Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

Okay, I took the day off because Wednesday’s are meant to be celebrated {hump day and all}. Now it’s Thursday, and I have my final review of this week, but no worries! I’ll be back next week with another review or two, and then we’ll be back on track.

Keeping with the creepy theme of the week, I thought that this would be an excellent book to go out on.

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Title: Bring Me Back {336 pages}

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publication Date: June 19, 2018

Summary:

A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she’s not inside. No one ever sees her again.

Ten years later he’s engaged to be married; he’s happy, and his past is only a tiny part his life now. Until he comes home from work and finds his new wife-to-be is sitting on their sofa. She’s turning something over in her fingers, holding it up to the light. Something that would have no worth to anyone else, something only he and she would know about because his wife is the sister of his missing first love.

As more and more questions are raised, their marriage becomes strained. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind?

Review:

So. This one took a few days to grow on me. Sometimes I read a book and I’m in love with it even before I finish, but this one was…strange. This was a weird book with weird twists and turns and weird characters. It was weird. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. I did. A lot. It just took my brain a little time to get around to it.

Finn fell in love twelve years early with a young woman named Layla. She was beautiful and exciting and loved him as much as he loved her. Then she disappeared one night, and Finn had to learn how to move on with his life. When he meets Ellen, Layla’s sister, he thinks that maybe he could love again. Ellen is nothing like Layla, but she makes him happy and the love he feels for her might be different than the love he felt for her sister, but it’s still love. He thinks.

But then Layla comes back into their lives, and Finn doesn’t know what he feels. Then the truth about that night comes out, and everything is spiraling out of control.

The ending to this book is a mind-bender. I honestly had to go back and skim through the book, rereading certain parts where I was sure I’d catch the author in a sleepy state. But I never did. The answers are right there for the reader to find, but it seems so improbable that you don’t catch anything. It’s also so heart-breakingly sad that all I wanted to do after I finished was cry. I wanted to cry for Finn and Ellen and Layla and the lives that they had harmed and for the harm that had been done to them. None of them had escaped unscathed from their lives before, and those that remained would never be the same again.

This was the kind of mystery that was still a mystery even after I finished reading it. There were so many questions that I had that were answered, but they just gave me more questions.

I just realized how difficult it is to write about this book without giving anything away.

All you need to know about this book is that it’s sad, mysterious, and completely confusing. But not in a bad way. It’s a book that’s really going to mess with your head and it’s going to linger for awhile. You’re going to want to reread it, and then after you’ve done that, you’re going to want to re-reread it because you’re going to be sure that there are some things that you missed. Chances are, there are a lot of clues that you missed, and it’s going to take multiple readings before you’re completely sure you know what the heck is going on.

Basically, read this book until it falls apart. It’ll never get boring, trust me.

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Oh, Tuesday. You’re not the worst day of the week, but you certainly are not the best. But that’s okay, because I’m back with a book that’ll make you think Tuesday is the best day ever!

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Title: Jar of Hearts {320 pages}

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publication Date: June 12, 2018

Summary:

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?

Review:

About five years ago, I read a thriller that stayed with me for awhile. It was dark, creepy, and heart-pounding, the perfect mixture to make a perfect thriller. I put the author on my always-to-read list, but unfortunately, I never got around to reading her other books. When I requested Jar of Hearts on NetGalley, I did so because of the description, because it sounded dark, creepy, and heart-pounding.

Do you see where I’m going here?

Five years ago, it had been Jennifer Hillier’s Creep that had reignited my love for mysteries and thrillers. Because of that one book, I kept picking up the spine-tingling novels, the ones that kept me up a little later at night because I couldn’t turn the light off just yet. And now it’s five years later, and Jar of Hearts is going to give me a few more nights of bright lights.

Georgina Shaw has it all: a rich fiancé, a hot job, a cool car, and the rest of her life ahead of her. That is, until her best friend from high school, Kaiser, comes stomping into her life, arresting her for the murder of their best friend, Angela Wong. Geo accepts her part in Angela’s death, and she takes her five-year prison sentence with grace. When she is released, she thinks that she’ll get her life in order, get a job, reconnect with her father. What she doesn’t think is that she’ll be haunted by her past by murders in the present, murders that are uncannily similar to Angela’s. Someone is hunting down women and their children, killing them and dismembering the mothers, much like how Angela was dismembered. There’s only one difference: the eyes of the women have been scooped out, and a message on the children’s bodies ask someone to See Me.

There is a lot happening in this book, and for good reason. It’s told from alternating points of view, from Geo to Kaiser, and it gives us a glimpse of the life they both used to lead before Angela’s death. Geo remembers the night that Angela died, the night that part of her died, as well. Kaiser, on the other hand, gives us some insight into the relationship between the two girls, the jealousy, the subtle fighting. Combined, the reader begins to understand a bit more about Geo, Angela, and Kaiser, and even more about how, sometimes, we see what we want to see.

Jennifer Hillier has a neat way of making things really obvious and then throwing you at the last second. For the entire book, I knew that the killer wasn’t who they thought it was. I didn’t know who it was, but it wasn’t the guy everyone was pointing fingers at, I knew that much. And then, right when I was feeling smug and brilliant, a wrench gets thrown into the plan, and I’m back at square one, because of course this person is the killer, how could I be so blind? But she also writes in a way that involves you completely, and you’re left with little time to wonder who could be committing these heinous crimes. You are so consumed with the story and the characters, that you almost forget that there’s even murders happening around them. When she sends Kaiser out to a crime scene, I was like, oh, right! My poor babies have to deal with this on top of everything else.

What’s the moral of this review? Well, mainly that I’m going to start reading more Jennifer Hillier, and that’s not an empty promise. I’m going to revisit Creep so I can move onto Freak, and then I guess I’ll move onto every piece of writing that she has ever done and my entire life is going to be consumed with Jennifer Hillier books.

Oh, look. That’s the kind of dark, creep, heart-pounding stuff I was talking about.

Tell Me No Lies by A.V. Geiger

This week is going to be filled with book love, because I’ve read so many good books lately. I’ve been trying to parcel them out slowly, but who am I kidding? I’m just going to throw them all at you, because it’s 2018 and you deserve a good book – or two or three or eighty – this week.

So, let’s start out with a fun one.

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Title: Tell Me No Lies {Follow Me Back #2} {336 pages}

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Summary:

Love. Obsession. Jealousy. Murder.

No one knows what happened to pop icon Eric Thorn. His Twitter account? Frozen. His cell phone? Cracked and bloody, buried in the snow. 

Agoraphobic fangirl Tessa Hart knows the truth, but she’s finally left her #EricThornObsessed days behind. She has no intention of ever touching her Twitter app again. But Snapchat… That’s safer, right?

After months of living under the radar, Tessa emerges from hiding, forced to face the deadly consequences of her past. But in the interrogation room, answers only lead to more questions in the pulse-pounding conclusion to the Follow Me Back duology.

Review:

I was lucky enough to score an early copy of Follow Me Back, the first book in this series, and let me tell you, I loved it. This series is the type of guilty pleasure that isn’t really a guilty pleasure because after you read it, you’re telling the whole world about it. In the first book, Tessa Hart had the chance to meet Eric Thorn, the biggest heartthrob in the world, and not only did they meet, but they fell in love, and Tessa seemed to be on her way to living the kind of life only available in fanfics. But the ending of that book was, shall we say, not so much of a happy ending.

Or was it? {Cue dramatic mystery music.}

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

Tessa has been in hiding for months, without her meds, without her therapist, without her agoraphobia running her life, living in a small RV with none other than Eric Thorn himself. After so long of being in the spotlight and hating most of that time, Eric had decided to get away from it all, and Tessa wholeheartedly helped. But once they’re discovered, Eric knows that in order to protect Tessa from her crazy stalker, he’ll have to go back to the life that he hated. This time around, though, Maury, Eric’s manager, keeps his only client busy, so busy that Tessa is slowly being pushed into the background. But when Tessa is put in harms way, Eric realizes what he has to do, and he has some help from the last place on earth that he would imagine he would find it.

I mentioned in my post about Follow Me Back that Twitter is pretty scary. I take that back. Twitter is downright terrifying. There are horrible people on there, people who seemingly have nothing better to do with their lives than tear other down. Eric knows this firsthand, and even an account dedicated to him seems to be at the forefront of wanting Eric Thorn to fall flat on his face. I don’t pretend to understand the obsession with celebrities, and I understand the obsession with hoping they fall from grace even less. This whole series is dedicated to the kind of “fan accounts” that are only there to watch their “favorite” celebrity have run-ins with the law, fall on their faces, and generally lead horrible lives. It’s completely understandable that Eric Thorn fakes his own death and leave the country for awhile. Celebrity obsession has reached an alarming new high {new low?}, and Eric Thorn wants nothing to do with it.

Mental health issues are also at the very center of this novel. In the first book, Tessa suffered from severe agoraphobia, living inside her house and inside her mind. Twitter was a place for her to feel like she was in the real world, until it became all too real. Although he is never officially diagnosed, we can see that Eric Thorn is a ball of anxiety, and Tessa sees this too, knowing all too well how anxiety can rule your life. A.V. Geiger writes about these issues as if she knows them, too. Never once does Tessa seem to forget about her anxiety or agoraphobia, like can happen with certain authors and their characters. Even while Tessa and Eric grow, their anxiety and agoraphobia and brains are always there.

In short, I read this book too fast and didn’t realize it was a duology. Here I was, thinking that Tessa and Eric would be back in a matter of time, ready to thrill me with a new adventure. I liked the ending of this one, because it was open enough to allow for a third book, if ever {IF EVER}, but also the kind of ending that let me imagine what happens to the characters. I like those, because that means everyone gets a happy ending. And these characters definitely deserve that.

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

The best laid plans, am I right? I have so many books to write about, but did you know there’s only 24 hours in a day? And I want to sleep for 20 of those hours? Now that all of my preparations for summer school are done {HA!}, I should have some time to get these reviews done. And what a book with which to come back.

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Title: Bruja Born {Brooklyn Brujas #2} {336 pages}

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Summary:

Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.

Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back…

Review:

Labyrinth Lost, the first book in this series, has been in my TBR pile since forever. Latina bruja sisters living in modern day Brooklyn? Yes please. When NetGalley so graciously gave me Bruja Born, I knew Labyrinth Lost had just been bumped up in the pile. While I ran screaming through that book {OH MY GOD, IT’S THE BEST}, I jumped into Bruja Born, wanting more of Alex and her struggle with becoming one of the most powerful brujas in the world.

Imagine my surprise when I realized Lula, Alex’a sister, was the main character of Bruja Born.

I’ll be honest: I was disappointed. I wanted Alex, because I had grown so happy with her, and she still had so much more adventure to give. But that disappointment lasted about a chapter, right up to the part where Lula’s school bus crashes and a pole impales her and her ex-boyfriend.

I know, right?

Bruja Born is Lula’s story, along with Alex, as well as their little sister, Rose. Then it becomes her parents’ and Nova’s and everyone else in the Brooklyn community that these girls have grown up with or picked up along the way. The three girls must navigate their world after Lula’s big mistake creates casimuertos, or the bruja version of zombies. New York is suddenly overrun by teenagers wanting nothing more than to eat the hearts of humans and create a larger army of casimuertos. Lula struggles with the knowledge that she created this disease because she wanted to save Maks, the love of her life, turning him into the first casimuerto. Along the way, Lula gathers her sisters, her parents, the infuriatingly charming Nova, a vampire, and a boy whose orders are to arrest Lula for creating this mess for the supernatural community. But, most importantly on her journey, Lula discovers that there’s more to her than just powers and a pretty face marred by scars.

I’ll admit it, I didn’t really like Lula in Labyrinth Lost. She was the typical older sister, the typical pretty girl, the typical everything. She was annoying and rude, and she pushed Alex to the brink because she was angry. Sure, she had a right to be angry, but she never stopped to think of Alex, only caring about herself. But that’s one of the things that makes Lula Lula, and it wasn’t until Bruja Born that I learned to appreciate it. Lula only thinks of herself, and that’s why she tried to bring Maks back. She only thinks of herself, and that’s why she tried to stop the casimuertos. Do you notice a trend here? Lula thinks about herself and, in the process, does good for others.

Can I also admit that I’m more than psyched for the next book in the series? Because if it follows the trend, then that means we get Rose’s story. Rose was nothing more than the little sister in Labyrinth Lost and even a little bit in Bruja Born, and then suddenly…she wasn’t.

Also, Dad. What the heck. What’s going on there?

Both of these books are beautifully written. They’re full of lively characters and lush landscapes, and it’s the kind of realistic fantasy that the book world is severely lacking right now. The other good news is that Bruja Born comes out tomorrow {TOMORROW, PEOPLE}, so you barely have to wait to get your hands on it.

Lucky. Ducks.

BN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bruja-born-zoraida-cordova/1127405584?ean=9781492650652 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bruja-Brooklyn-Brujas-Zoraida-Cordova/dp/149265065X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1528083351&sr=1-1&keywords=bruja+born

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781492650652