The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

the darkest corners

goodreads-synopsis

The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

commentary

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas was possibly the book with  the slowest buildup to a plot. The story revolves around Tessa, a teen who lives with her grandmother in Florida. She is forced to return to her old hometown because her father in prison is dying. Almost a decade ago, Tessa was abandon by her mother. Left with no relatives in Pennsylvania, her grandmother takes her out of state, and away from her best friend Callie. Tessa did not have a normal childhood growing up. Her father was arrested, her sister may have possibly been involved with a murder, and her mother had abandoned her.

When Callie’s cousin Lorrie is murdered by a high profiled murderer, Tessa and Callie help incriminate Wyatt Stokes into jail. Tessa has felt the guilt over the case as she grew up. She is still effected by the case, and looks to forums to see what people are talking about it on the internet. When she returns back to Fayette, Tessa is forced to confront her past, and people she has left behind.

It was difficult to trust characters due to several red herrings! I listened to this book as an audiobook. I have to say, that the premise of the story was interesting, but I felt that the pacing took forever. It was slow, but the buildup to the story and the crazy events that unfolded was the best aspect of the book. Yes, there were many twists that I did not see coming. I was gagged!

One issue I had was connecting with the characters. It felt like Tessa had a detached personality. There was something about her personality that threw me off. She did try reconnecting with people from her past, but I didn’t get emotions from her. I am basing this on what I heard on audio form rather than reading the physical book.

This book did get dark, and I liked the many characters that seemed unreliable. I liked that the mystery behind the murders did not get resolved till the very end. It was enjoyable, but I wished that I were able to really get into this book, especially concerning Tessa. The friendship between Callie and Tessa was possibly the best part of this book. It was presented as a fragile, and broken. Callie and Tessa were completely different individuals, but most of all, Tessa failed to realize how much Callie was broken. Solving the murders of the Ohio River Monster brought the girls together. It was good. If you are looking for romance in this book, there is none.

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 1/2)

ARC: Emma In The Night by Wendy Walker

Emma In The Night

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

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I received Emma In The Night through the website SheSpeaks. This is an honest review.

Let’s start with this, I finished reading Emma In The Night in less than two days. I haven’t been so emotionally invested in a book this year until this one. Emma In The Night is amazing. I went into the book with no expectations. I started the first chapter yesterday and I really found it hard to put down the book. The book was beautifully written and I was captivated.

Emma In The Night is a dark mystery that revolves around two sisters Emma and Cassandra Tanner. Both sisters disappeared three years ago and their case was deemed cold. One day, Cassandra Tanner returns and the search for her sister begins once again. Each chapter had me hooked, I am not going to lie. Cassandra did not reveal her story all at once. I had to keep reading in order to find out what happened in the three years the sisters disappeared. I wanted to know the motive of them disappearing. At first I thought they were kidnapped, and then I was starting to believe that they had ran away. The story became darker as Cass was revealing what really happened to her and Emma.

The whole time I believed Cassandra and her retelling her story of survival. After all she and her sister had been through, I had no doubt about the authenticity of her story. I honestly had no idea that I was going to be deceived by the protagonist. I did not expect an unreliable narrator!  I never saw it coming. There were so many twists and turns when it came to Emma In The Night. My favorite character was Cassandra. Despite being an unreliable narrator, she endured so much. She was emotionally detached coming back after three years and suffered a traumatic childhood. Cassandra wanted to live a normal life with her father and sister. Cassandra was aware of how toxic her mother was growing up. Cassandra knew she was the weaker sibling while Emma was the stronger one. I felt that Cassandra was the stronger sibling in the end. Emma was on the path of self destruction despite being mother’s favorite, while Cassandra did whatever it take to survive abuse and torture.

As for the reveal of this psychological thriller, I could not believe what happened that night the sisters disappeared. I was shocked. I loved that the book made me question what was real and what was not. I thought it was interesting how the book had two perspectives. One being Cassandra’s perspective and the other being Dr. Abby Winters who was part of the investigation team. I liked how both Cassandra and Abby had similar childhood experiences.

As for Abby Winters perspective, I thought it was an interesting choice. Abby Winters tried her best to solve the disappearance of Cassandra and Emma. Abby had to work hard in order to resolve the issue. She never gave up on the case because it hit close to home for her. She was responsible for putting the pieces together while Cassandra came back and told her story of her disappearance to the world. I enjoyed reading Abby’s perspective, she’s the protagonist that you can trust while reading the story.

I don’t want to spoil everything for anyone who wants to read Emma In The Night, but I will end with this: If you want to read a dark psychological thriller for this summer I’d recommend checking out Emma In The Night. The more you read, the darker the book becomes.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5)

ARC: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

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goodreads-synopsis

Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

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I received an ARC on NetGalley.

This review will contain spoilers!

spoilers

So the story starts off with Lane Roanoke. She has a detached personality and can be very cynical. Her mother commits suicide and she is adopted by her grandparents in Kansas. Lane was never close to her mother, and she was relieved when her mother died. Initially, Lane had no clue that she still had family. When she arrives in Kansas, she instantly forms a bond with her cousin Allegra. Lane’s life is transformed. Lane is not used to living in a loving home. Though everything seems perfect in the household, there seems to be a lot of things off with her new family members especially Allegra. Lane never stays as a permanent member of the Roanoke clan and leaves immediately as the summer comes to an end. As the years go by, Lane looses contact with her immediate family. One day when her grandfather calls her about Allegra, Lane knows that she has to return no matter the consequences.

When I first saw the title of the Roanoke Girls, I thought it was going to take place during the Roanoke colony. This is not the case for the Roanoke Girls. As I read the synopsis I was intrigued by the mystery, and decided to give it a go. What I read was dark and this book is not for younger readers. Also, don’t read it if you’re triggered easily by rape and incest.

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As I’ve mentioned, the mystery of Allegra’s murder had me intrigued. But, the author revealed shocking secrets in the beginning chapters…thus making it obvious who was the killer was. The book would have been stronger if the author had revealed the incest and pedophilia secrets till the very end of the story. By the time I was halfway done with the story, I knew where the story was headed. There weren’t that many suspects to pick from.

The main story is told in alternating perspectives between adult Lane and teenage Lane. There are also chapters including the povs of the other fallen Roanoke Girls who have died. I really liked that the other perspectives of the Roanoke Girls were told, though their chapters were short. Other than that, it felt as if Lane had not changed at all in her adult years. Lane’s character stayed consistent throughout the book. Though she became a bit more destructive as an adult.

One thing I can say is that the characters were not likable especially Lane. Lane is distrusting and angry, and resentful all the time. Lane is extremely bitter at how her life played out. Though she didn’t suffer as much as her cousin Allegra did, Lane is very hesitant to change. She still sees herself as destructive due to life events. Honestly, I found it hard to like Lane. She made it difficult to feel sympathy for her due to her actions. Instead of moving on, or at least getting a form of therapy to cope with life, she chooses the destructive path.

Lane could have avoided the pain and trauma of that summer if she had spoken. If she had said something to the authorities, Allegra’s death could have been prevented. But no, Lane chose not to speak to anyone. She felt that there was no person that she could have trusted. In a way, I feel that even Lane played a part in Allegra’s demise.

As for the other characters, I can say the same thing: none of them were likable, except for Cooper. Like Lane, Cooper also had a horrible childhood. Cooper suffered more than Lane, but he chose to better himself and not end up like his abusive father. Cooper became wiser as the years went by and tried several times to get Lane to open up.

When it came to the big revelation, I was not surprised at all. Most of the time, Lane spent her time having sex than looking for clues. When the killer confessed to the murder, it happened instantly. All I can say is that the Roanoke girls suffered from abuse: sexually and mentally. The Roanoke girls had no help from anyone. All the girls suffered a sad fate, which was death. I really despised the grandfather and the grandmother, but more the grandfather. It was such as sad book to read, but there were so many frustrating moments that could have been avoided if characters had helped out.

Despite all of it, the ending was a bit sweeter than I had anticipated.

Book Release: March 7th 2017 by Crown

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️

miriam-michelle

The Diviners by Libba Bray: Book Review

Hello world. I recently read The Diviners by Libba Bray. I kept seeing this book on my tumblr dashboard and booktube. I had to know what the big fuss was about. I got my copy on thriftbooks and I had no idea it was an autographed copy! That’s legit.

Cover: It’s beautiful. I love how it’s beautifully designed to look like the sun.

Characters: At first, I thought Evie O’Neill was really annoying in the beginning. She was a party girl, but later matures a bit and realizes she has to change her ways. As I kept reading, I grew to love her character. She is feisty and flirtatious, but overall a caring and helpful person. I loved her character development and I can’t wait for the sequel. Then there’s Sam, the thief, I wanted a romance to bud between him and Evie. I felt that they had cute moments and that they were more compatible than Evie and Jericho…I have nothing against Jericho, I liked him, but I would have wanted him with someone else…My favorite characters had to be Theta and Memphis. I love them together, the forbidden love. I really hope that they have a bigger part in the next book and that we learn more about their powers. John Hobbes, the villain, was scary. I did get a bit scared when I was reading about his killings. It gave me goosebumps.

Plot: The book is set in the late 1920s before the Great Depression. It does take a while to get used to the lingo, but I love how the author described the overall setting of the story such as bootleggers and flappers. Evie moves to Manhattan after causing trouble in her hometown in Ohio. She is sent to live with her uncle Will who runs The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. There are weird murders happening in the city, and Evie teams up with Will and Jericho (her uncle’s assistant) in order to solve the brutal murders. I don’t want to spoil too much because it is a great book!

What I liked: The Cult of the Brethren! I liked the craziness of the radical religion. It was refreshing. I enjoyed John Hobbes and his sacrificial murders. I was on the edge of my seat when reading. I also enjoyed how each character was important even though they had short roles. I thought Evie, Memphis, and Theta were going to team up, but it’s okay that didn’t happen. The ending was a bit crazy. I had no idea that Sam was connected to Will! That second book should come out soon!

What I disliked: The love triangle…Evie was focus on trying to solve the case and using her powers, but out of nowhere she starts developing feelings for Jericho. My heart broke a little…I was really rooting for Sam. Evie’s relationship with Jericho did feel a little bit rushed. I also wanted the other characters to have a bigger role, but let’s be hopeful for the next book! Lastly, I wanted answers to the next threat. It kept building up suspense for the second book!

I had a lot of fun reading The Diviners. My final score is a 4 out of 5. 😀

Jackaby by William Ritter: Book Review

“I have a gift that is, as far as I have found, unique to me. It allows me to see truth where others see illusion – and there are many illusions, so many masks and facades. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”  – Jackaby

I won an advanced reader’s copy of the novel through a goodreads giveaway. For anyone interested in buying the book, it goes on sale September 16, 2014. Winning a free book did not influence my opinions. The Cover: Did anyone feel the cover? It’s so soft and it feels very different from your typical paperback. I loved the cover of the novel, it was quite beautiful. I loved the  details of the cover such as the woman in red. It is one of my favorite covers of 2014. The Plot: Abigail Rook is not your typical Victorian socialite, she seeks adventure and travel,  and would rather get her hands dirty be seeking a husband to maintain her. She arrives to New England after having a disappointing experience excavating dinosaurs.  Abigail seeks a employment right away because she is in need of money and meets Jackaby, her future employer who is a detective. The people of New Fiddleham view Mr. R.F. Jackaby as a maniac since he deals with the supernatural. Naturally, he is talented in his work, he is compassionate and kind to supernatural creatures. The duo works together in order to solve the mysterious murders in New Fiddleham with some help from the police force. The Characters: Abigail definitely proved that she was not your stereotypical girl, she worked hard for her job. Jackaby, I had no complaints about his character. For some reason, I kept imagining Matt Smith as Jackaby because he reminded me of the eleventh doctor. At the same time, Jackaby really reminded me of Sherlock since he sees what others can’t see.  Then there is Charlie Cane, who I thought was adorable, I thought he was human until the middle of the book. The side characters were great, I would have loved it if Jenny the ghost had a bigger backstory, the same going for Douglas the duck. The Villian: I knew it! I loved how he was a creature rather than a person! The Romance: Thank the heavens that there was no love triangle in this novel. It would have ruined the novel for me that is. I didn’t not like how some of the characters in the novel tried to ship Jackaby and Abigail, I did roll my eyes during those parts. Jackaby and Abigail make an awesome team, I loved their friendship. The only two characters that developed some feelings for each other were Abigail and Charlie Cane. I did want to them together, but it’s okay that they did not become a couple. I would like to see the author wrote more stories about Jackaby. The novel is relatively easy to read and it is only 299 pages long. I would recommend this novel for anyone wanting to read a short mystery book with a hint of fantasy. For a standalone novel, I thought it was really good and I would really love more of Jackaby’s adventures. My rating is a 4 out of 5 😀