Saturday, July 29, 2023

Sofia Lapuente & Jarrod Shusterman: RETRO

In this first book by this author duo, RETRO takes teens back to 2000s where things were simpler but not always safer:

Luna makes a split-second decision that will change more than her life, one that almost causes a life to be lost, she posts and sends a video to a friend that features one of the popular girls at school. What happens next is a plea by Luna for things to change, to go back to simpler times where social media was not present and interactions were done in person and not over an App. The social media company LIMBO is happy to step in and offer the students a chance of the lifetime, go RETRO for the rest of the school year and they will receive all expensive paid to any college of their choice. Luna knows what this would mean to not only her but her family as well and she will stop at nothing to make sure that she wins the challenge.

First things first, this is the first book that I have read that had a link to a Spotify playlist for you to listen to while you read each chapter. Each chapter has a song related to it and related to what was going to happen in the chapter and set the mood for it. And the playlist really hits, I would play the majority of the songs on it at any given time.

I personally loved the idea around this book, as we are all often on our phones and social media too much and many don’t realize the consequences of what one does on them. From ranting to bullying to just passing the time watching video after video, I like that there was s social media company behind the idea/contest of people going RETRO. All that said, I think that Lapuente and Shusterman attempted to do too much in this book.

This book is touted as a mystery book but it takes a long time to get to the mystery aspect of the book, most of the book I'd say till around the 70% mark is just about going RETRO and the teens discovering more about themselves, not really noticing anything mystery related. So the whole friends missing thing really is rushed and not very imaginative as to who the bad guys are. Also the teenage Drama was pretty predictable and I honestly didn’t see why Luna was mad at Axel for things that his family was trying to do when he had no part of it.

I think that this book would have benefited from another POV. We only get Luna as she goes through the playlist on her Walkman, describing what occurred and how she found herself in her current situation. I think only having her POV didn’t allow for the mystery aspect to shine through till the end. It was more about Luna trying to be a teenager and doing RETRO things.

I loved the idea with the book but I think that Lapuente & Shusterman got lost along the way as to what book they wanted to write.


Instead of This,
Check These Books Out:

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Scott Thomas: Kill Creek

In his debut novel, Scott Thomas answers the question, does a house Remember?

Every small town has a house out of town that has a story, a sinister history. The Finch house has a tragic story and for years it has remained empty, overgrown and abandoned but the house is about to have life once again. When four authors, who are all at different times in their careers, are invited to spend Halloween answering questions live in a house known as a Kill Creek, they all reluctantly agree. What begins as a publicity stunt soon becomes a fight for sanity and survival. For there is something in that house, something that has awakened and it does not want to be powerless again.

Horror is not a genre that I read in that often and I will admit that i have not read many haunted house books but Damn this was an amazing book. Even though there were times that the pace was slower I felt myself turning the pages faster and faster to see what happens next. I do not give out five stars very often when reviewing a book but this book 100% deserves five stars. From the writing, plot, characters Thomas can draw reader in from the beginning. I cannot believe that this is Thomas’ debut and he was able to craft something this amazing.

I enjoyed that this book was at a slower pace, as it really played out the slow descent into madness that the characters experience. It was also interesting getting the different POV and how the events affected them differently but also in the same way. 

I Loved Loved Loved that Thomas did not really take the easy way out for the end of the book, and he really went for it.

I do not give out 5 stars very often I am super stingy with them in fact, but this book is worth every one of those 5 stars. Kill Creek was Awesome, I wish I could read it again for the first time. I look forward to checking out other books by Thomas. What is even more crazy is that this is his debut novel.


If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

T.J. Newman: Drowning

T.J. Newman takes readers on a flight across the Pacific Ocean that does not make its arrival destination:

Only a few minutes after takeoff Flight 1421 crashes into the Pacific Ocean. Though it may not have been in the air very long, the plane and passengers are in a lot of danger. During the evacuation of the plane an engine explodes covering the water with jet fuel and inferno is about to happen. Those still left on the plane make the decision to stay aboard, but as the plane starts to slowly think into the water, they have to ask themselves did the damn themselves to a slow death instead of a quick one.

This is the second book that I have read by Newman and I didn’t make the same mistake I did with the first one, actually reading it on a plane, not my smartest move I will admit. Though this book does have me appreciate even more the times that I was fortune enough to fly over the Ocean and make it from point A to Point B and back again. Personally, I enjoyed this book more that Newman's debut Falling as I felt like the stakes were higher in a way and you weren't quite sure who would survive. 

WOW this book was such a ride and you will go through a whole bunch of emotions throughout the book especially when you near the end of the book. You will 100% want to read this book in one sitting as it grabs you from the very beginning and won’t let you go. Newman does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat but at the same time keeping the story and events as plausible as possible. You can tell from her information she passes along in the book that she was a flight attendant before becoming an author

I like how there are dual POV one from the plane and one from the surface. I found this gave you a well-rounded story as well as detailing the struggles of each side of things as they try to figure out if they can get anyone out of the plane alive. I won’t lie, I totally was thinking about what I would do in that situations and I think that shows how well that Newman wrote the book. And while the book mainly focuses on the family, you feel for all the characters who are trapped in the plane and wonder who will get out alive.

This is the second book that I have read by Newman and this book was totally the thriller that I wanted it to be as it kept me on the edge of my seat. I don’t read many planes based/setting stories and I am here for what Newman is writing. I look forward to reading the next book and plane scenario that Newman comes out with.


If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Kelley Armstrong: The Poisoner’s Ring

This is the second book in the Rip Through Time novel, I think you could read this book before the first one, but I think get a full grasp of Mallory and the relationships in the book you should read the first book A Rip Through Time.

In the next book in Kelley Armstong's Rip Through Time series, Poison is the weapon of choice:

Modern day homicide detective Mallory Atkinson is starting to adjust to her new life as a house maid in Edinburgh. Her employers now know that she is not their original housemaid Catriona and that she is not from their time, making it easier for Mallory to exist in this world and assist Dr. Gray with his medical examinations but their latest case hits close to home. Men from all classes are being murdered, killed by a mysterious poison and the most obvious suspect is the grieving or not so grieving widows, the most recent suspect is Gray's older sister. 

I really enjoyed this one more than the first book which i was a little bit on the fence with, but i found this one was much more entertaining, more focus on a whodunit murder mystery story/plot and less about Mallory trying to get back to her time. The Poisoner's Ring feels very different from the first book and does not have the same type of murders either. I like the idea of poison being used, you don’t see that as often these days, and poisons tend to be associated with certain people in society so there are many suspects right away that Mallory and Gray need to work through. I was able to figure out the murder part of the mystery, but why the individuals were murdered was interesting and i think on point for the time. You can tell that Armstrong has done her research in this era for what had been discovered, what has not and even the schemes of the time. 

I really enjoy the interplay between Victorian era characters as Mallory tries to fit in at times and be herself. I applaud Mallory for not wanting to change or affect history as much as she can and choosing what she tells the police and Gray. Mallory is very aware of her speech and ideas really affect how people see her, and she is not beyond using some of these 

I do wonder where Armstrong is going to take this series. Mallory can only stay in the Victorian era for so long before the story becomes stagnate. Maybe there will be a case where Gray ends up in her time, that would be quite a trip. As there seems to be a possible growing relationship between Gray and Mallory that you want them to be together, but I appreciate that Armstrong is taking the slower route to get there.

This is a case where the second book was better than the first, in my opinion. It is a well thought out, fast paced and interesting mystery with characters and time period that are intriguing, I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

If You Like This,
Check These Out Too: