The Lost and the Found

 

Title: The Lost and the Found

Author: Cat Clarke

Series: Standalone

Publication: September 13th 2016 by Crown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 368

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

THE LOST
When six-year-old Laurel Logan was abducted, the only witness was her younger sister, Faith. Since then, Faith’s childhood has revolved around her sister’s disappearance—from her parents’ broken marriage and the constant media attention, to dealing with so-called friends who only ever want to talk about her missing sister.

THE FOUND
Now, thirteen years later, a young woman is found in the front yard of the Logans’ old house, disoriented and clutching the teddy bear Laurel was last seen with. Can her sister finally be back? Faith always dreamed of her sister coming home; she just never believed it would happen. But soon a disturbing series of events leaves Faith increasingly isolated from her family and paranoid about her sister’s motives. Before long, Faith begins to wonder if it’s the abduction that’s changed her sister, or if it’s something else. . . .


My Thoughts:

The Lost and the Found was not what I expected at all, and it was perfect because of it. I don’t mean perfect in the literal sense because there were things in the novel that could have and should have been left out – which I will get into later. But, really though, it’s so damn difficult to resist a good plot. Especially when the plot is well thought out, full of twists and turns, and leaves you gasping for more. The Lost and the Found is emotional, hard-hitting, and is basically every parent’s nightmare come to life.

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And The Trees Crept In

There was an old lady
who lived all alone,
until her nieces
came all the way home.
nightly she prayed
he’d stay away,
but childhood demons,
come back to play.

Title: And the Trees Crept In

Author: Dawn Kurtagich

Series: Standalone

Publication: September 6th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 352

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the “blood manor” is cursed. The creaking of the house and the stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too–the questions that Silla can’t ignore: Who is the beautiful boy that’s appeared from the woods? Who is the man that her little sister sees, but no one else? And why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer?

Filled with just as many twists and turns as The Dead House, and with achingly beautiful, chilling language that delivers haunting scenes, AND THE TREES CREPT IN is the perfect follow-up novel for master horror writer Dawn Kurtagich.

A GIF List of my Thoughts and Feels

Basically a summary of my feelings towards the whole thing:

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Three Truths and a Lie

“It was my fault, everything that happened that weekend. It’s hard for me to admit that, but it’s the truth.”

Title: Three Truths and a Lie

Author: Brent Hartinger

Series: Standalone

Publication: August 2nd 2016 by Simon Pulse

Pages: 272

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

A weekend retreat in the woods and an innocent game of three truths and a lie go horribly wrong in this high-octane psychological thriller filled with romantic suspense by a Lambda Award–winning author.

Deep in the forest, four friends gather for a weekend of fun.

Truth #1: Rob is thrilled about the weekend trip. It’s the perfect time for him to break out of his shell…to be the person he really, really wants to be.

Truth #2: Liam, Rob’s boyfriend, is nothing short of perfect. He’s everything Rob could have wanted. They’re perfect together. Perfect.

Truth #3: Mia has been Liam’s best friend for years…long before Rob came along. They get each other in a way Rob could never, will never, understand.

Truth #4: Galen, Mia’s boyfriend, is sweet, handsome, and incredibly charming. He’s the definition of a Golden Boy…even with the secrets up his sleeve.

One of these truths is a lie…and not everyone will live to find out which one it is.

My Thoughts:

Three Truths and a Lie is one of those books that captures your attention with its creative and intriguing synopsis but then blindsides you with the actual story. What could go wrong? I mean, it’s a mash up of Cabin In The Woods, Pretty Little Liars, and the game of Truth or Dare. Just picture that for a second. A group of friends staying in the woods on vacation while things start going wrong, people start dying, and chaos runs rampant? Hell to the yes.

While the book isn’t perfect, Three Truths and a Lie is perfectly entertaining. It will make you guess and wonder and the ending will take your breath away because you won’t see it coming. It’s a topsy turvey thriller of a novel and the narrator only adds to the overall atmosphere of “what the hell is going on”. I actually thought Rob, the narrator, was one of the best plot devices. He’s telling the story to you. It’s not an action as you go, it’s a “this is how I saw what happened” – and it will make you question everything.

If you’re a fan of horror films, or even the widely loved Scary Movie parodies,  I highly recommend Three Truths and a Lie. It is entertaining, exciting, unique in certain ways, and getting to that plot twist of an ending is well worth suffering through the horrible, scary movie-esque decisions the characters make. Both surprising and satisfying, Three Truths and a Lie is the perfect summer thriller to pass the time with.


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How to Disappear

Title: How to Disappear

Author: Ann Redisch Stampler

Series: Standalone

Publication:  June 14th 2016 by Simon Pulse

Pages: 416

Source: Edelweiss

Summary from Goodreads:

This electric cross-country thriller follows the game of cat and mouse between a girl on the run from a murder she witnessed—or committed?—and the boy who’s sent to kill her.

Nicolette Holland is the girl everyone likes. Up for adventure. Loyal to a fault. And she’s pretty sure she can get away with anything…until a young woman is brutally murdered in the woods near Nicolette’s house. Which is why she has to disappear.

Jack Manx has always been the stand-up guy with the killer last name. But straight A’s and athletic trophies can’t make people forget that his father was a hit man and his brother is doing time for armed assault. Just when Jack is about to graduate from his Las Vegas high school and head east for college, his brother pulls him into the family business with inescapable instructions: find this ruthless Nicolette Holland and get rid of her. Or else Jack and everyone he loves will pay the price.

As Nicolette and Jack race to outsmart each other, tensions—and attractions—run high. Told in alternating voices, this tightly plotted mystery and tense love story challenges our assumptions about right and wrong, guilt and innocence, truth and lies.


My Thoughts: 

Usually when you’re reading a really good book, you can’t put it down and it consumes you (as it is with anything written by Sarah J. Maas). However, How to Disappear has done something different – it was so good I had to put it down and walk away for fear of exploding. How to Disappear is no ordinary story, and it sure as hell is no ordinary teen thriller. It is dark, gritty, and packages vibrant characters, engaging action, and an unbelievable web of secrets and lies with a dark little bow. How to Disappear is one of those special cases where each and every event outdoes the events before it, and so on. It is twisted, dark, dangerous, and amazing.

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The Cresswell Plot

The woods were insane in the dark, terrifying and magical at the same time. But best of all were the stars, which trumpeted their light into the misty dark.

Title: The Cresswell Plot

Author: Eliza Wass

Series: Standalone

Publication: June 7th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 272

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Castella Cresswell and her five siblings—Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem—know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.

Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice.

Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.


My Thoughts:

My initial thought upon finishing The Cresswell Plot was along the lines of “Huh, well, that was…strange.” Now, as I sit here writing this review, my thoughts remain the same. The Cresswell Plot is quite odd, for lack of a better phrase. It tells an intriguing, powerful story and Eliza Wass wields language as a weapon which she carefully crafted in her hands. It was a different story, though it was also a story that held bits and pieces of a story we’ve seen countless times before.

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Beware That Girl

Secrets can weigh you down. They crawl around your guts, demanding exposure to light and air. When they don’t get it, they burrow in and change you.

Title: Beware That Girl

Author: Teresa Toten

Series: Standalone

Publication:  May 31st 2016 by Doubleday Canada

Pages: 336

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

For fans of We Were Liars, The Girl on the Train, and Gone Girl, this powerful psychological thriller with multiple mysteries is set against the backdrop of the megawealthy elite of New York City. Toten delves into the mesmerizing yet dysfunctional world of those who manipulate but seem ever so charming. With its gripping pace and Hitchcockian twists, Beware That Girl will keep readers guessing until the very last line.

The Haves. The Have-Nots. Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar.

As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?


My Thoughts:

Well…. that just happened. This is one of those cases where I probably should have listened to other reviews before requesting it for myself, because they were right — dang flabbit. Beware That Girl is one of those books that puts stars in your eyes when you read the description, and then rips all your hopes and dreams right out of your gut when you start reading it. What was marketed as something I would have died to get my hands on – a love child of We Were Liars and Gone Girl (Hell yes, count me in) – was, in fact, a miscalculated and misleading label that led me right into a world of disappointment.

We have two main protagonists and narrators for this tale, Kate O’Brian and Oliva Sumner. One is manipulative, the other is in need of healing. Both are smart,  but one depends upon the other. It is a paras tic relationship: Kate isn’t afraid to do whatever it takes to be at the top, or to use whomever she desires to achieve the same goal. Oliva? Not so much, which is slightly ironic considering Oliva is the A-lister who is part of the Haves and Kate is a scholarship kid. So, despite my qualms about everything else, I do have to give some props for flipping the stereotype.

As it always goes, everything changes because of  a boy. And, sadly, this is when things went sideways for me. I think Mark Redkin’s addition to the story could have changed the whole dynamic in a powerful way – but, instead, he just fit into another stereotypical position of the boy who breaks friends apart. While I did appreciate his not so nice side, I just felt that it was too forced and too unbelievable –  it just kind of ruined it for me.

Overall, Beware That Girl – while having the potential to be interesting – fell flat. Though it has some good characters and a wonderfully written (but obviously unhealthy) friendship, that alone was not enough to redeem the plot and the cookie-cutter caricature cast of characters.

Burning

“Monsters are more interesting than heroes.”

Title: Burning

Author: Danielle Rollins

Series: Standalone

Publication: April 5th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 352

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

After three years in juvie, Angela Davis is just a few months shy of release, and she’ll finally be free from the hole that is Brunesfield Correctional Facility. Then Jessica arrives. Only ten years old and under the highest security possible, this girl has to be dangerous, even if no one knows what she did to land in juvie. As strange things begin happening to Angela and her friends that can only be traced to the new girl’s arrival, it becomes clear that Brunesfield is no longer safe. They must find a way to get out, but how can they save themselves when the world has forgotten them?

My Thoughts:

I have to be honest with you. I didn’t read this, not really anyways. I started it, I read it, and I finished it – but I didn’t read it. I didn’t pay attention, I just went through the actions of reading it. I didn’t pay attention because it was not worth paying attention to. While the synopsis grabbed my attention, Burning sparked no feelings from me other than regret and loathing.  This book is a mess, and there is nothing hot about it.

This book is really just a conglomerate of cliches, other (better) plots, and so much predictability that I sort of felt like a badass physic. (Looook into my eyes, I can tell you the future *creepy finger wiggle*) Filled with plot points stuck on the road to nowhere, characters that would make an angel cringe, and a mystery that is so ridiculous you might just pee your pants with laughter – Burning is what I would like to call a colossal cluster-fuck.

The villain is predictable, the characters weak imitations of their better versions, and the lack of character development is both depressing and laughable. I didn’t buy one bit of this whole shebang, it was sort of like watching a really horrible infomercial unfold right before your eyes and there was nothing you could do to stop it. I was paralyzed by the stupidity of it all and I couldn’t help but rubberneck my way through this – you know, that looking without really looking. I couldn’t care less about what went on in this book or to these girls I’m supposed to be rooting for. Angela is a pathetic sop and her two friends weren’t much better.

Overall, Burning was just a really, really upsetting, unsettling, unsatisfactory, and underwhelming rehash of every single mystery ever. Predictable and requiring a lot of suspension of disbelief, Burning is one book best left alone if you want to keep your faith in humanity in tact.

My final verdict?