Bad Mommy Author: Tarryn Fisher Publication Date: December 24, 2016 Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Suspense
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
When Fig Coxbury buys a house on West Barrett Street, it’s not because she likes the neighborhood, or even because she likes the house. It’s because everything she desires is next door: The husband, the child, and the life that belongs to someone else.
Bad Mommy is a mind$#%^. I don’t know how else to explain it. It was everything I expected from Tarryn Fisher, but nothing like I expected. Every time I thought I had a grasp on what was going on, I would start a new section of the book and become completely disoriented. It was such a trip!
I want to go back and read Bad Mommy a second time. That’s high praise because it’s rare for me to re-read a book. I feel like I would grasp more from the story a second time, and enjoy it even more.
Anyone who loves a great psychologically suspenseful novel will enjoy Bad Mommy. It’s dark, deceitful and will keep you turning the pages long after you should have gone to bed.
And that’s all I’m saying because I’m not going to ruin this book for anyone. 😉
Ready Player One Author: Ernest Cline Publication Date: August 16, 2011 Publisher: Random House Audio Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?
I know what you’re thinking. Deanna read a YA science fiction novel??? Yes, yes I did. Well, actually I listened to it, but same difference. And I had so much fun doing it, too. I know, I’m just as shocked as you are.
One of the problems I have reading science fiction is that I’m just not interested in the topics many of them contain. I’m not into stories about science or the future of technology. I’m definitely not into aliens, zombies, or any of the other things that cross between fantasy, horror and science fiction. I don’t like reading about the world ending. So, why would I want to read Ready Player One? First, I saw the cover and was drawn to it. Second, I read a lot of great reviews. Third, I heard about the multitude of 1980’s references. Fourth, Will Wheaton narrates the audio version. It was pretty much the 80’s and Will Wheaton thing that made me give it a try.
Ready Player One was a fantastic book. I was obsessed with the story from the minute I began listening to it in my car. I would find myself sitting in my drive way long after I had returned home. I’m very happy I chose the audio version of Ready Player One. By listening to itI wasn’t overwhelmed by the amount of information I was being given. There was so much to take in, and I think I would have been easily overwhelmed by everything if I was reading it. All the information would have slowed down the pace of the story, but it didn’t in this format. Plus, Will Wheaton did an amazing job narrating. I actually pictured a younger version of him as Wade while listening.
As for the story, it’s really something you need to experience for yourself. It’s wrapped around a future video game called the OASIS and Wade’s quest to win its creator’s fortune. I loved how the story progressed and how action packed it was. The amazing number of references to classic video games and 80’s pop culture were really cool. I wasn’t a teenager like Halliday was in the 1980’s, but I was alive, and I absolutely loved every reference to the decade I got.
I’m not sure what else to say about this marvelous book other than I think you should listen to it, too. Rumor has it a Ready Player One movie is coming, and I’m excited to see what they do with it.
Marrow Author: Tarryn Fisher Publication Date: April 16, 2015 Genre: New Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
In the Bone there is a house.
In the house there is a girl.
In the girl there is a darkness.
Margo is not like other girls. She lives in a derelict neighborhood called the Bone, in a cursed house, with her cursed mother, who hasn’t spoken to her in over two years. She lives her days feeling invisible. It’s not until she develops a friendship with her wheelchair-bound neighbor, Judah Grant, that things begin to change. When neighborhood girl, seven-year-old Neveah Anthony, goes missing, Judah sets out to help Margo uncover what happened to her.
What Margo finds changes her, and with a new perspective on life, she’s determined to find evil and punish it–targeting rapists and child molesters, one by one.
But hunting evil is dangerous, and Margo risks losing everything, including her own soul.
Um…I don’t even know where to start when reviewing Marrow. This book was just so…disturbing. There wasn’t one thing about it that didn’t get under my skin or make me uncomfortable. It disturbed me so much at times that I take breaks from reading it. This shouldn’t surprise me. I felt the same way while reading Fisher’s Mud Vein. Still, I wasn’t prepared for what this story had to give.
Marrow is the story of Margo Moon. Margo barely exists. She lives with her mother in a horrible neighborhood filled with horrible people and horrible things. The only bright light in Margo’s life is her friendship with Judah. Despite being in a wheelchair, Judah sees the good in life. Their relationship gives Margo hope she hasn’t had before. That hope lasts until Margo’s young neighbor girl goes missing. Margo takes it upon herself to find out what happened to Neveah. What she finds will force her into avenging the wrongs taking place around her.
Margo was an interesting character. In the beginning, I loved her because I felt so bad for her. Margo was stuck in a situation created by her birth. There was nothing she could do to change it. She was a child who deserved more from life. Margo just didn’t have any positive support until she became friends with Judah. He made her want things to be better. I loved seeing that change in her. As she grew older and horrible things began to happen around her, Margo changed again. Her new-found confidence created a person who felt the need to take justice into her own hands. That Margo freaked me out. The more Margo took on her role of punisher, the darker the story became — and it was already pretty dang dark to begin with.
I never saw the twists and turns coming in Marrow. There were moments where I was disgusted. There were moments when I was sad. There were moments when I was completely confused. When I got to the end, all I could say was,
What the heck did I just read?
I’m still not sure of the answer to that. My mind has been messed with in ways only Tarryn Fisher can accomplish. Once again, she’s written a beautifully disturbing tale. Marrow will suck you in, torment you and leave you thinking about it for weeks after you’re done. If you’re a fan of dark storytelling, this one is for you.
Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Halloween Related Freebie. I am not a fan of scary novels but I do read thrillers every once in a while, so I decided to go with Ten Books That Put Me On Edge.
Crooked Kingdom Series: Six of Crows, #2 Author: Leigh Bardugo Publication Date: September 27, 2016 Publisher: Orien Children’s Books Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.
I’m not really sure how to review Crooked Kingdom without giving away too much of the story, so I’ll keep my thoughts brief.
All of my favorite Six of Crows characters were back. I loved getting to know them better. All of the relationships really blossomed.
The twists and turns in this story were just as phenomenal as the first book.
It took me “forever” to read Crooked Kingdom because the middle of the story lagged a little bit for me. (Forever was about 5 days.) I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I don’t read fantasy novels often and get a little bogged down by the fictional worlds? I was enthralled by both the beginning and the ending, though.
I didn’t get every outcome I wanted, but I was completely satisfied with the ending. It was amazing!
Overall, Crooked Kingdom was a terrific conclusion to an epic duology. Fans of the series are sure to love it. I did.
Dark Water Author: Sara Bailey Publication Date: October 3, 2016 Genre: Psychological Thriller Note: I received an ARC from Nightingale Editions in exchange for an unbiased review.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Friendship doesn’t die, it waits…
A haunting and lyrical novel, Dark Water is a psychologically intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession.
When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from. Her best friend, the charismatic Anastasia, disappeared after a swimming incident. But what really happened that night by the wrecks?
I have mixed feelings about Dark Water. On one hand, it was an incredibly strong debut novel. On the other, it didn’t really feel like a psychological thriller.
Sara Bailey’s writing in Dark Water is exceptional. The pictures she paints in her novel are clear and concise. Her descriptions of Orkney were so beautiful and haunting. They took over the novel at times, but that was a good thing because the setting played a huge part in the story. I liked the characters and their dark history.
There were a couple of things that kept me from truly appreciating Dark Water, though. First, The story unraveled so slowly that it never truly pulled me in. I wasn’t truly invested in it until the last third of the book. That’s when the story felt like it really took shape and built toward an amazing ending. Second, I was interested in the characters and their present points of view, but not as much as I was interested in the past. The little bits of it I got weren’t enough. I wanted more of them. They were the only parts that made me feel like I was reading a psychological thriller.
Overall, Dark Water was a well written and interesting tale of the bond of an obsessive adolescent friendship. It wasn’t quite the psychological thriller I was hoping, but it was still a tale I think readers of the genre might enjoy.
I sell drugs. Heroin to be specific. And I’m fucking good at my job. Enough to fight my way to the top position, controlling all of Austin’s supply.
So what if I had to kill the previous boss to do it. I do what has to be done. Never cared about consequences because I never had anything to lose.
Until I met Miri. My doll. She’s my weakness and somehow, my enemies found out about her.
If they hurt her, they will regret the day they ever heard my name. Boss. They call me Boss for a reason. What I say goes, including the price on the heads of anyone who dares to fuck with what belongs to me. My Miri.
Jagger is the second book in the Broken Doll series by Heather C. Leigh. It picks up right from where the first book in the series, Junkie, left off. Jagger, or Boss, is Austin’s drug dealer king. He’s fallen for Miri, a junkie who had the nerve to stumble onto his property and ask for drugs. When his relationship with Miri is discovered by his enemies, Jagger will do anything to protect the woman he loves. That’s all you’re getting for the plot because I don’t want to spoil the cliffhanger Junkie left off with.
The second book in the series was just as dark and twisted as the first. The brutal scenes immediately start off in Austin’s drug world and continue throughout the book. There’s barely a break in drama and intensity for more than a chapter or two. Heather C. Leigh did an amazing job portraying a dark and gritty world filled with violence. I have to warn this book is not for the faint of heart. There’s way too many gruesome details. I found myself having to take mental breaks to combat the intensity of it all.
Jagger and Miri’s relationship continued its surprisingly sweet and sexy path through the violence and destruction of the drug world. The romantic in me loved the parts of the book were when they were interacting with each other. Those were my favorite moments in this dark tale. Jagger and Miri proved their willingness to do anything it took to be together. Their chemistry was off the charts, and the sensual moments that had with each other were so erotic.
Jagger was a great conclusion to a twisted series. Readers who enjoy dark romances are bound to enjoy the Broken Doll series.
**I received an ARC from TRSOR Promotions in exchange for an unbiased review.
NEW DARK ROMANCE by Heather C. Leigh
Meet Miri (Junkie) and Jagger (Boss) in the Broken Doll Series!
Heather C. Leigh is the author of the Amazon best selling Famous series. She likes to write about the ‘dark’ side of fame. The part that the public doesn’t get to see, how difficult it is to live in a fishbowl and how that affects relationships.
Heather was born and raised in New England and currently lives outside Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 kids, and French Bulldog, Shelby.
She loves the Red Sox, the Patriots, and anything chocolate (but not white chocolate, everyone knows it’s not real chocolate so it doesn’t count) and has left explicit instructions in her will to have her ashes snuck into Fenway Park and sneakily sprinkled all over while her family enjoys beer, hot dogs, and a wicked good time.
My favorite authors are Dan Wells, Ken Follett, and Stephen King.
A Gift of Time
Series: Nine Minutes, #3 Author: Beth Flynn Publication Date: July 19, 2016 Genre: New Adult, Romance, Psychological Thriller
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: You must read Nine Minutes and Out of Time prior to reading A Gift of Time. A Gift of Time is the conclusion to the this story.
Are some secrets meant to stay buried?
Three months have passed since Jason “Grizz” Talbot was put to death by lethal injection for crimes he committed. His former wife, Ginny, whom he had abducted from a convenience store when she was a teenager and became the love obsession of his life, has spent more than the last decade trying to carve out a life of normalcy in the bustling suburbs of Fort Lauderdale—including a thriving and happy marriage to Tommy “Grunt” Dillon, a former member of Grizz’s gang.
Tired of the secrets and the lies, Ginny and Tommy thought the final piece of their past could be left behind forever with Grizz’s execution. However, the past comes crashing around Ginny and Tommy when a newly discovered secret threatens to destroy their marriage. When tragedy strikes, Ginny is forced to reach into her heart and decide, once and for all, what she really wants.
In this third book in the Nine Minutes trilogy, A Gift of Time takes readers from the busy tropical metropolis of South Florida into the serenity of the North Carolina Blue Ridge mountains as Ginny chases down the answers she needs.
Will she have the strength to confront the secrets of her past…and her heart?
An epic conclusion to an epic ride!
A Gift of Time was an amazing ending to an outstanding series. Beth Flynn continued to take readers on an epic, beautifully written ride. All of the questions fans of the series have been asking were answered. No secret was left untold.
I’m not going to say much else because I don’t want to ruin the conclusion of the story for anyone, but I will say that I don’t think Ginny, Grizz and Grunt’s story could have ended more perfectly. I absolutely loved the way everything turned out. I’m sad the story has come to an end, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what Beth Flynn comes up with next!
If you haven’t read the Nine Minutes Trilogy, I would highly recommend it. It is the best thriller and biker romance I’ve read. If you’re interested in reading it, as of now Nine Minutes is $1.99 on Kindle for a limited time.
Valentina: A Hauntingly Intelligent Psychological Thriller
Author: S.E. Lynes Publication Date: July 1, 2016 Genre: Psychological Thriller, Fiction Note: I received an ARC from Blackbird Digital Books in exchange for an unbiased review.
When Glasgow journalist Shona McGilvery moves with her partner Mikey and their baby to an idyllic cottage in rural Scotland, they believe that all that lies ahead of them is happiness.
But with Mikey working offshore, the frightening isolation of the Aberdeenshire countryside begins to drive her insane…
That is, until she is rescued by a new friendship with the enchanting Valentina.
She has the perfect home, the perfect man, and a charismatic new best friend – or does she?
As her fairytale life begins to unravel, the deep dark wood becomes the least of her fears…
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
When Mikey takes an off-shore job, he moves his girlfriend Shona and their baby to a cottage in rural Scotland. The move leaves Shana and the baby alone the majority of the time. Shona immediately feels lonely and isolated. She’s pleased when she makes a connection with vibrant Valentina.
With Mikey gone more and more, Shona depends on Valentina and her young son for companionship and support. But the more Shona gets to know Valentina, the more she begins to wonder about her new friend. Something is not adding up and Shona can’t put her finger on it.
The closer she becomes with Valentina, the more Shona’s life feels like it’s beginning to spin out of control.
Valentina was a very good psychological thriller.The writing was incredible. It had a dark and dreary feel to it, which is exactly what I would expect from a thriller. I could imagine the story playing out on a dark and grainy movie screen. The setting was absolutely perfect.
The characters were extremely complex. Shona was stuck in the haze of new motherhood. She was overwhelmed, anxious and lonely. She was desperate for a friend and confidant. As sweet as her boyfriend Mikey was, his absence was slowly draining her.
Valentina was the answer to Shona’s prayers. She was supportive and available at a moments notice. They had children the same age and that helped strengthened their bond. Their friendship fills the void Shona was missing in her near perfect life.
But as the synopsis hints, things may not be as perfect as they seem. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that I guessed part of the twist correctly. The rest of it definitely surprised me. It was really cool.
Valentina had all the makings of the perfect psychological thriller except for one thing: the pace. While I was immediately pulled in by the imagery and emotion of the story, Part I of the book moved so slowly I was beginning to lose interest. Shona’s day-to-day life was so mundane. I get it. I’ve had a baby and know how trying, boring and emotional that first year is, but Shona’s boredom started to make me bored. There needed to be the introduction to and build of a relationship with Valentina, but I wish it would have been faster paced. Parts II and III moved a lot quicker and contained most of the action. They’re what made the story truly interesting and amazing.
Despite the slower pace, Valentina was still a wonderful psychological thriller that had guessing until the end. I would definitely recommend it.
Series: Ruin, #3 Author: Rachel Van Dyken Publication Date: October 4, 2014 Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Everything done in darkness will eventually be brought into the light. I ran, but all it did was keep me one step ahead of my past. I tried to start over; new name, new identity. But you can’t change your soul. A fresh start at college was just what I needed. For a while, it worked. I was the party girl, the one who seemed confident, but it was a lie. When guys kissed me – I felt only pain. When they touched me – nothing but fear. Deep inside, every girl wants to be the beauty in the story, to find someone who will see you as their world. But the truth? I was the beast. And as much as I wanted redemption, I wasn’t fool enough to think I’d ever get it.
Until he walked into my life. I wasn’t prepared to fall for someone. My scars were too deep, the wounds too raw. But he offered me peace, he offered me security. I should have known it was just another lie – I should have known that falling in love with my professor was a bad idea. But I was powerless to stop myself from falling. And he was powerless to catch me. Because the darkness finally caught up to me, and as fate would have it, a cruel twist almost bled me dry. But I’m stronger than I knew. I’m stronger than you think. You think you know my story, but you don’t – after all everyone has Shame in their lives – and I’m no longer afraid to show you mine.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Wow. Shame was freakin’ crazy. After reading Toxic, the second book in the Ruin series, I knew there was more to party girl Lisa than met the eye. She had a hidden past that I was looking forward to exploring. What I wasn’t expecting was the crazy ride Shame took me on. I feel like I can’t even really tell you much about the book because I would be giving too much away. It’s definitely a book you have to read for yourself.
In Shame, Lisa is trying to out run her past. It’s a past filled with pain and hurt — both her own and that which she caused others. Lisa’s created a new, better version of herself and she’s doing everything she can to make a brighter future at the UW.
Sophomore year of college isn’t starting out very well for Lisa, though. Her past has come back to haunt her through anonymous letters in her mailbox. Lisa’s starting to get scared. Her new psychology professor isn’t helping either. He may be hot as hell, but he seems to have a grudge against Lisa. One minute, Lisa thinks there might be something between them. The next, he’s insulting her. The stress of it all is almost too much to handle.
Student/teacher relationships are one of my least favorite relationship tropes, but it didn’t really bother me in this book. While I was a little worried about Lisa and Tristan getting caught and in trouble, I could also see where the story was going. That helped make their relationship more enjoyable to read.
I loved Lisa’s character. She was just as complex as the storyline. Her past was so interesting. I loved reading about it through Taylor’s journal entries.
Tristan won’t be making my book boyfriend list. I had a love/hate relationship with him, but that’s okay. His character and role made him perfect for Lisa.
The real gem in this story for me was Taylor, or more accurately, his journals. He was such an interesting and dark character! He created some twists and turns I didn’t see coming. His part in the story made this more a thriller than a romance.
Shame was a really cool book. It wasn’t what I expected at all and I loved that. I think other readers will, too.
I would highly suggest reading the first two books in the Ruin series prior to reading Shame, as the stories build upon each other. I would recommend the entire series to New Adult readers. I’ve truly enjoyed reading them.