Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (#231): Busted by Gina Ciocca


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week, I'm featuring:


Busted by Gina Ciocca
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: January 1, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

Marisa wasn’t planning to be a snoop for hire—until she accidentally caught her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. Now her reputation for sniffing out cheaters has spread all over school, and Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

But when ex-frenemy Kendall asks her to spy on her boyfriend, TJ, Marisa quickly discovers the girl TJ might be falling for is Marisa herself. And worse yet? The feelings are quickly becoming mutual. Now, she’s stuck spying on a “mystery girl” and the spoken-for guy who just might be the love of her life…



This sounds like it could be cute! Well, the fact that the protagonist is falling for someone else's boyfriend makes me sad (more so the fact that the boyfriend is falling for Marisa?), but I'm curious enough to want to see how things pan out!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Highland Hellion by Mary Wine

Welcome to the blog tour for Highland Hellion by Mary Wine! This is the third book in the Highland Weddings series, and it is fantastic. Check it out below!



About the Book:


Highland Hellion by Mary Wine
Book Three of the Highland Weddings series
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

KATHERINE CAREW:
· Illegitimate daughter of an English earl
· Abducted to Scotland at age 14
· No family, no reputation...
· No rules

ROLFE MCTAVISH:
· Heir to an honorable Highland laird
· Can’t believe how well tomboy Kate can fight
· About to learn how much of a woman she really is

Scotland is seething with plots, the vengeful Gordons are spoiling for a fight, and the neighboring clans are at each other’s throats. All it takes is a passionate hellion with a penchant for reckless adventure to ignite the Highlands once more.



Check out the series:

    


Don't miss the next book, Highland Flame!



About the Author:


Acclaimed author Mary Wine has written over 30 works of Scottish Highland romance, romantic suspense and erotic romance. An avid history-buff and historical costumer, she and her family enjoy participating in historical reenactments. Mary lives in Yorba Linda, California with her husband and two sons.  



The Excerpt:

Katherine made sure the straps of her saddle were tight. She took a great deal of pleasure in the fact that she knew as much about preparing a horse for riding as every one of the men surrounding her. That would certainly not be the case if she’d been raised in England.

Her old life was only a memory now, hidden behind her adventures in the Highlands. She smiled as she recalled the many things she’d done at Robert’s side while disguised as a boy. She gripped the side of the saddle, making ready to mount.

But a hard hand dug into the back of her jerkin and lifted her into the air.

“What?” Katherine was startled, or she wouldn’t have spoken because her English accent persisted. More than one head turned in her direction as she landed and found herself looking up into the eyes of Marcus MacPherson, war chief of Clan MacPherson.

“I told her she should nae go.” Robert was quick to assign blame to her.

Marcus had braced himself between her and the horse. The war chief was huge and stood considering her from a position she’d seen too many times to count while she trained under his command in the yard. Of course, he thought she was a boy, which made Robert’s choice of words very bad.

Very, very bad.

“You clearly did nae tell her firmly enough.” Marcus shifted his full attention to Robert. “There will be a reckoning owed when we return, sure enough.”

Robert bristled as more men came to witness his chastisement. “She’s the one who will no’ listen to good sense.”

“Agreed,” Marcus said. “Which is why ye should have pulled her off her horse as I just did, since it was you who brought her into me training yard six years ago.”

Katherine gasped. She hated the way the sound came across her lips because it was so…well, so feminine. The men were frowning at her, clearly disapproving.

She shook her head and leveled her chin. “I have trained, and I am as good as many a man standing here.”

“Ye are a woman,” Marcus stated clearly. “And ye do nae belong riding out with us when we are going to needle the Gordons.”

“It isn’t a real raid,” Katherine protested, but she kept her tone civil. She would always respect Marcus for teaching her to defend herself. “Just a bit of fun.”

“Aye,” Marcus agreed. “And yet, not as simple as that. Men get their blood up when they are testing one another’s nerve. It is no place for a woman, even less so for a maiden.”

“Ye see?” Robert said. “I told ye.”

“But ye did nae make certain she could nae venture into danger. That’s the difference between a lad and a man.” Marcus spoke softly, which only gave his words more weight. “It’s past time for ye”—he pointed at Robert—“to recognize that a little lass like Katherine has more to lose if our luck does nae hold. As a MacPherson retainer, I expect ye to make sure the women are taken care of. That’s the real reason they respect us, no’ simply for the sake of our gender.”

Marcus shifted his attention back to Katherine, and she felt the weight of his disapproval. “Ye could be raped and ruined.”

“My reputation is already ruined because I am here,” Katherine protested.

“That is no’ the same thing at all,” Marcus informed her in a steely voice. “And I hope to Christ ye never discover the truth of the matter. For tonight, ye’ll take yerself back inside, and I will deal with ye when I return.”

Marcus’s word was law on MacPherson land. Only his father and his brother, Bhaic, might argue with him, and Katherine wasn’t dense enough to think either of them would disagree. So she lowered her chin and bit her lip. It earned her a soft grunt from Marcus before he moved back toward his horse.

Then the muttering started.

“English chit…”

“More trouble than we need…”

“Damned English always think themselves better than Scots…”

Men she’d thought of as friends suddenly turned traitor, calling her “English” as though she had only recently arrived on their land.

She’d truly thought her feelings dead when it came to the subject of her blood. The rush of hurt flooding her proved her wrong.


The Giveaway:

Two bundles of Mary Wine’s Highland Weddings series (3 books)

Release Day Blitz and Giveaway: Forbidden Promises by Katee Robert


Welcome to the release day blitz for Forbidden Promises by Katee Robert! Today is the publication day, so you can get this book now. Enjoy!


My review:

You can read my review of this book HERE! The publisher sent a galley in advance, and I couldn't resist. I absolutely loved the book! Possibly my favorite in the series (tied with The Marriage Contract). :D

My other reviews of the O'Malleys series --

The Marriage Contract | The Wedding Pact | An Indecent Proposal


About the Book:


Forbidden Promises by Katee Robert
Book Four of the O'Malleys series
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: May 30, 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

All Sloan O’Malley ever wanted was a simple life—and now she’s finally got it. She’s left everything behind in Boston—her family, her money, even her name—and set herself up in a tiny seaside town in Oregon. What she doesn’t plan for? Her mysterious and painfully attractive neighbor, Jude.

Jude MacNamara has been many things in his life—pampered son of a prestigious family, only surviving heir to a lost legacy, hit man—but now he’s out for revenge on the man responsible for the death of his father and brothers—Colm Sheridan. He’s tracking Colm’s sister when he encounters Sloan living with her in her beach house. He’s a patient hunter and he’s willing to sit back and wait for his prey...he just doesn’t expect for this woman to give rise to emotions he hasn’t felt in years.

He doesn’t want to see Sloan hurt, but in order to protect her, he will have to turn his back on the one thing he’s spent his life pursuing—revenge. Even then, there’s no guarantee either one of them will make it out alive.



Check out the previous books:




Praise for The O’Malleys Series:

"It can be hard to make a ruthless assassin into a sympathetic character, but Robert handles the task with ease. She also deftly shows Sloan’s transformation from a pampered and protected naรฏf to a strong woman with a backbone of pure steel. A tension-filled plot full of deceit, betrayal, and sizzling love scenes will make it impossible for readers to set the book down."—Publishers Weekly on FORBIDDEN PROMISES

“You will finish it in one sitting and die after you’re done because the next book isn't out yet. This was one sexy ride!”—Reviewer Top Pick, Night Owl Reviews on FORBIDDEN PROMISES

“Two story lines end up converging into one explosive finale at the end.  A great read from the talented Robert!” —RT Book Reviews

“Katee Robert's has created a fictional underworld of such veracity, that one almost expects the characters to turn up on the front-page news. It never feels over the top or implausible; the author writes extremely well-crafted stories… The romance between Cillian and Olivia is very beautiful, tender and real.”—Fresh Fiction on AN INDECENT PROPOSAL

“Will keep you turning pages.”—RT Book Reviews on THE WEDDING PACT

“If you like angsty reads, this book is right up your wheelhouse.”—Heroes & Heartbreakers on THE WEDDING PACT

"Dark, dirty, and dead sexy."—Tiffany Reisz, bestselling author of The Original Sinners series, on THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT


About the Author:



New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it 'a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension."  When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.



The Excerpt:

“I won’t hurt you, Sloan. I promise.”

There was no logical reason for her to trust him, but he’d been careful with her up to this point. Perhaps he’d be careful with her with what came next. She nodded mutely, watching as he rolled on a condom that he’d retrieved from his pocket. Her body hummed in anticipation and trepidation, but she didn’t let it show as he moved back to join her on the bed.

Jude palmed her between her legs, his big fingers exploring her. It didn’t seem possible that he could spark pleasure with a few specific touches, but it didn’t take much to have her relaxing, letting him once again take the lead. He kissed her neck. “Feels good, huh?”

“Well, I—oh.” Her eyes went wide when he pushed a second finger into her. It stretched her, the feeling not entirely pleasant at first, but he merely waited, pulsing the slightest bit, until pleasure took hold once more. She clutched his shoulders. “Kiss me again. Please.”

“You don’t have to ask twice.” He took her mouth like he owned it—like he owned every part of her. Jude slid between her legs, his body rubbing deliciously against hers. His hard length slid through her wetness, creating a friction that sparked a tide of desire deep inside her. Again? I couldn’t possibly…

He nipped her bottom lip and then soothed the slight ache with his tongue. “Ready?”

There was no mistaking his meaning. She nodded. Despite the earlier orgasm and how good it felt to have him moving against her, she was so incredibly empty. Instinct had her hooking a leg around his hips and arching up to meet him, needing more, so much more.

Jude reached between them, and then he was at her entrance. He kissed her, tongue twining with hers as he pushed into her, just a single inch. It was too much and not enough and she couldn’t help but thrash, pinned in place by his big body, overwhelmed by her helplessness and what he was doing to her. “Jude, I—”

“Shh. I’ve got you.” He rolled, taking her with him. One second she was on her back, finding it hard to breathe, and the next she was straddling him where he sat with his back against the headboard.

Sloan looked down, daunted by the sheer size of him. “I don’t know if this is going to work. You’re too big.”

He laughed, deep and full-throated, the sound rolling through her like the tide. “You can take every inch of me, sunshine. I promise you that.”

Copyright © 2017 Katee Robert


The Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 29, 2017

Review: A Most Unlikely Duke by Sophie Barnes


A Most Unlikely Duke by Sophie Barnes
Book One of the Diamonds in the Rough series
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

He never thought he'd become a duke, or that the secrets of his past would cost him his greatest love... 

Raphe Matthews hasn’t stepped foot in polite circles since a tragedy left his once-noble family impoverished and in debt. The bare-knuckle boxer has spent the last fifteen years eking out an existence for himself and his two sisters. But when a stunning reversal of fortune lands Raphe the title of Duke of Huntley, he’s determined to make a go of becoming a proper lord, but he’ll need a little help, and his captivating neighbor might be just the woman for the job…

After her sister’s scandalous match, Lady Gabriella knows the ton’s eyes are on her. Agreeing to tutor the brutish new duke can only lead to ruin. Although she tries to control her irresistible attraction to Raphe, every day she spends with him only deepens her realization that this may be the one man she cannot do without. And as scandal threatens to envelop them both, she must decide if she can risk everything for love with a most unlikely duke.

What I Liked:

I've read five of Sophie Barnes' previous books, and I think it is safe to say that this is my favorite of hers. Or perhaps this book is tied with The Trouble with Being a Duke, which was the first Barnes book I'd read. I'd been looking forward to reading A Most Unlikely Duke since Barnes announced the book's publication on her social media, and she did a post on the cover photo-shoot. I knew this would be a historical romance novel for me and I am so glad that it did not disappoint!

Raphe Matthews and his two younger sisters have lived by themselves in the slums of St. Giles for fifteen years. Raphe took up bare-knuckle boxing in order to pay off a debt his father left, and to take care of his sisters. One day, just after he accepts a deal to fight the best bare-knuckle fighter known to this underground business, Raphe receives an official letters from the solicitors of the Duke of Huntley... due to deaths and succession, Raphe is the new Duke of Huntley. He moves his sisters to the Huntley properties, but it's obvious that they won't fit in, given their mannerisms, speech, and disdain for society and the ton. But their neighbor, Lady Gabriella, is determined to see the girls succeed. Her older sister was a perfect lady but ran off with an American businessman. So Gabriella, once an awkward, bug-loving girl, must be the paragon of the ton. But she knows how it feels to be ostracized, and she won't let down down the new duke's sisters. But she doesn't expect to fall for the new duke himself, despite her resolve to stay away from him. Marrying into a family with a good reputation and lineage has always been her parents' goal for her, but Gabriella isn't so sure that she wants that. What she realizes is that she wants Raphe, rough background and all. 

I'd been looking forward to reading this new book by Barnes, not only because she's a familiar Avon author, or because the cover is stunning (it really is!). The synopsis sounded fantastic! A rags-to-riches story with a young noblewoman helping the family find their footing and inevitably falling in love with the new young duke? Yes, please!

When I started reading the book, I grew a little uncertain, because of Gabriella's marriage situation. For Gabriella, the story starts with her and Fielding, the young earl who is courting her. Gabriella's parents have doubled her dowry, and Fielding has taken an interest in her. It is clear that Fielding and Gabriella's parents expect things to end in a marriage contract and a wedding. But Gabriella feels stifled by Fielding, and by her parents. Usually this sort of plot would bother me (in which the female protagonist is "engaged" or is courted by another). But it was so clear that Gabriella really did not want to interact with Fielding, and that she was forcing herself to be civil, because she knew how much this match meant to her parents and her family's reputation. 

Basically, the involvement with Fielding was very little, because he had no romantic or sexual interest in Gabriella, and vice versa. On the other hand, as soon as Gabriella saw Raphe, even in his disheveled state, she was intrigued. Their first meeting was a little embarrassing for Gabriella and hilarious for Raphe.

Gabriella is a sweetheart, and so kind to the new duke and his sisters. Despite her parents warning her not to go to her new neighbors, she does so every day, to teach Amelia and Juliette how to comport themselves. And of course, she and Raphe collide and bicker. Gabriella is not a perfect, beautiful lady like she is trying to be - she is more intelligent and a little odd, compared to what society would force her to be. She and Raphe are a lovely pair.

There is only one sex scene in this book (BOOOO), but the chemistry between Raphe and Gabriella is very obvious and yet subtle. They get along very well (even with the initial bickering), and they grow to care for each other very deeply. But they have a lot of tension between them, which I'd been waiting... and waiting... and waiting, to see it all explode. That would be my one complaint - not enough sex scenes!

I loved the bond between Raphe and his sisters - it's a healthy and strong bond. Usually younger sisters are made out to be pompous, bratty, and irritating, in historical romance novels. In this book, Amelia and Juliette are quiet and kind, yet lively and spirited. They are also very respectful of Raphe and very aware of all that he has given up and done for him. They're about as old as Gabriella (i.e. not super young, but not terribly old either), and all three ladies become good friends.

This book has a lot going on, besides the budding romance between Raphe and Gabriella. Raphe and his sisters try desperately to fit into society, though most of the ton won't have them. And then there is Raphe's questionable past as a bare-knuckle boxer - what will happen when polite society finds out that its newest duke used to fight for money? And the deal that Raphe made - will he go through with it, as the new Duke of Huntley? Barnes really covers the whole nine yards in this book - nothing that was brought up in the beginning is left to be forgotten.

The ending is quite a good one! Raphe deserves his happily-ever-after for sure. Everything came together a little too neatly but I'm not going to complain because I'm just happy that Raphe is happy with Gabriella. I can't wait to see cameos from them in subsequent books!

What I Did Not Like:

Like I said, the only thing I would complain about is the lack of sex! There is only one sex scene in the book - at the very end, and it is so brief. Booo! Maybe I'm spoiled? I feel like most Avon-published historical romance novels that I've read have more than one sex scene (and that first sex scene is usually, errr, pretty detailed). More sex is (almost) never bad!

Would I Recommend It:

If you like historical romance novels, then this is a good one to try! I feel like I haven't been reading as many as I used to, so I couldn't tell you too many others that have published already for the year that I liked (maybe Mary Wine's Highland Weddings books that published in 2017 - those are good. Scottish historical romance though, not Regency.). In any case, this book was very good and hey, if you're not a huge fan of sex in romance novels (you like the sweeter/swoonier books versus the sexier ones), then this is definitely one for you!

Rating:

4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. Still a good rating and still a good that I would highly recommend! With that beautiful cover, and a beautiful story to match, you can't go wrong. Watching Raphe and Gabriella fall for each other was so sweet and I kind of want to reread this book already!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Review: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent


Spectacle by Rachel Vincent
Book Two of the Menagerie series
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

In this riveting sequel to New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent's acclaimed novel Menagerie, Delilah Marlow will discover that there is no crueler cage than the confines of the human mind…

When their coup of Metzger's Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of "exotic wildlife." Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle's owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price. 

But Vandekamp's closely guarded client list isn't the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.

What I Liked:

Let me say two things before I start my commentary: (1) This book is not bad, and I think it will be very successful and a good addition to the series. Please read my full thoughts before jumping to the conclusion of "Alyssa gave the book three stars so it must not be good!". (2) This review might be shorter than usual because my thoughts and feelings on this book are not going to be an accurate reflection of the book's quality. Usually I write my reviews based on technical aspects and categories (character development, plot, world-building, etc.), but I don't think I can construct a fair review based on those items, based on my physical reaction to this book. You'll see what I mean.

Actually, this review is going to be somewhat similar to my review of Menagerie. I thought that book was good, well-written, but I suffered as I was reading it. Like Menagerie, there are cruel and disgusting aspects of this book. Unlike Menagerie, or compared to Menagerie, the cruel and disgusting aspects get worse, in Spectacle

In essence, Delilah and the Menagerie gang get kidnapped and forced into the Savage Spectacle, which is different from the Menagerie. The Savage Spectacle is cleaner with better conditions... yet, worse conditions. Each cryptid is outfitted with a collar that has needles that go directly into the spine, which can sense neural and hormonal impulses. Every impulse, action, even thought is controlled. Worse - the Spectacle is all about private engagements and satisfying clients with cryptid fetishes. Yep. Reread that again and imagine what I'm talking about.

Vincent did an amazing job with this story - I can't imagine it having been easy to write. Every disgusting act, every choice taken away, every forced action - I hated all of it but I can't deny that everything was well-written and not without its place. 

I adored Delilah, and Gallager, and the crew. I hated what was done to them, but I loved seeing their strength and self-preservation win out. 

No romance in this book, though there are some... odd things that happen. 

In general, it's a sequel that will rip you apart and hurt you, but it is a good book.

What I Did Not Like:

There are so many things wrong with this story, I can't even begin to list them even if I wanted to (but I won't, because of spoilers). Notice I'm talking about the story and not the book (note the distinction). Vincent is shining a light on some gruesome and horrible topics, and I take no issue with that. Sort of. 

I think my problem is that I hated everything that happened in this book, and I didn't - couldn't - enjoy the story. There are no trigger warnings, nothing to help someone decide if this is a book for them. Let me just say: there is rape in this book. There is lack of consent. There is sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Wills (willpower) are taken, choices are taken, freedom is taken. A person's body is not their own, physically, mentally, or in a reproductive way. Loss of memory, loss of control, loss of the ability to communicate - the story is filled with these things.

Can you imagine? 

I needed warnings. Put yourself in the shoes of a rape survivor, or sexual abuse survivor. This book is disturbing and horrifying - as it is meant to be! - and I could not enjoy it. I do not begrudge anyone their high rating or praise of this book, but I couldn't enjoy this story. I recognize that it is not the book itself that should be put down - but I'm being honest here: I hated the story. 


Three stars, because it's not the book, it's the actions and behaviors that exist in this world and should not be ignored. But, three stars, because I could not stomach this story. Call me whatever name you want, but I couldn't do it. Yes, I finished the book. Yes, I know, all of the things in this book exist (in some way) in real life. 

In Menagerie, I sort of got used to the "disturbing" aspects of the story. In Spectacle? Everything was one hundred times worse. Menagerie seemed just barely disturbing compared to Spectacle. So there was no way for me to "get used to anything", to become desensitized.

Would I Recommend It:

I do not recommend Spectacle. I do not recommend Menagerie. These are not easy books to read, and honestly they get worse and worse in terms of graphic content. Worse NOT in terms of the quality of the storytelling, but worse in terms of what the characters have to experience and face. Call me a snowflake, call me fragile, I don't care - these books are not for everyone. Definitely (unfortunately) not for me. I thought I could handle it with Menagerie, but clearly I was wrong with Spectacle. I can't finish this series. I can't think about how bad book three will be.

Don't take my word for it though, if you've already read Menagerie and you're really interested in this book. But if you haven't read Menagerie, think about what you'll be reading before you start the book. Message or email me with questions, if you want. Although I have to say, I'm going to be trying really hard to forget what I read, in both books.

Rating:

3 stars. I honestly don't know how to rate and review this book, because it's me and my thoughts/opinions that I'm writing about, and not necessary technical aspects (writing, world-building, character development, etc.). I rarely write this type of review (based on my thoughts/opinions alone), but I'm so shaken and unsettled, and I really don't know how to write this review any other way. Hopefully I've conveyed something useful to any reader of this reviewer. I'm not trying to tear down the author or this book - but I am trying to warn any reader who, like me, shouldn't be reading this book but don't know that they shouldn't be, because they don't know enough information about the book (see above, about warnings). 


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (#231)


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!


So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, May 21st to Saturday, May 27th?


(all links to Goodreads are provided!)


In the mail:



Unsolicited shiny hardcovers - thank you, Knopf, S&S, and Tor Teen!



My preordered copies are finally here! I am in love. :D You can check out my review of Flame in the Mist HERE.



A welcome surprise from Scholastic! Thank you so much. I've adored all of West's previous novels!



AYYY! Thank you, Katherine! Now my set is complete! Pictures to follow - I need to do a photo-shoot with all five Cashore ARCs. :D


From NetGalley:



Thank you, Julianna and NetGalley! I'm nervous but excited to read this book. I've read five of her previous books and enjoyed them all, so I'm hoping this one is no different!


Sooooooooo I graduated on Wednesday! As promised, I posted pictures. I may do a full blog post, but for now, enjoy what I posted on Twitter!




Thank you so much for your support, whether from one day ago, or for all four years, or since I began blogging midway through my senior year of high school. ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

Friday, May 26, 2017

Review: Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill


Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the author

Summary (from Goodreads):

A young, street-savvy runaway looking for a place to call home realized he might have conned his way into the wrong family in this fast-paced and thrilling novel from award-winning author Cristin Terrill.

When ten-year-old Daniel Tate went missing from one of California's most elite communities, he left no trace. He simply vanished.

Six years later, when he resurfaces on a snowy street in Vancouver, he's no longer the same boy. His sandy hair is darker, the freckles are gone, and he's initially too traumatized to speak, but he's alive. His overjoyed family brings him home to a world of luxury and comfort he can barely remember. In time, they assure him, he'll recover his memories; all that matters now is they're together again. 

It's perfect. A miracle. Except for one thing.

He isn't Daniel Tate.

He's a petty con artist who accidentally stumbled into the scam of a lifetime, and he soon learns he's not the only one in the Tate household with something to hide. The family has as many secrets as they have millions in the bank, and one of them might be ready to kill to keep the worst one buried.

What I Liked:

This book was trippy! It's a thriller and mystery novel, though it sort of reads as a psychological thriller (maybe it is one?). We have an unreliable narrator here, in the form of "Daniel Tate" who isn't actually Daniel Tate. I really enjoyed this book, though I want more. I couldn't believe it, when it ended!

Our protagonist, "Daniel Tate", isn't actually Daniel Tate. One day, to escape some trouble at a shelter for homeless kids, he gets into a tough spot, and he decides to impersonate a boy who has been missing for six years - Daniel Tate. This boy was ten at the time, the fourth child of a very rich family. It's the perfect scam for our protagonist, especially since he and Daniel would be around the same age, and their appearances are pretty similar. The family seems to welcome him back, though his mother and second older brother are a bit hostile. But as each day passes, he begins to realize that things are a little too perfect, and that he is in too deep to leave again. Things in this household are not as they seem, and something big is building up, waiting to explode. 

Here Lies Daniel Tate is nothing like All Our Yesterdays, a book that I read and loved several years ago. The two books are so different, yet equally as strong standalone novels. It's a true mark of an author's creativity, when he/she can write across different genres, and he/she does it well.

First, can I talk about the title of this book? I love it so much. It implies death - "here lies ___" is a phrase associated with death and cemeteries and tombstones. BUT. It is perfect because our protagonist, "Danny", is not actually Danny Tate, and he is such a liar. So it's like, here (at this place) lies (not telling the truth) Daniel Tate (not Daniel Tate). I love it!

I don't know what to call the protagonist other than "Danny", because we never find out his real name. The first thirty or so pages of the book show Danny's life in Vancouver, how he is homeless and destitute, living off help from shelters and temporary homes with other homeless boys. But it doesn't last, because he gets into some trouble at one place. He does a little research and decides to impersonate Daniel Tate, at least for a little bit, until he can run again. But things get a little out of hand when the family of Daniel Tate believe him, take him in, and completely integrate him into their lives. Danny is a petty con artist by circumstance, forced to survive in any way he can, but he didn't plan for everything to go so far. 

Danny is a hard character to crack. We know from the start that he isn't Daniel Tate - we get to see exactly how he "chose" Daniel Tate, but we don't really get to know much about him. He is a good actor, and a skilled liar. He looks out for himself, but as the story goes on, he finds that he can't just walk away from this family.

The family is made of four siblings (not including Daniel) and Jessica, their mother. Patrick and Lex are from Jessica's first marriage, and Nicholas, Daniel, and Mia are from her second marriage. Patrick and Lex are both in their twenties; Patrick is a lawyer and handles all of the legal work for Danny's return, and Lex is a 24-year-old on-and-off college student who is a stand-in mother for Danny, since Jessica is not interested in being anyone's mother. Mia is eight (I think?) and the cutest and most accepting sibling. Nicholas is seventeen and it's clear that he doesn't like Danny. Despite that, familial relationships are pretty important in this book (and not just in the way you think), even if Danny isn't actually related to any of these people.The family is dysfunctional at best, but Danny grows to care about each family member. 

Until things take a dark turn.

I won't share too many details about the rest of the story (which is about half or more). I don't want to spoil a thing, because it is rather twisted and I was guessing wrong the whole time. I love how Terrill set things up that way! I'm impressed by how well the mystery aspect of the story was constructed. And how much I grew to like many of the characters - that was surprising, because each one of them had something to hide.

Romance takes a backseat in this book, and so it's there but not really. Danny meets a girl and they hang out from time to time. Ren is really cool and a little odd in her own way, but I like how free-spirited she is. I wish the romance had gone deeper or further, but at the same time, I like that the author didn't take it further. It makes sense, given who "Danny" is.

The ending does not disappoint, in that it is just as trippy as the whole book! Seriously, you will be just as surprised and perplexed. Read the book to find out what I mean!

What I Did Not Like:

No real complaints from me! This book is very different compared to my usual, and I liked it a lot!

Would I Recommend It:

If you're into thrillers and mystery novels, this is a good one! It's a combination of both and it will leave you questioning everything. Danny is the most unreliable narrator I've ever come across, which was amusing, rather than frustrating. Like I said above, this isn't my usual type of read, but I liked it and I wouldn't mind reading more books like this!

Rating:

4 stars. I wonder what the author will come up with next! I'm still hoping for a sequel to All Our Yesterdays, but I'm actually not crying for a sequel to this book. Given the ending, I think this book works really well as a standalone. But I think I need more Terrill stories!


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