerenza invasion, you may recall from Illuminae, that Kady Grant was heading to the Heimdall Station; unfortunately, she’s not the only one.

When a BeiTech strike team boards the Heimdall, it is up to Hanna and Nik to work together to try to salvage all they can and hopefully expose BeiTech and their misdeeds along the way.

This gets seriously intense. As with Illuminae the unconventional structure makes this a unique reading experience. One that is memorable and a ton of fun!

I am hoping to continue on with Obsidio very, very soon and add this to my completed series list!

I cannot recommend this series highly enough. I am so happy that I went ahead and reread this as opposed to skipping straight to Obsidio. Hanna and Nik are now two of my favorite characters ever and I would have missed that had I not reread this.

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Review: Perfect (Flawed #2) by Cecelia Ahern

Perfect (Flawed, #2)Perfect by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

After the culminating events of Flawed, the first book in Cecelia Ahern’s YA Dystopian Duology, Celestine North is on the run.

The most wanted individual within the society, Celestine has evidence that could bring down not just Judge Crevan, the man responsible for her being branded as flawed, but the entire Guild.

Hiding from the Whistleblowers, Celestine, along with her trusted companion, Carrick, need to figure out their next steps for exposing Crevan’s misdeeds.

Even prior to Celestine’s case, there were dissidents who wanted to see the end of the system they view as cruel and inhumane. Now Celestine has become a figurehead for their cause.

This novel, like the first, was fast-paced and engaging the entire way through. Ahern has no problem kicking her stories off with a bang and maintaining that pace.

It has been over a year since I read the first book and I appreciated how Ahern refreshed my memory without regurgitating the entire plot.

The dystopian setting is particularly well done, with corrupt leaders and an interesting system for maintaining the obedience of the masses.

I couldn’t help but compare Celestine to Katniss; how they both begrudgingly become leaders of such large causes. They’re both strong and brave; characters who are easy to stand behind.

I would recommend this for anyone who loves interesting Dystopian stories.

This one isn’t too far off from our world, which adds a touch of a frightening element to it. One of those, oh shit, this could really happen feelings.

Overall, I’m really happy that I finally picked this one up and finished this duology. It was really good. I’m actually surprised I haven’t heard more people talking about it.

Another successful backlist bump!!!

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Review: City of Villains (Book #1) by Estelle Laure

City of VillainsCity of Villains by Estelle Laure
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

City of Villains is the first book in an all new Fairy Tale-inspired Crime series from Disney Books.

We follow Mary Elizabeth, a teenage girl living in the Scar, an area where once magic was prevalent, but now supposedly no longer exists.

Having lost her family tragically, Mary’s main goal is to one day become a police officer. In addition to her schooling, Mary currently works as an intern for the Monarch City Police Department.

While her main duties generally involve pushing paperwork, when a classmate of hers, Mally Saint, disappears, the Chief actually assigns her to the case, partnering with a young detective, Bella.

Mary is over the moon to finally have the chance to prove to the Chief what she can do. She sees this as her opportunity to seal a position within the department after she finishes school.

Mary and Bella begin their investigation, but instead of gaining any clarity, the mystery only thickens.

After Mary’s best friend, Ursula, disappears as well, Mary knows something more sinister is happening than just kids running away from the Scar, but who will believe her!?

Even though I found this story intriguing, I did want to get to the bottom of the disappearances, the writing and overall plot are a little basic for my tastes.

I think this could have used another round of editing, perhaps cutting out some of the romantic aspects, changing Mary’s age, and allowing this to fall more into a higher Middle Grade, or Tween, category.

I just personally feel it is a better fit within that space than in YA; and that’s okay!

Tweens and Middle Graders deserve great stories as well!

I did like the appearance of some of my favorite Disney characters, Maleficent, Ursula and Captain Hook, with aspects of this story providing possible origin stories for all of them.

Overall, I think this is a solid premise for a series and I would be interested in picking up the second book. I’m not entirely sure where it will go from here, but I would like to find out.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity!

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Review: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

While I wasn’t as enamored with City of Fallen Angels, the fourth installment of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, as I was with the earlier books, I still really enjoyed it.

Please note, since this is the fourth book of a series, there will be spoilers in this review. Assuming pretty much the entire world has read this but me, I will not be hiding them.

Following the events of City of Glass, Clary and company have returned to New York, where Simon continues to hide his new condition from his mother, Jocelyn and Luke are planning their wedding, and Clary and Jace are now able to date openly.

All is well in the Big Apple, until Shadowhunters begin turning up dead. Murdered to be more precise.

It seems Clary’s choices whilst in Alicante have some fairly serious repercussions. We learn within this story what those are and it’s not good.

One of these choices caused an imbalance in the world, opening a door to an ancient evil.

I did enjoy the fact that the boys get quite a bit of page time in this one, with Simon forced to move out of his family home and into an apartment with a new friend, and band member, Kyle.

Jace begins to distance himself from Clary, as he is plagued with dreams in which he murders her.

I also discovered fairly early on why it is important to read these in publication order, as one of the most intriguing characters from Clockwork Angel appears trying to recruit Simon.

While there is a lot happening, it definitely isn’t slow by any stretch of the imagination, I wasn’t super engaged with it until the second half.

Once the truth begins to unfold regarding Jace’s haunting dreams, I was hooked. Then it got really intense and really action-packed through the finish.

I think part of my disconnect with the beginning was that I was a little annoyed with Clary and Jace. After completing Clockwork Angel, and loving all those characters, coming back to Clary and Jace made them seem irritating in comparison.

By the end, I had forgiven them for their earlier behavior and we are all friends again.

With this being said, I am so excited to move on with Clockwork Prince, up next. So far, my 2021 Shadowhunter Chronicles journey is going swimmingly!!

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Review: The Haunted by Danielle Vega

The Haunted (The Haunted, #1)The Haunted by Danielle Vega
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up **

Hendricks and her family move to Drearford to escape a dark chapter in her young life.

Her parents purchase a dilapidated old house to renovate and for her part, Hendricks is hoping to lay low and heal her scarred heart.

Unfortunately, Steel House, their new home, has other things in mind.

Unbeknownst to them, they have inadvertently moved into the most infamous house in Drearford, with a frighteningly violent history.

While at school, Hendricks is quickly accepted into the popular crowd, even catching the eye of a local heartthrob, at home she is harassed and terrified.

It doesn’t take long for the house, and the spirits trapped there, to express their deep-seeded need for vengeance.

This is a classic haunted house story, with a well-executed Teen Scream element.

I enjoyed Hendricks as a character, as well as her new friends. They were all fun to get to know, especially Eddie, but we’ll get to him later.

I was pleasantly surprised, and impressed, by the imagery of the horror elements. I was seeing everything Hendricks was seeing and I’ll tell you, some of it really creeped me out.

Even though it seems initially that the major site of the paranormal activity is located in the cellar, eventually it permeates through the entire house. Nowhere Hendricks goes is safe. I was genuinely afraid along with her.

Hendricks knows she has to get to the bottom of the haunting, or else risk the lives of everyone in her family.

Along with her brooding neighbor, Eddie, who has his own dark ties to Steel House, the two band together to try to exorcise it of its demons.

It all builds up to an epic showdown that kept me glued to the pages.

There were a couple of details towards the end that I wish hadn’t been included. They sort of pushed it pass the line of solid paranormal into eyeroll territory.

With this being said, however, I did enjoy this enough that as soon as I finished it, I ordered the second book.

I need to know what happens to Hendricks next. I want so much more time with her character. Well played, Danielle Vega. Well played.

Original:

Synopsis:
YA’s answer to Stephen King…

That’s a fairly lofty statement, but I’ll bite.
Plus, my 80s-loving heart feels the vibe of this cover.

Let’s do this.

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Review: You Have a Match by Emma Lord

You Have a MatchYou Have a Match by Emma Lord
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

You Have a Match is exactly what I have come to expect from Emma Lord.

A light, fun, heart-warming, Contemporary story that fills you with hope and positive energy.

When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to support her friend, Leo. He’s adopted and wants to know more about where he came from.

Unfortunately, while Leo doesn’t discover much, Abby sure does. A secret sister!

Not a half sister, a full blown, we have the same parents sister. Basically, her entire life has been a lie. She can’t believe it. How could her parents keep something like that from her?

As it turns out, this sister is not much older than Abby and lives nearby. It also turns out she is a bona fide Instagram celebrity, with perfect hair, skin and the lifestyle to match. Great.

The girls first meeting, while not a total failure, doesn’t get them any closer to getting to the bottom of the mystery of their parents choices.

Even though she has to lie to her parents in order to do so, Abby agrees to attend a summer camp Savvy will be working at as a Junior Counselor, so that they will have more time to figure everything out.

The camp is located on an island and on her ferry ride there, Abby stumbles upon her best friend, and uncomfortable love interest, Leo.

Abby knew he went to a summer camp every year, but she had no idea it was THIS summer camp! It turns out Leo will be on the staff as well this summer, and he and Savvy have actually been friends for years.

This book is absolutely adorable. From the very first chapter, I was hooked right in to Lord’s writing. She has such a smooth, easy-to-read style. It makes her stories completely engaging!

There is a lot of drama in this one. She does manage to bring some important topics to her books, even though, overall, the feeling is light and fluffy.

As you can tell from the synopsis, as well as what I have written above, this story explores family relationships; what makes someone family, different types of family constructs, etc.

Abby is also struggling with grief due to the loss of her Poppy, and I liked how Lord handled that. Somehow, she has the ability to keep things light-hearted even while tackling these heavier topics.

The summer camp vibes were very fun as well. It gave the teen characters a little more freedom to engage with one another, than they would have had in a more traditional setting.

Plus, who doesn’t love summer camp!?

Overall, I had a great time reading this story. I will continue to pick it up anything Emma Lord writes. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to share my opinion.

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