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The Invited – a book review in 200 words

The Invited

by

Jennifer McMahon

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Jennifer McMahon has done it again. Every single time, she delivers a completely new experience and a fantastically creepy story line. The Invited, her newest, is no exception.

Helen and Nate decide to escape the city, but they cannot find a house that meets all their requirements. That all changes when they spot a huge piece of rural, Vermont property that is, of course, suspiciously cheap.

And it includes swamp land.

And it once belonged to Hattie, who was hanged as a witch… in the 1920s. (If I’m remembering correctly. In any case, it was definitely a very late date for a witch hanging).

And they decide to build a house to suit.

And the happy couple find themselves building a house made for a haunting.

There is also a girl mourning the loss of her mother who left rather abruptly, a treasure hunt, some suspicious spiritualists, an albino deer hunt, more than one ghostly figure and a whole lot of heart.

If you have not read McMahon before, you really should. This is my fourth or fifth, and not one has disappointed. I’m so glad that my anticipation surrounding this book was duly rewarded. What a GREAT scary story!

What’s your favorite McMahon book? Let me know in the comments so we can discuss!

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Review: 90/100

Buy it at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

Five Unicorn Flush – a book review in 200 words

Five Unicorn Flush

(The Reason [or Space Unicorn], #2)

by

T. J. Berry

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First, if you have not read Space Unicorn Blues by T. J. Berry, go do that now. Like, right now.

Done? Good. Wasn’t it fantastic?!

Now for the review of the second in the series:

In Five Unicorn Flush, the full cast is back, including Captain Jenny, Cowboy Jim, Bao Zhi and Gary, along with elves, fairies, sentient spaceships and all manner of mythical creatures.

Gary, the half-unicorn and prince, is struggling to keep the rest of the Bala happy on the new world to which they have been sent to keep them safe from humans. But on their new world, there are no modern conveniences, they are starving, and bone-strippingly acidic water and drag-you-into-the-woods shadow creatures are trying to kill them.

In the meantime, the Reason is in search of the place the Bala have been sent. How are they to function in any capacity without their servants (slaves) and without Bala magic? There is a contingent of humans on the way to the new Bala world, but the journey is fraught with danger, including cannibals, pirates and spies. It’s crazy…and also makes complete sense.

Berry’s voice is clever, funny and unique. I’ve never read books quite like these and I am so glad that this is a series! Go read her so she keeps writing this series, please and thank you!

Rating: 97/100

Buy it at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

Daisy Jones & The Six – a book review in 200 words

Daisy Jones & The Six

by

Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Daisy Jones is young, wild and naturally talented.

The Six have worked steadily to get the success that is heading their way.

By chance, Daisy and The Six’s frontman, Billy, end up singing a hit song together and their respective managers decide that touring together is the best option for both.

What follows is rock-and-roll magic, except when it’s not.

Written as the transcript of a documentary film, the author’s newest book contains all of the usual plot points for a story about up-and-coming rock stars. Drugs, sex and partying. Riding the high of becoming famous. The dark places fame can take a group of people so closely intertwined. (And be warned, the probability that you will sob for two entire chapters is high.)

But the author so deftly writes about these characters that you forget the entire thing’s fiction. I often went to Google people and places only to remember this was entirely made up. I really wish that I could hear the songs of Daisy Jones & The Six. They must have been amazing!

A Taylor Jenkins Reid book is now an absolute must-read book for me going forward. You should probably try this book to find out why.

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 95/100

Buy it now at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones – a review in 200 words

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones

by

Micah Dean Hicks

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What a deeply strange and compelling book about a dying town haunted by its inhabitants, both living and dead. Jane is possessed, her brother is possessed, her mother is possessed. Her father is so damaged that he cannot be possessed. The town, from its buildings to its machinery, is overrun with ghosts. The only place that can still be considered operating in any capacity is the pig-slaughtering factory on the edge of town.

There is so much to this book. It’s about family and regret and relationships and change and resistance to change and prejudice and longing and love. I feel like I need to re-read it just to get the meaning of everything contained within. BUT it’s also just a really good ghost story, unlike any I’ve read before. You can either enjoy it as an allegorical tale or as a straight-up horror book.

I would be interested to know what you thought of this book. Did it have any special meaning for you or did you read it as a straightforward book about a haunting? If you’d like to go read it quick, I’ll wait here for you so we can discuss.

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 92/100

Buy it now at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

The Silent Patient – a book review in 200 words

The Silent Patient

by

Alex Michaelides

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Full disclosure, I knew the huge twist (and bad guy) in the story before I read The Silent Patient.

Therefore, it’s difficult for me to tell you if the ending will surprise or not. I can tell you that I started the book because I was curious about all the hype and didn’t think I’d bother to finish it. And…I ended up reading the entire thriller in one day. I also really enjoy books set in a mental institution of any kind, so this story was in my wheelhouse from the get-go.

If you don’t already know the premise of this book, a well-known artist kills her husband and immediately goes silent. No communication of any kind. Not even to defend herself – because did she really kill the husband that she adored and doted on? Most of the story is told by the new doctor who believes he can cure the artist and make her speak. (Messiah complex, anyone?) Pretty simple premise, really. But the execution is interesting and there were still enough little surprises that I didn’t mind knowing the ending. If you haven’t read it already and you are a thriller fan, than what are you waiting for?

(A preview copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 80/100

Buy it now at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

The Broken Girls – a book review in 200 words

The Broken Girls

by Simone St. James

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The Broken Girls by Simone St. James is a well-written, fast-paced, thrill-soaked ride told in (at least) two timelines.

The book opens with a young girl being followed by someone or something in the very dark on a deserted road. Who is she? Where is she? When is she?

In 1950, four troubled girls (Katie, CeCe, Roberta and Sonia) are staying at Idlewild Hall, a home for the worst troublemakers. Each has a secret that slowly unfolds as the pages are turned. Each secret is worse than the last.

In 2014, local journalist Fiona cannot let her sister’s murder go. She can’t sleep and she can’t leave the small town where the unthinkable happened. Her sister’s murder has stopped time for both herself and her father until Fiona hears rumors that Idlewild Hall, the site of the murder, is being renovated.

Woven into all of this (as though it was not enough!) is the threat of a visit in both timelines by Mary Hand, the resident woman in black and the ghostly creature who supposedly haunts the hallways, classrooms and grounds of Idlewild.

Between the two timelines, murders, disappearances and strange happenings abound. What a fun and utterly readable book!

Rating: 92/100

Buy this book when it comes out (today! 3/20) at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – a book review in 200 words

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

 

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“Over these many years, I have observed both profound folly and breathtaking wisdom among humankind. They balance each other like dancers in the throes of a passionate tango.” – The Thunderhead

I don’t remember ever loving the second book in a series more than I love this one. The world that Shusterman introduced in Scythe is taken to an entirely different level in Thunderhead.

The continued adventures of Scythe Lucifer (Rowan) and Scythe Anasthasia (Citra) have incredible consequences for the Schythedom and the rest of North Merica. All of the characters from the first book have returned; and the introduction of a new character, Greyson Tolliver, and the Thunderhead as an actual “character” in the novel changed my perspective on this entire near-future Earth – in a way I could not have anticipated.

What happens when the world is threatened but humanity is too complacent to pay attention or even care about what is happening? You will see.

This smart, thoughtful, action-packed series will make you think about your place in the world. If you believe there is not tremendously great teen fiction out there, this series will change your mind. Unfortunately, the third in the series does not even have a name yet – so I will wait in frenzied anticipation for the wrap-up to this story. Hurry up, Neal Shusterman, I need to know how this ends!

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 92/100

Buy it January 9, 2018, at Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

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