Sunday, September 23, 2018

Reviews: The Destroyers and The Naturals

Here's the thing: I didn't not like this book.

In fact, I was definitely hooked at the beginning. A man at the end of his rope, Ian Bledsoe, ends up on a Greek island to reunite with his childhood best friend, Charlie. But as more and more events transpire, Ian thinks Charlie may have invited him there to play their childhood game, Destroyers--only this time, it's not pretend.

It's a fascinating premise. But my problem was how long it took to play out. Bollen has a wonderful writing style, but I felt like the book simply went on too long--a problem I didn't have with Orient, Bollen's book that was equally long but I found far more enjoyable. The twists in The Destroyers are definitely surprising, but by the time I got to them, I just wasn't as invested as I wanted to be.

This is the kind of really good YA series where I've already put the other books on hold at the library.

It centers around Cassie, a teenager who is a natural profiler, which makes her prime to be recruited by the FBI for their Naturals group--a collection of teenagers with innate skills who work to solve cold cases. Each have their own past, including Cassie, whose mother was murdered but whose body was never found. When a serial killer comes on their radar, the Naturals realize that this case may hit closer to home than ever before.

This book had me hooked from the start, and I flew through it. The characters are so interesting, as are the cases--and the house they all live in is fascinating, with a basement full of simulated crime scenes for them to practice on. This is a creepy, well-written book with a final twist that blew my mind. I can't wait until I can get my hands on the rest.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Review: The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street

Tessa is already upset with having to move from Florida to Chicago for her dad's job, but when she starts to suspect her house is haunted, she wants to move back to the sunny beaches even more. A new group of friends just might change her mind, both about Chicago and about solving the mystery behind her home's history.

This was a fun, spooky middle grade read that flew by. The characters felt real, and I enjoyed their  forming friendship and the paranormal research they embarked on. I especially loved that the book was set in Chicago-it always makes it extra fun when the setting is one you know well.

If you are looking for a quick enjoyable read as the Halloween season approaches, this would be a good book to pick up.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Review: If I Die Tonight

When a former pop star claims she is the victim of a carjacking, one that has put the teenage boy who tried to save her in a coma, it shakes up the foundations of a small town and brings everyone's secrets into the light.

This book was full of suspense. Gaylin really cleverly plays with the idea of a modern-day witch hunt, as the town decides on who they think is the perpetrator of the carjacking. Using multiple perspectives with cliffhanger endings as perspectives are switched was extremely effective.

I also really liked the use of social media as evidence. Everything we put online is out there in the public eye, and Gaylin shows how that can be used to build different types of stories, from hero to villain. 

I did feel one the ending felt a little pat for all that had come before. But the book as a whole was very strong, and completely drew me in.