Author: Cassie (page 1 of 6)

BOOK REVIEW: You Must Not Miss

BOOK REVIEW: You Must Not MissYou Must Not Miss Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Magpie Lewis started writing in her yellow notebook the day her family self-destructed. That was the night Eryn, Magpie's sister, skipped town and left her to fend for herself. That was the night of Brandon Phipp's party.

Now, Magpie is called a slut whenever she walks down the hallways of her high school, her former best friend won't speak to her, and she spends her lunch period with a group of misfits who've all been socially exiled like she has. And so, feeling trapped and forgotten, Magpie retreats to her notebook, dreaming up a place called Near.

Near is perfect--somewhere where her father never cheated, her mother never drank, and Magpie's own life never derailed so suddenly. She imagines Near so completely, so fully, that she writes it into existence, right in her own backyard. It's a place where she can have anything she wants...even revenge.

If you give a name to an impossible thing, does it make the impossible thing any less impossible?

This was a weird book and I really didn’t know what to rate it or how I really felt about it by the end. On the one hand, I thought it was great idea and the writing was excellent. On the other, I was really put off by the main character and it was even more weird than I expected, especially the ending.

“You Must Not Miss” follows Magpie Lewis, who unfortunately has a very rough life. Her parents are divorced after she witnesses her dad cheating with her aunt. Her mom is an alcoholic and she is no longer on speaking terms with her best friend. She sits with a few other “outcasts” at school, who were actually my favorite characters. I wish we could have got a little more from them, but ultimately, the story was around Magpie and those she was angry with.

And boy does Magpie have a lot of anger. Some of it is justified, but other times she lashes out at those who are specifically trying to help her. There’s a heartbreaking (at least to me) scene involving a teacher trying to help Magpie, but also trying to hold her accountable for her actions. While I think a lot of people who Magpie was upset with deserved it in some way or another, this teacher did not.

Let it be worried. Let the whole town be worried. If they knew what was good for them, they would be.

The blending between the real world and the mythical Near is done well. There were a lot of interesting rules, especially about other outside people entering into Near with Magpie. I wish I could say, even knowing all the unfortunate events in Magpie’s life, that I could say I liked Magpie, but ultimately, I did not. While I felt sorry for her, the way she treated others was honestly not OK with me. And because of that, I found the ending to be unsatisfactory and more open-ended than I would have liked. Ultimately, this was a miss for me.

We all make mistakes. Wasn’t that the truth? The thing was-there were some mistakes you couldn’t come back from.

BOOK REVIEW: Hello Girls

BOOK REVIEW: Hello GirlsHello Girls by Brittany Cavallaro
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Best friends are forged by fire. For Winona Olsen and Lucille Pryce, that fire happened the night they met outside the police station—both deciding whether to turn their families in.

Winona has been starving for life in the seemingly perfect home that she shares with her seemingly perfect father, celebrity weatherman Stormy Olsen. No one knows that he locks the pantry door to control her eating and leaves bruises where no one can see them.

Lucille has been suffocating beneath the needs of her mother and her drug-dealing brother, wondering if there’s more out there for her than disappearing waitress tips and generations of barely getting by.

One harrowing night, Winona and Lucille realize they can’t wait until graduation to start their new lives. They need out. Now. All they need is three grand, fast. And really, a stolen convertible to take them from Michigan to Las Vegas can’t hurt.

It struck her then that the two of them were crouched between a church and a police station – two places of confession – and that, for whatever reason, they’d chosen each other instead.

Thank you to Edelweiss, the authors and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

From the opening chapters, I knew I was going to be hooked into this book. I thought the way Winona and Lucille were introduced was brilliant and captivating. Immediately I felt for both of these girls and their horrible home lives. In in spite of their terrible families, the bond they formed was truly inspiring. The deep friendship between the two was what kept the story staying grounded when some of the other elements get a bit wild and crazy.

Lucille couldn’t have wants. She couldn’t have needs. What she had was a hole that she shoveled her love into, a hole she couldn’t see the bottom of until she met Winona.

During the initial part of Winona and Lucille’s cross country road trip, I found my interest waning. After the awesome beginning, it took the story a little while to pick back up.

But as Winona and Lucille get closer to their final destination, the twists and turns pick up and more characters are introduced to the story. There’s some great moments about first relationships, trust, toxic family relationships and jealousy among friends.

Sometime since yesterday, it was like Winona had gone from being a book Lucille knew by heart to being the same book with its ending ripped out.

The ending is quite explosive, and honestly, a little heartbreaking. However, I really liked how the authors chose to end it the way they did.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and thought there were a lot really great themes packed in a Thelma and Louise-type road trip story. The writing was excellent and engaging. My main fault was the pacing, as it definitely lulled at times. Also, sometimes the story seemed to go off the rails a little bit and was a bit unrealistic, but overall I enjoyed it.
 
Hello Girls is available August 6, 2019.

“I don’t know you or your business, honey, but I can tell you this – you two are the Lamborghini of problems.”
 
 
 

BOOK REVIEW: You Owe Me a Murder

BOOK REVIEW: You Owe Me a MurderYou Owe Me a Murder Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Kim gets more than she bargained for when she is set up for murder. Perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying, E. Lockhart, and Gillian Flynn.

17-year-old Kim never expected to plot a murder. But that was before her boyfriend dumped her for another girl. Now, Kim’s stuck on a class trip to London with him and his new soulmate and she can’t help wishing he was a little bit dead, even if she’d never really do that.

But when Kim meets Nicki, a stranger on the plane who’s more than willing to listen to Kim’s woes, things start to look up. Nicki's got a great sense of humor, and when she jokes about swapping murders, Kim plays along—that is, until Kim’s ex-boyfriend mysteriously dies.

Blackmailed by Nicki to fulfill her end of the deal, Kim will have to commit a murder or take the fall for one.

I don’t lie to hurt people, or to pull something over on them, but I guess sometimes I…make up stories to make myself more interesting.

I wish I would have liked this book more than I did. I thought the premise was really interesting, but was unfortunately let down by the execution. And honestly, a lot of it came down to the main character, Kim, who I wanted to yell at in complete frustration on multiple occasions.

The beginning was quite well done, with Kim, a 17-year-old girl, headed to London on a class trip. What was supposed to be a fun trip with her boyfriend is now hampered by the fact they are broken up and he is dating a new girl who is also on the trip.

Enter Nicki, who Kim meets in the airport and gets to know on the flight. Nicki, who is engaging, enigmatic and friendly with Kim, gets to Kim to verbally agree to commit a murder for each other. (The fact that Kim was quite drunk when making this verbal commitment is a fact for another day…) Nicki will murder Kim’s ex-boyfriend and Kim will murder Nicki’s mom. A win-win, right? Kim doesn’t take the verbal pact seriously, until her ex-boyfriend ends up dead, and Nicki won’t leave her alone.

Trying to keep up with Nicki’s conversational train was like navigating a carnival fun house. You’d turn one way and it would be a dead end. You’d go in a new direction and think you were going the right way and then run smack into a mirror. Up was down, right was left, and nothing made sense.

Up until the ex-boyfriend’s death, I enjoyed the book fairly well. But after that, it turned a bit ridiculous. It was hard to believe that Kim could get away with all that she was doing. And honestly, I just didn’t really like her much and I don’t think the author intended for her to be unlikable. Kim was fairly immature and often selfish and thought only of herself. A few other characters get caught in her and Nicki’s crosshairs, and those were the characters I felt badly for.

I feel fairly meh about the ending. More than anything, I was just happy for it to be over. This was my second Eileen Cook book, and I definitely enjoyed With Malice more.

I didn’t want to lie. I wanted to be normal and interesting, but I wasn’t.

BOOK REVIEW: Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

BOOK REVIEW: Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma BerquistMissing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist
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Synopsis:

With a touch, Lexi can sense how and when someone will die. Some say it’s a gift. But to Lexi it’s a curse—one that keeps her friendless and alone. All that changes when Lexi foresees the violent death of a young woman, Jane, outside a club. But Jane doesn’t go to the afterlife quietly. Her ghost remains behind, determined to hunt down her murderer, and she needs Lexi’s help. In life, Jane was everything Lexi is not—outgoing, happy, popular. But in death, all Jane wants is revenge. Lexi will do anything to help Jane, to make up for the fact that she didn’t—couldn’t—save Jane’s life, and to keep this beautiful ghost of a girl by her side for as long as possible.

Thank you Edelweiss, Greenwillow books and Emma Berquist for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Shoulders bump mine, and I grit my teeth as deaths wash over me in a sticky gray wave. I only get flashes, but it’s enough; all these plump, dimpled cheeks, thick hair, and painted nails, I glimpse the way it ends. Throat cancer, aneurysm, pneumonia. They beam even white teeth, and all I can see are the skulls smiling beneath.

What drew me to this book was this unique setting: Lexi can see anyone’s death with a simple touch. And if that was not hard enough, she can also talk with, touch and expel ghosts to the “other side.”

Lexi is a tough girl, who has a soft spot for her grandfather, who has the same powers as herself and Trevor, a teenage ghost who hangs around Lexi. She works at a bar with others who have a wide array of powers, but which are only featured sparingly in the book. However, the bar plays a large significance overall. Lexi also has an on and off relationship with Phillip, who also works at the bar, but struggles to be with him due to her ability to see his death every time they touch, which is an understandable downer.

Because being with you makes me lonelier than being alone. Because I can’t stop picturing your body on a cold metal table.

One night, Lexi accidentally bumps into a girl outside the club named Jane. She sees that Jane will be murdered that night, but doesn’t do anything about it, because as she has learned, there are serious repercussions for interfering with fate.

Jane then reappears as a ghost, and convinces Lexi and Trevor to help her figure out who killed her and if it is related to other killings in the area. Lexi does her best, but her powers weigh on her mental health heavily. Several times over the course of the novel, she is forced to check herself into a psych ward just to tune out the world and get some much-needed sleep. I really appreciated that this was included, as it rings incredibly true. Someone with this kind of power, who could not shut it off, would probably be overwhelmed. These scenes also lead to a small but cute relationship she develops with a doctor at the hospital.

Even without turning around, I can sense Jane behind me, feel the gravitational pull of her. I can’t escape it; she’s like my compass, like a lodestone. I always know where Jane is.

As Lexi and Jane work to solve Jane’s murder, they also become far closer to each other and begin to develop feelings for each other. While I certainly enjoyed their relationship, I was also struggled with the world-building that allowed for physical interactions for Lexi and Jane. You always see ghosts as corporeal, which Jane and Trevor are 99% of the time, except with Lexi. I wish I could put into better words why this slightly missed the mark for me, as I did like Lexi and Jane together, but ultimately I didn’t love them together or the fact that romance was such a major factor in this book. I guess I could have been OK if it would have stayed as mostly a creepy thriller book with just a small emphasis on a love story.

I loved the premise of this book so much. It was such a cool idea and unfortunately I think it was squandered away a little bit, focusing too much on romantic relationships and tying up the ending with a big shiny bow. This easily could have been a really cool and creepy series – there’s so many directions this could have gone and areas to be explored, especially all the side characters with different powers – but it just ended up being a very narrow story. I just wanted more from this and ultimately left feeling OK, but not great.

This book will be released on May 21, 2019.

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Guest House by Megan Miranda

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Guest House by Megan MirandaThe Last Guest House by Megan Miranda
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Littleport, Maine is like two separate towns: a vacation paradise for wealthy holidaymakers and a simple harbour community for the residents who serve them. Friendships between locals and visitors are unheard of - but that's just what happened with Avery Greer and Sadie Loman.

Each summer for a decade the girls are inseparable - until Sadie is found dead. When the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can't help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie's brother Parker, who blame her. Someone known more than they're saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name before the facts get twisted against her.

Thank you NetGalley, Megan Miranda and Corvus for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Megan Miranda is back with her newest adult mystery/thriller and as much as I’ve enjoyed her previous works, this is easily my favorite from her yet.

I’m sorry. I wish it didn’t have to be this way.

One year ago, Avery Greer’s best friend, the affluent Sadie Loman, is found dead on the night of the infamous end of summer party. The police determine it was suicide and close the case. Avery, after having a rough start at life – losing her parents to a car accident and her grandmother to illness – stays in Littleport to oversee the Loman rental properties.

Around the one year anniversary of Sadie’s death, strange things begin to happen around Littleport and the Loman rentals. Homes are rummaged through, candles lit but not by the renters, etc. Avery is sure these are connected to Sadie’s death and begins to raise questions with those who were at the party the night of her death.

The biggest danger of all in Littleport was assuming that you were invisible. That no one else saw you.

The books jumps back and forth between present day and the night of the party, but all through Avery’s point of view. We learn a lot about Avery and what brought her and Sadie together, as on paper, they had very little in common and not a lot of reasons to become as close as they did, even closer than Sadie was with her older brother, the handsome and charming Grant Loman. This even leads fellow a Littleport resident to say this to Avery: “She created you. A mini-Sadie. A monster in her likeness. And now she’s gone, but here you are.”

As with all Megan Miranda novels, all the layers of the story are peeled back until there’s a clear picture of exactly what happened. The ending was a doozy and I loved it. I definitely did not see everything that coming but was elated when it was put in front of me. I was very satisfied with the whole story and was sad when I got to the last page.

As I said up top, this was my favorite Miranda novel to-date. I loved Avery, the main character, and really liked a lot of the supporting cast. It was well-paced and kept me enthralled the entire time. This story would make a perfect summertime adaptation for HBO, a la “Big Little Lies.” The setting – an almost private and exclusive sea-side town in the summer, with a colorful cast of characters and slow-burning mystery and a touch of romance – would really lend itself well to the small screen.

When this comes out in May, be sure to pick it up and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

I stared once more down at the article in my hand. The truth, always inches away, just waiting for me to look again. The unfinished sentence, our paths crossing over and over, unseen, unknown.

The Last Guest House will be released on May 2, 2019.

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