Book Review

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie WestFame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 5th February 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Lacey Barnes has dreamt of being in a movie for as long as she can remember. However, while her dream did include working alongside the hottest actor in Hollywood, it didn’t involve having to finish up her senior year of high school at the same time she was getting her big break. Although that is nothing compared to Donavan, the straight-laced student her father hires to tutor her, who is a full-on nightmare.

As Lacey struggles to juggle her burgeoning career, some on-set sabotage, and an off-screen romance with the unlikeliest of leading men, she quickly learns that sometimes the best stories happen when you go off script.

Kasie West’s newest book was super cute, as always. If you’re looking for something new and refreshing, you’re in the wrong place. But if you’re here for a cute contemporary that’s also a lot of fun, this is the book for you.

West has added a bit of mystery to the plot of this book, which was nice because it was an extra element that she doesn’t usually include in her books. This mystery sideplot made the book a bit more entertaining than her books have been lately, since I’ve been finding them to be quite repetitive.

Lacey, the main character, had absolutely no character growth at all, which was a bit disappointing. She was incredibly up herself the entire way through, and she didn’t seem to act any better towards her dad at the end. I mean, she’s alright, definitely not the worst, but I feel like there was a missed opportunity here and she could have developed a bit in 300 pages.

The lack of female rivalry was really nice. It was hinted at a tiny bit, but nothing ever came of it. I really appreciated this because I was fully expecting some cattiness or female rivalry on set of the movie.

The romance is also cute af, which really helped me enjoy the book more, despite it being quite generic and nothing standout.

Evermore by Sara Holland

Evermore by Sara HollandEvermore by Sara Holland
Series: Everless #2
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 31st December 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.

Evermore was more than a little dull, really. I really enjoyed the first book, Everless, when I read it back in 2018, because I thought it was very unique with its world building. The plot itself was unoriginal, but since I enjoyed the world building so much, I didn’t really mind. Evermore, on the other hand, was entirely lacklustre and I didn’t enjoy it at all.

I thought that Evermore was lacking any originality. The time/currency thing wasn’t shiny or unique any more – in fact it was barely used. The plot was boring and it took forever to actually get going. The author threw us straight back into the world, and for no reason at all because nothing interesting was happening at that point in time. I feel like there should have been a time jump or something between books because the beginning (and middle) of this book just dragged.

The relationship, which I felt had potential in the first book, lacked any chemistry, which is a shame because I was ready for it to go somewhere by the end of the first book. All of a sudden the two characters were in love and all over each other and it was boring.

I wouldn’t recommend this one, but at least I finished a series? Yay!

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

The Suspect by Fiona BartonThe Suspect by Fiona Barton
Series: Kate Waters #3
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 10th January 2019
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years since he left home to go traveling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . .

The Suspect is a lot more intense than Barton’s previous books because the situation was a lot more personal for the main character, Kate. The previous books were a lot more focused on the characters who were directly affected by the case, like the suspects (ha) and the victims. The Suspect, however, focuses a lot more on Kate and her journey, and her relationship with her son. I really like how this series is developing, as I like Kate as a character. Her insight into the world of journalism is intriguing and informative, and it helps that the author herself used to work in the same industry.

Despite all of that, there’s still not a whole lot of substance, as is usual with an adult thriller novel. It’s very much focused on the case itself instead of character development and emotional connections. That said, I’m cool with that. I knew what I was getting into with an adult thriller.

I’m not sure where Barton was going with the detective and his side plot. She seems to have tried to add emotion with his wife being terminally ill, but we barely see him or know him at all, so should we really care? It makes me wonder if Barton is planning bigger things for his character in future books in the series.

The mystery in this was absolutely tragic, and it had me hooked from the start. Barton always writes about such dark topics, and she always does a really good job with it.

I loved this book, and it’s definitely my favourite in the series so far. I hope Barton keeps going with this series because I’m really getting into it! And as a side note, Kate’s son is a complete brat and she should have left him in Thailand.

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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