Book Review

Freefall by Jessica Barry

Freefall by Jessica BarryFreefall by Jessica Barry
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 8th January 2019
Publisher: Harper
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

When your life is a lie, the truth can kill you

When her fiancé’s private plane crashes in the Colorado Rockies, Allison Carpenter miraculously survives. But the fight for her life is just beginning. For years, Allison has been living with a terrible secret, a shocking truth that powerful men will kill to keep buried. If they know she’s alive, they will come for her. She must make it home.

In the small community of Owl Creek, Maine, Maggie Carpenter learns that her only child is presumed dead. But authorities have not recovered her body—giving Maggie a shred of hope. She, too, harbors a shameful secret: she hasn’t communicated with her daughter in two years, since a family tragedy drove Allison away. Maggie doesn’t know anything about her daughter’s life now—not even that she was engaged to wealthy pharmaceutical CEO Ben Gardner, or why she was on a private plane.

As Allison struggles across the treacherous mountain wilderness, Maggie embarks on a desperate search for answers. Immersing herself in Allison’s life, she discovers a sleek socialite hiding dark secrets. What was Allison running from—and can Maggie uncover the truth in time to save her?

Told from the perspectives of a mother and daughter separated by distance but united by an unbreakable bond, Freefall is a riveting debut novel about two tenacious women overcoming unimaginable obstacles to protect themselves and those they love.

Freefall was nothing standout as far as thrillers go, but I enjoyed reading it and it’s one that I could definitely see as a movie. There was quite a bit of action, but barely any character development or in-depth plot, so it’s one of those books that are probably best read on an aeroplane or by the beach.

I was expecting a lot more survival stuff, since the main character Ally was stranded in the wilderness after her plane crashed. Unfortunately, there wasn’t too much of that, because the book is filled with flashbacks and it also focuses on her mother.

Ally was very underdeveloped, and it took me a long time to care about her at all. I feel like the book would have been much better if there had been more about Ally’s background, especially her job and the time before she met her fiance. I would have liked to have seen what led her up to that point in her emotional state, and why she was so desperate for love and approval. Her actions after getting engaged didn’t make much sense or have much impact, since I didn’t know too much about her character. I was just told that she was a good person.

I did like what Jessica Barry did with the mother/daughter relationship. It was a really good balance in terms of the relationship side of things and the thriller plot.

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManusTwo Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 8th January 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery's never been there, but she's heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it's hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone's declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she's in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous--and most people aren't good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it's safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

Two Can Keep a Secret is such a meaty thriller. There was so much going on, and there were so many characters and relationships to wrap my head around. Because there was so much going on, I felt like there had to have been a lot of pressure on the author (and her editor!) to do a good job of it. And I think they did great! Two Can Keep a Secret flows incredibly well, and the suspense is real.

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Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko JeanEmpress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 6th November 2018
Publisher: Gollancz
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren't hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.

Oh, this was a juicy fantasy book! I went into this expecting it to focus on the action during the competition where the future empress has to beat four challenging rooms, but it was so much more than that. The world building in Empress of All Seasons was excellent and was truly the most gripping part of the book. I loved it.

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Vengeful by V. E. Schwab

Vengeful by V. E. SchwabVengeful by V. E. Schwab
Series: Villains #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 25th September 2018
Publisher: Tor
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there's Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn't know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

I’ve been waiting years for Vengeful along with everyone else and I am so happy to say that it was a hit for me. I love books about people with powers, and books about horrible people (who are supposed to be horrible, anyway) so Vicious was one of my favourite books back in the day. I’d been cautiously anticipating Vengeful because I wasn’t sure if it would be as good as the first book (it wasn’t) but it was actually pretty freakin’ good.

Now, I’m sure you all have some important and pressing questions about this highly anticipated sequel, so I’m here to answer them.

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Flutter by Gina Linko

Flutter by Gina LinkoFlutter by Gina Linko
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: 23rd October 2012
Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

All Emery Land wants is to be like any other 17-year-old—to go to school, hang out with her friends, and just be normal. But for as long as she can remember, she’s suffered from seizures. And in recent years they’ve consumed her life. To Emery they’re much more than seizures, she calls them loops—moments when she travels through wormholes back and forth in time and to a mysterious town. The loops are taking their toll on her physically. So she practically lives in the hospital where her scientist father and an ever-growing team of doctors monitor her every move. They’re extremely interested in the data they collect when Emery seizes. It appears that she’s tapping into parts of the brain typically left untouched by normal human beings.

Escaping from the hospital, Emery travels to Esperanza, the town from her loops on the upper peninsula of Michigan, where she meets Asher Clarke. Ash’s life is governed by his single-minded pursuit of performing good Samaritan acts to atone for the death of a loved one. His journey is very much entwined with Emery’s loops.

Drawn together they must unravel their complicated connection before it’s too late.

I don’t really have much to say about Flutter but I did say I would review it (six years ago) so here I am. Basically, it’s a really bad book. It was written in the (fairly) early days on YA, and you can tell. The plot is incredibly basic, and there is far too much focus on the romance for a science fiction book. I was promised a book about time travel, and instead I got some romance drama with a bit of paranormal thrown in. It was boring. I didn’t like it.