Review: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.


This is Karen M. McManus’ debut novel? I’m having a hard time believing that because One of Us Is Lying was so well written. It’s rare to find a YA thriller/mystery that’s as intricately woven as this books was. That fact that a début author wrote it blows my mind! 

One of Us Is Lying kept me guessing from beginning to end. I thought I might have known the killer, but every twist and turn made me reexamine what I thought I knew. The four different points of view spurred that on. Every time the character narrating changed, something new and important was revealed. Those revelations were key in keeping the story moving and changing.

I loved every minute of reading this book. It’s one of best YA debuts I’ve read in a while. The fact that author’s inspiration was The Breakfast Club with criminal twist makes it even more of a gem! I can’t wait for Karen M. McManus to publish her next novel. I will definitely be reading it!

Review: Fallen Crest Forever by Tijan

Fallen Crest Forever
Series: Fallen Crest High, #7
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Mason Kade is the dream.
He is the promise.
He’s offering what so many would fantasize about, and it’s not that I don’t want it/him/us.
It’s the opposite.
There might be ghosts haunting me, but this man who’s my soulmate is asking me for forever.
How can I say no to someone who already gave me my happily ever after?


Well, this is it. The finale to a dramatic and addicting series. I feel like I’m at a loss of what to say right now. I seriously want to cry because I am done with the final full length Fallen Crest High novel. I know it was probably time for the series to come to an end, but I could read about these characters and their drama forever. I know their lives would continue to be just as fun to follow.

Drama wise, Fallen Crest Forever felt the calmest to me. Don’t get me wrong, there were still many dramatic moments, but they felt more subdued. Emotions wise, it was a different story. Fallen Crest Forever was the most emotionally tormenting book of them all.

Surprisingly, Sam had a lot of self-discovery to do. I loved that she was determined to find herself and her passions outside of her relationship with Mason. Her doubts plagued me, even though I always knew she would be okay. I had faith because Sam had her family and their support, and that was the most important thing.

Mason was a rock in this book. His inner strength was calming for both Sam and me. I appreciated his more mature approach to life this time around. He was still the badass football player, but he became even smarter with his actions than before. I have commented on it in previous reviews, but his protection of Sam and they way he showed his love for her was beautiful.

I can’t say that everything was smooth sailing for Sam and Mason in Fallen Crest Forever. There were moments that made me swoon, but there were also moments that broke my heart. Tears were in my eyes a couple of times. I’m so happy they had Logan, Nate, Taylor and Heather to help support them in their final journey toward forever. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending for them.

The story that began in Fallen Crest High came full circle in Fallen Crest Forever. I’m sad this utterly addictive series is over, but knowing there’s going to at least be another novella in the near future has placated me. I’m happy to know this isn’t the last time I’ll see the characters I’ve grown to love so much.

Review: Fallen Fourth Down by Tijan

Fallen Fourth Down
Series: Fallen Crest High, #4
Author: Tijan
Narrators:  Saskia Maarleveld, Graham Halstead
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

My mother tried to destroy me. She doesn’t exist to me anymore and my father, the one who raised me and the biological one, are both works in progress. The only two people that I can trust are Mason and Logan, and they’re the two people who I could lose. It won’t happen. I won’t let it. No matter the truth, no matter who loves me, I won’t let anything or anyone come between us.
They’re my world. They’re my life.
They’re my family.


Surprise! (Not really.) I’m back with another Fallen Crest High audiobook review! I’m flying through these books. I can’t help it. The story has me so committed. I need to hurry up and finish all of the books so I can get back to real life!

Fallen Fourth Down was a weird transition book. Sam’s in Fallen Crest and Mason’s three hours away at college.The distance hasn’t lessened their love for each other, but it’s made it easier to keep things from each other. Sam’s trying hide the fact that she knows Logan’s in love with her. Avoiding the awkward conversations has made her tension and she hates keeping things from both of her boys. Mason’s keeping things to himself to avoid feeding Sam’s fears. They’re together, but living separate lives. When someone from Sam’s past ends up in Fallen Crest, things get even tougher.

Like I said, this was a weird transition book. Mason and Sam are apart most of the book, so I didn’t get to feast on their interactions. I missed them together. I love the intensity of their relationship. I guess it did make their times together that much more explosive, but I wanted more of the fearsome twosome and threesome.

Instead of basking in Sam and Mason’s relationship, I was stuck living through Sam’s fear of Logan’s love for her. There was so much uncomfortable tension between Sam and Logan. I worried a lot about how that was all going to play out. Sam was also dealing with a guy from her past who had a renewed crush on her. I really liked this part of the story. It was kind of sweet, and felt like it helped me get to know Sam before the Kades a little better. I liked the guy. That was probably because I knew he didn’t stand a chance next to the Mason Kade.

As for Mason, he was in a whole new world. His being at the bottom of the totem pole was cool. He had to prove himself for once, and I liked that. He was still Mason Kade, so he wasn’t an underling for long but it was fun to see him not in charge. I loved meeting all of Mason’s new football buddies and the camaraderie they shared. I even loved meeting Mason’s new nemesis, Park. I can tell their rivalry is going to amp up the drama of Mason and Sam’s college experience.

A couple of things surprised me in Fallen Fourth Down. One surprise was Nate. The Kade brothers’ relationship with him changed a bit, and I wasn’t expecting that. It made me a little sad, but I liked how it all ended up resolving itself. The second surprise was Marissa. I wasn’t quite expecting her to be as crazy as she was. I ended up hating her after this book.

Overall, I enjoyed Fallen Fourth Down. It did a good job answering some questions I had about both Sam and Mason’s pasts. It also finally cleared up Logan’s feelings about Sam. At times, it felt like a filler novella since Sam and Mason were apart, but it ended up doing a great job setting up things for Fallen Crest University.

Review: Fallen Crest Public by Tijan

Fallen Crest Public
Series: Fallen Crest High, #3
Author: Tijan
Narrators: Saskia Maarleveld, Graham Halstead
Publication Date: October 6, 2014
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Sam’s first day at Fallen Crest Public doesn’t go well. Some girls want to be her. Some girls want to destroy her. And some just don’t like her. All in all, despite being protected by Mason and Logan, it’s still only the strong survive. Sam will not only have to survive, she needs to learn how to conquer too, but there’s another battle growing. Things are about to come to a disastrous end between the towns, Roussou and Fallen Crest. Sam’s other main dilemma? Keeping Mason and Logan from getting arrested or hospitalized.


I am utterly addicted to the Fallen Crest High series.  It’s on my mind all of the time. Last night, I couldn’t sleep because I was worrying about Sam. She’s a freaking book character! What is wrong with me? I can’t stop listening to this series. I’m only pausing listening right now to write this review.

In Fallen Crest Public, Sam’s just beginning to navigate the halls of Fallen Crest Public High School. It’s different from Fallen Crest Academy, but some thing are still the same. There are still mean, horrible girls who run the school. Girls who want Mason and Logan to themselves. Girls who will do anything and everything to make sure Sam goes away. The girls aren’t Sam’s only problem, though. There’s also a Roussou/Fallen Crest rivalry making things tense for them. Sam is worried that Mason and Logan may go up against Bud and Brett. She couldn’t stand to lose her family if something bad were to happen, so Sam’s keeping secrets.

Holy crap! We FINALLY get Mason’s point of view in this book!!! It’s what I’ve been dying for after reading the first two books. I loved being inside of Mason’s head and finally understanding why he does some of the stuff he does. I didn’t always like or agree with his actions, but knowing his thoughts made my opinion of him soar. My only teeny tiny complaint about Mason has to do with the audio book version of this story. I was so used to the female narrator doing Mason’s voice that I had a hard time adjusting to the male narrator for Mason. His voice didn’t sound deep enough to me. I actually kind of like the female narrator’s version of Mason better.

Sam was Sam. She was strong and weak all at the same time. Sam had strength when dealing with the mean girls of her new school and anyone who threatened her family. She wasn’t quite as strong when it came to the guys. Her weakness was in her worries about losing Mason and Logan. Those worries and her rampant sexual desire for Mason consumed her this entire book. Despite that, Sam continued to grow and mature in this installment.

In this book, we see less of the Academy students. A few pop up here and there, but they’re mostly in the background. Sam still has Heather by her side, but we get to meet a whole bunch of new people. Most of them aren’t very nice. They were a great addition for the drama, but I hated them right along with Sam. They were horrible people. My favorite new addition was Melinda, Mark’s mom. Her warmth and acceptance of Sam added a nice touch. I can’t wait to see where Sam’s relationship goes with her in the future.

Fallen Crest Public is my favorite book in this series so far. I loved where Tijan took Sam, Mason and Logan in it. There was such a rawness to their feelings. Everything that happened propelled the story along, and gave me new insights. It was so much fun to listen to!

The Fallen Crest series keeps getting better and better as the story goes on. I never imagined there were so many different dramatic high school situations Sam, Mason and Logan could get into. I love it! But I am scared where the next book may be going…I’m off to listen to it now!

Review: Fallen Crest Family by Tijan

Fallen Crest Family
Series: Fallen Crest High, #2
Author: Tijan
Narrator:  Saskia Maarleveld

Publication Date: September 15, 2014
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Samantha and Mason are together. Everyone knows it. But not everyone is dealing with it. While Mason is ready to give them all the middle finger, there’s one who is not going away: her mother. Threats are issued. Ultimatums are given. Even blackmail is used. But only Samantha can put a stop to Analise. However, when a trauma from her past is triggered, she may not have the courage or strength to do what’s needed. And if she doesn’t, Mason’s future could be destroyed.


I was going to wait for my library hold on Fallen Crest Family to come available, but I just couldn’t. I had to buy the Kindle book and add the Audible option because I needed to know what happened next in the Kade/Stratton family saga. I’m so addicted to this series already that it’s not even funny.

Fallen Crest Family is the second book in the Fallen Crest High series. It begins immediately following Fallen Crest High, and continues Sam’s story. Sam and Mason have been forced to reveal their relationship to everyone. No one is excited about them being together. (Well, except Logan and maybe Nate.) The person taking their relationship the worst is Sam’s mother. Analise is willing to do everything and anything to keep Sam and Mason apart. Sam knows she’s the only person who can put Analise in her place, but her mother is crazy and conniving. Poor Sam isn’t sure she has what it takes to stand up to her mother.

Okay, so first I need to tell you that Sam’s annoying man-ish voice from the first audio book did not appear in the Fallen Crest Family audio book. (Or maybe I just didn’t notice it?) Sam sounded like a normal girl the entire time. Well, at least her voice sounded normal. Sam’s not exactly normal.

Sam changed a bit in this book. She lost some of the hard edge she had in Fallen Crest High. She was a little bit more whiny and more sullen due to the new memories and living situation she was facing. That didn’t really bother me. I felt like Sam’s evolution throughout the story made sense, and that she’ll continue to grow throughout the series. What did still bug me was her obsessive running. Did no one in her life find all this running to be a problem? Three and four-hour runs until she’s collapsing seems extreme. The only thing positive about it (maybe) is the possibility of a track scholarship. Oh, and I have to mention her obsessive lusting after Mason, too. I wish I would have kept a tally of how many times she mentioned she was wet. It felt like she said it at least once a chapter. I’m probably wrong, but it felt like it was mentioned a few too many times. I get it, girl. Your body melts for him. Not that I’m complaining about all the sexy times. I would never complain about that! 😉

I still don’t know what’s going on in Mason’s head, but I don’t care. He’s such a rock for Sam. I love what he’s willing to do for her. Same with Logan. He’s like a big brother and best friend all wrapped into one. He loves Sam in his own way, and I love the words and humor he brings to every situation. I even found myself liking Mason and Logan’s buddy Nate in this book. He surprised me with how much he was willing to go to bat for Sam. The four of them are like one big family.

All of the friends and nemeses were back to add to the fun of this story. Sam’s main problem wasn’t with her friends this time, but with her mom. That lady was bat$#!t crazy. I loved everything that was revealed about her in this book. Sam also made some new friends. Heather and the Manny’s gang were amazing! I enjoyed what they brought to the story, and I can only imagine how they’re going to influence things in the next book.

Fallen Crest Family was just as much fun to listen to as Fallen Crest High. I can’t tell you enough how obsessed I am with this series. I am going to continue to binge listen to it until I finish all of the books. I’ve fallen in love with Sam, Mason and Logan. I want to know how their story ends.

Review: Fallen Crest High by Tijan

Fallen Crest High
Series: Fallen Crest High, #1
Author: Tijan
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Publication Date: August 25, 2014
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Mason and Logan Kade are two brothers who did their own thing. They were rich and expected to attend Samantha’s school, Fallen Crest Academy. They chose public school, and now Samantha has to live with them. The problem is that she doesn’t care at all-about them, about her friends, about her cheating boyfriend, or even about her parents’ divorce. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe change is a good thing.


I have a new obsession: Tijan’s audiobooks. I can’t get enough of her writing. Listening to her books adds another dimension to the experience that I really like. I am so addicted. It’s not even funny.

The Fallen Crest High series starts out with this book (Well, unless you count the Mason novella I haven’t read yet.), and introduces the reader to Sam Stratton. Life as Sam’s known it has changed. Her parents are divorcing, and Sam has to move to her mom’s new boyfriend’s house. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s going to have some new “step” siblings: Mason and Logan Kade.

Mason and Logan may not go to Sam’s school, but she knows all about the Kade brothers. Everyone does. They’re rich, powerful and good-looking. Any girl would die to be in Sam’s position, but Sam would rather no one know about her new living situation. Sam likes her anonymity and would like to stay out of the spotlight. That’s easier said than done as the rest of Sam’s life and everything she’s always thought to be true implode.

Fallen Crest High reminds me a lot of a teenage soap opera. It could easily be a television show on a network like the CW. There was so much drama, angst, and sexual attraction going. I couldn’t wait to find out what the characters were going to do next. It was one big reveal after another in this book!

The characters in this book are perfect for this story. Sam was deeply disturbed by everything going on in her life. Things just kept getting worse and worse for her, and I just kept waiting for her to break with the “I don’t care.” attitude she had going on. I loved that the two people she thought she would detest the most were the ones who helped hold her up when she needed extra strength. I loved the “family” dynamic between Mason, Logan and Sam. It was really cool and so much fun.

Mason and Logan Kade are still a mystery to me. They’re points of view aren’t included, so I only got to know them through Sam’s eyes. I liked what I saw, but I’m really excited to read the novellas in their points of view in the future. I want to know them better. I loved Logan’s way with words. I adored Mason’s silent strength. I can understand why all those high school girls were drooling over them the entire book.

It wasn’t just the main characters who made this story so addicting. Tijan created some interesting side characters. Adam, Becky, Sam’s other friends, and the popular group all added so much drama. I loved it! I couldn’t wait to see what all the snotty characters would do next and how Sam and the boys would react. Plus, there was great stuff going on with the adults in this book. So. Much. Drama. Fun.

There were only two things that annoyed me about this book. One was Sam’s running. I know it was her coping mechanism, but three-hour runs? And her mom mentioned a past issue with Sam’s eating and running. It was never concretely addressed. Did Sam have anorexia before? Did she have it during this book? I have no clue! But she ran all the freaking time. I understood why, but it would have been nice to know more about her history with it. The second thing that bugged me wasn’t anything the author wrote. It was actually an issue I had with the narrator. Every voice she used was perfect — with the exception of Sam’s speaking voice. It went from normal to almost manly. Whenever Sam was angry she sounded like a guy. That wasn’t a huge deal because I got used to it as the book went on, but it wasn’t my favorite narration.

Fallen Crest High was so much fun to listen to. I found myself finding every excuse to keep listening. My house is now thoroughly cleaned. Our entire family’s laundry is washed, folded and put away. I can thank this book for that. Now, if the person who has the Fallen Crest Family (Fallen Crest High, #2) audiobook checked out from my Overdrive library could please return it, I would appreciate it. I need that book now!!!

Review: Prom Queen by Katee Robert

Prom Queen
Series: Bad Boy Homecoming, #3
Author: Katee Robert
Publication Date: June 27th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

A high school reunion is about to get down and dirty and a whole lot more complicated in this new erotic romance from NYT Bestselling Author Katee Robert.

Jake Davis had it all in high school—a scholarship to his college of choice, a promising football career, and the gorgeous prom queen for a girlfriend. And then he lost it all when he was injured right after graduation. Ten years later, he’s mostly made his peace with that, and now runs a company that provides women with dates for special events. Imagine his surprise when he discovers that the ex who left him in the dust needs a fake boyfriend for their high school reunion…

Jessica Jackson used to be the mean girl to end all mean girls. But life didn’t turn out like she’d thought it would, and now she’s twenty-eight, single, and works as an insurance agent to A-listers instead of being the A-lister like she’d always dreamed. She can’t go back to her home town and admit just how thoroughly she’s failed, so she lets her friends set her up with a fake date for the reunion.

The second Jessica realizes that her fake date is Jake, she tries to call the whole thing off. The problem is the chemistry between them is even hotter now than it was when they were teenagers. Against her better judgment she lets herself get drawn into Jake’s arms again—and into his bed. But time doesn’t heal all wounds—sometimes, it actually makes them worse—and if Jessica and Jake can’t learn to forgive each other, their second chance might not last the weekend.


What drew me to Prom Queen (besides the sexy cover) was the blurb. I love second chance romances, and this one sounded like so much fun! I mean, who wouldn’t want to know what happens when a former prom queen unknowingly hires her ex-boyfriend to be her date to their class reunion? I certainly wanted to know.

Prom Queen really was a fun second chance romance. It was a quick read filled with tons of passion. It didn’t take long for Jake and Jessica to realize their attraction to each other hadn’t waned over the ten years they’d been apart. It had only grown and become more mature. It wasn’t simple to fix their problems, but I loved the way they worked through it together.

I loved both characters, but Jessica’s back story stood out to me. She was the quintessential mean girl in high school, but it wasn’t because she thought she was better than everyone else. Jessica was only trying to be the girl her mother wanted her to be. Being perfect wasn’t easy for Jessica, and over the years she had transformed herself into who she wanted to be. This was a great addition to the sexy story.

My only teeny tiny complaint was how quickly this story wrapped up. I would have loved for it to gone on a little longer, and for Jessica and Jake to have spent more time working things out. Otherwise, I thought Prom Queen was an excellent second chance romance.