Friday, December 30, 2016

Book Review: This Is Our Story

This Is Our StoryAuthor: Ashley Elston
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Five went in. Four came out.

No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them. 

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the district attorney’s office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As investigates with Stone, the aging prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot, she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.

When the new district attorney asked for my statement when I pleaded guilty…this was my story.

We all look at each other, each of us trying to figure out who it is. Only one of us knows the truth. And I’m going to make sure it stays that way.

The four of us sit on the couch, side by side, as a united front.

I saw this book on Goodreads about a month ago and I just kind of scrolled by it and didn’t really pay it any attention until I saw a booktuber on YouTube that I absolutely love and she was raving about it. After that, I checked out the synopsis and lo and behold I was hooked. I stayed up really late to finish this book because once the mystery was put out there I had to know the outcome. The storyline is original and I had no clue who committed the murder even up to the very end. The front of the book says it all: Five went in. Four came out. The murder mystery surrounds a hunting accident that is soon determined to be murder. Five boys go out hunting after a night of drinking and drugs and only four make it out of the woods alive. I was HOOKED!

The main character, Kate, was my favorite part about this book. She is working on the River Point case as part of an internship and gets in way over her head. The entire book was told from her perspective, other than a few tidbits after each chapter that is written from the perspective of one of the River Point boys, assumedly the killer. You don’t find out until the end just whose thoughts you have been reading, but it is so dark and creepy because it feels as if the boy writing has no remorse at all. Kate is a strong-willed young adult who wants justice for the victim and wants the killer to get what he deserves. I loved her character and thought she was really well developed. I will be checking out more from this author.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Book Review: The Amateurs

The Amateurs (The Amateurs, #1)Author: Sara Shepard
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Series: The Amateurs # 1

I need some answers about my sister. Help…

Five years ago, high school senior Helena Kelly disappeared from her backyard in Dexby, Connecticut, never to be heard from again. Her family was left without any answers—without any idea who killed Helena, or why.

So when eighteen-year-old Seneca Frazier sees a desperate post on the Case Not Closed message board, she knows it’s time to change that. Helena’s high-profile disappearance is the one that originally got Seneca addicted to true crime. It’s the reason she’s a member of the site in the first place.

Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, she agrees to spend spring break in Connecticut working on the case with Maddy Wright, her best friend from Case Not Closed. However, the moment she steps off the train, things start to go wrong. Maddy’s nothing like she expected, and Helena’s sister, Aerin, doesn’t seem to want any help after all. Plus, Seneca has a secret of her own, one that could derail the investigation if she’s not careful.

Alongside Brett, another super-user from the site, they slowly begin to unravel the secrets Helena kept in the weeks before her disappearance. But the killer is watching…and determined to make sure the case stays cold.

“She was never going to know the truth about Helena. What happened to her sister was going to remain a mystery – and a recurring nightmare – for the rest of her life.”

"Also, if you think she was killed in December, why would I have called her in January?" He rolled his eyes. "You people are total amateurs."

Maybe if Seneca figured it out, everything else in her life that was spinning out of control would fall into place, too. All right, then: she was going. She was going to figure out what happened. It wouldn't solve all her problems. It wouldn't solve all her mysteries. But it was a start.

I know I am probably in the minority with this statement, but this is my first Sara Shepard novel. My favorite type of book is one that has a secret that unveils itself at the beginning, but makes you wait until the very end to find out what exactly that secret is. This is the first book in what I am hearing is going to be a series. We meet a few characters who are, for whatever reason, into reading about and solving longtime cold cases. Some of these characters are connected to cold case personally and this story follows one character in particular. At the beginning of the book, we learn about the cold case that surrounds these characters this time around. A web of lies, deceit, and downright twisted endings flows through this rather short novel.

I was able to get through this book in only a few hours and was pleasantly surprised by the entire thing. Although, without giving too much away, I will say that the end was completely twisted and I am rather anxious to see how Shepard takes the series from here. I am also anxious to see the development of some of the main characters. While I developed an interest in them, I felt that they were lackluster at times. I wanted more about them and the things that triggered them. I hope that we see more of all of them in the next additions to the series. I will say that the mystery was well thought out and that I did not see any of it coming. I look forward to more from Sara Shepard!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Book Review: Heartless

18584855Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Sometimes your heart is the only thing worth listening to.

“But hoping," he said, "is how the impossible can be possible after all.”

It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.

A heart, once stolen, can never be taken back.

I was really looking forward to this book and I hate to report that I was left unsatisfied and disappointed. Let me start off by saying that I did not, by any means, hate the story or the way the book turned out. I finished the book and wouldn’t say that I didn’t enjoy some parts of Catherine’s story. However, I will also say that I feel like a lot of this had to do with the start of the story. It took me forever to get past the first one hundred pages or so. I tried to keep my judgement separate from the Lunar Chronicles, but ultimately I found myself going back and comparing the two. I wanted the story to take more of a creative twist on things, like her other novels have done. I liked the familiar characters making appearances like the Cheshire Cat, the Jabberwock, and others, but I was still left feeling a little empty by the time I had finished reading.

I loved Catherine’s character, but I like there was so much more room for fleshing her out. I felt like something was missing from her. I wanted to see more of her flaws, imperfections, dark little desires, and awkward habits from the start of the book and I don’t feel like I ever got that. Another thing, that relates to what I was saying earlier about creativity, is that retellings are a dime a dozen. We get ten plus every year; this one was just like the rest. Where is the surprise? Where is the tiny, little tidbit that sets this apart from all the rest? It just wasn’t there. Like I said, there was plenty to like and enjoy, but I just feel like with fairytale retellings, we really have to be amazed!