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Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes

Hidden Pieces by Paula StokesHidden Pieces by Paula Stokes
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 28th August 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Embry Woods has secrets. Small ones about her past. Bigger ones about her relationship with town hero Luke and her feelings for someone new. But the biggest secret she carries with her is about what happened that night at the Sea Cliff Inn. The fire. The homeless guy. Everyone thinks Embry is a hero, too, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Embry thinks she’ll have to take the secret to her grave, until she receives an anonymous note—someone else knows the truth. Next comes a series of threatening messages, asking Embry to make impossible choices, forcing her to put her loved ones at risk. Someone is playing a high stakes game where no one in Embry’s life is safe. And their last move...is murder.

I always enjoy Paula Stokes’ thrillers, and Hidden Pieces is no exception. Stokes is very talented when it comes to drawing you in and keeping you guessing, especially as she throws little hints into the story every now and then that you may or may not pick up on.

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Liars Inc. by Paula Stokes

Liars Inc. by Paula StokesLiars Inc. by Paula Stokes
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: March 24, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called "Captivating to the very end," Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

I read Liars Inc. months ago, but I’m only writing my review in February so you’ll have to excuse me if I seem like I’m being a bit vague. Luckily, my past-self was clever enough to note down some bullet points after finishing the book, so all is not lost.

Liars Inc. is my second read from Ms. Paula Stokes, and I have to say I think Stokes does thrillers a lot better than she does fluffy contemporary. Liars Inc. is a truly thrilling read and I was absolutely captivated from the start.

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The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

The Art of Lainey by Paula StokesThe Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be

Well, well, well, wasn’t this a surprisingly enjoyable read? I went into The Art of Lainey knowing precisely two things: 1) it’s a contemporary novel, and 2) it’s about a girl who takes advice from The Art of War. Of course I was intrigued, but I went into the book with certain reservations.

First of all, I was expecting Lainey to annoy me to no end with her strategy to win back the guy who dumped her. That kind of storyline is usually frustrating, because I tend to spend the majority of the time rolling my eyes at the main character while she jumps through hoops to win back a guy who is really no good for her. I was pleasantly surprised, however, by how the whole situation is handled in this book. Sure, Lainey is trying to win back her boyfriend, but she’s very strategic and intelligent about it, and along the way she learns a lot about herself. I thought this aspect of the storyline worked very well with Lainey’s character development, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

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