I Do Not Trust You (Laura J Burns & Melinda Metz)

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Buy link:
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Memphis “M” Engle is stubborn to a fault, graced with an almost absurd knowledge of long lost languages and cultures, and a heck of an opponent in a fight. In short: she’s awesome.

Ashwin Sood is a little too posh for her tastes, a member of an ancient cult (which she’s pretty sure counts for more than one strike against him), and has just informed Memphis that her father who she thought was dead isn’t and needs her help. 

From the catacombs of Paris to lost temples in the sacred forests, together they crisscross the globe, searching for the pieces of the one thing that might save her father. But the closer they come to saving him—and the more they fall for one another—the closer they get to destroying the world.


I feel as if I should have liked this book more than I actually did. Not to mention that this book was not what I thought it would be (that is of course my fault), but then I think about the books that are similar to this one that I did like (like Six of Crows, The Wrath and the Dawn, etc.) and realized that I Do Not Trust You just fell short for me in the long run. It wasn’t me, it was the book.

Memphis, or “M” as her friends and family call her, was like a modern day (and female) Indiana Jones. The concept of the story was fascinating and overall creative in many ways but the book got really repetitive and monotonous. By the halfway mark I was tired of reading the same thing over and over by the half-way point but still kept pushing on. Some of the dialogue even seemed repetitive to me.

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One thing I was not happy with was the many plot holes. This seems to be a peeve of mine in a lot of books because I find myself unhappy and dissatisfied whenever I read a book and I’m left hanging with lots of scenarios that never even get touched on. I can keep up with a lot of stuff, I promise! so please don’t ever be afraid to answer the many burning questions that arise throughout your book! I can’t really say what they were without spoiling, so if you read this book, PLEASE let me know your thoughts on this!

Memphis was a fun character. She was witty and driven and knew just what she wanted and what she needed to get it done. But that was about it. She stayed the same the entire way through. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it was just kind of on the flat side to me. I think the book would have had some added excitement had the author put more into the character development side of this story.

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Maybe this book just wasn’t a very character driven book and there is nothing wrong with that. I just tend to enjoy those type of books more. There was no character growth and a lot of the things between the characters felt forced which in return led to no connection to me as a reader and them as a character.

I Do Not Trust You was a fun read and unlike anything that I have read in a while, but while it was fun it lacked in many departments such as plot holes, character development, and repetitive plots. The writing was good and the concept of the story was better, the execution just wasn’t there for me.

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Idle (Fisher Amelie)

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Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2mWuWTX

Stop. Leave me to my devices and go away. Just get off my back already, all right? You don’t know me, don’t know my situation. You don’t know the town I live in, the people I live with, the friends I own. Don’t hold me to your standards. Stop expecting the best from me. I’ve never been given the tools to be her.

So let me alone. Life’s easy when nothing expects so little of you. Easy is what I crave. Easy is what I do best. Let the world weep. What good could I possibly do them anyhow? Follow my lead and close your eyes. It’s effortless.

Stop asking about me. I’m okay with being no one, a nobody. I’m comfortable with this stagnant life.There’s nothing I stand to lose. I’ve taken no risks.

Life can’t be changed by simply doing nothing.

Can it?

I’m Lily Hahn and this is the story of how I went from a life of hollow nothing to a life of exhaustive agony and why I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.


“People are consistent, Lily. People favor patterns because it’s what they know. Your life can be changed by simply doing nothing.” 

I think the more and more books that I read, the more I appreciate the slow build. The observing of relationships growing from friends to soulmates. The books that aren’t completely based around the romantic relationships that could blossom right out the gate. The book that focuses on so much more than someone loving the girl and someone loving the boy. Idle was perfect in that retrospect. Idle was so much more than a story about a boy and a girl and I absolutely loved that. 

“Salinger was a very bright, beautiful light. I could admit it openly to myself, at least. I thought if I could admit it, maybe I could also live within those parameters.”

In my own personal opinion, Salinger made this whole book. He was gentle, patient, kind, and helpful in all the right ways that Lily needed him to be. The only thing that would have made this better, was MORE about him. I wanted more about what made Salinger well, Salinger. And sadly we don’t get a lot of that. 

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Fisher Amelie never fails to amaze me with her ability to write a fascinating story that teaches so many lessons. She also writes character growth unlike anyone I have ever read before. She doesn’t necessarily give them “redemption” but she always makes her characters work for their changes and Lily Hahn was no exception. Just watch. 

Lily grew tremendously in all kinds of departments. She fought and clawed her way out of scenarios and situations that most people struggle eternally to climb out of. To me- that’s an amazing thing to witness. We get to watch Lily bloom every step of the way. 

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Idle was a story about growth, rebuilding, and finding out the person you can actually be if you work for it. I loved the slow burn with the quick paced story line that kept my pages turning. I’ve been waiting years for this book and IMO, Fisher didn’t let me down. But I knew she wouldn’t 😉 

“What do you want?” I asked him. “I want action.” He breathed deeply through his nose. “I’m tired of idle, tired of those who blow their smoke, tired of doubt. Get up.” He whispered. “You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be the best at everything you do, don’t have to be flawless, but you do have to try. Just try. Even if trying yields you nothing, keep moving before you petrify, Lily.” 

The Last Time I Lied (Riley Sager)

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Buy link:
https://amzn.to/2mFcUoS

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.



“Sometimes a lie is more than just a lie. Sometimes it’s the only way to win.”
 

As someone who enjoyed The Final Girls, I was really anxious to see what Riley Sager would do next. The Last Time I Lied didn’t disappoint but it also wasn’t quite what I was looking for.

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The first part of the book started off really slow, which took me the longest to get through. But once I got to the end of part 1, I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Until I got to the last 15%, which I will touch on at the end of this review. I really enjoyed getting to know the girls, both past and present but I felt like there was a huge gap in the plot that I was missing.

I loved the setting of this entire book. It was my favorite thing about this entire book. The creepy and eerie summer camp feel was enough to keep me on the edge of my seat. I loved the tone that the author was setting up and Riley’s writing is one of the few male writing that I enjoy. His writing seemed to match the campy feel of the book and I really liked that.

The twist(s) were just okay in my opinion. They weren’t shocking, but they were really out there. Almost unrealistic. Very unbelievable. I had a hard time grasping all of that was actually happening. I know that I can’t be alone in that, right?

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The book as a whole gets a three-star rating because the last 15% of the book was just too much for me. It was almost annoying the way things were playing out between the characters. The Last Time I Lied was definitely a campy and semi-thrilling read. Once you push past the first part, it’s all smooth sailing, I think that you will have a hard time wanting to stop or put the book down.

Peony Red (J Lynn Bailey)

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Three years ago, Alex Fisher lost her husband and since then, she hasn’t been able to find her stride. She’s out of a job, out of time, and running on fumes. When she receives a personal invitation to visit the picturesque town of Granite Harbor, Maine, she jumps at the chance to start fresh.

For game warden Eli Young, life is simpler when he’s exploring the back roads of Maine. In the north woods, he doesn’t have to deal with town politics or his soon-to-be ex-wife. But a chance meeting with a brokenhearted newcomer leaves him tangled. He should walk away—except, now that he’s met her, he can’t turn back.
When a young woman goes missing in town, tensions rise, and everyone becomes a suspect. Eli doesn’t think things can get any more complicated…until a picture of Alex is discovered at a gruesome crime scene.

In a town where trust is hard to come by and ghosts from the past haunt its citizens in the broad light of day, the question isn’t whether Eli and Alex can save what’s left of their hearts…but whether they’ll live to see tomorrow.


”Allow yourself the space and tears. Because, if we’re not done crying, we’re not done grieving.”

I just love stories like this. The small town feels, the vivid sceneries, and the little hometown feelings that you get from the personable characters within the book. Peony Red was an adorable, heartfelt, and mystery filled book that had me turning the pages as quickly as I could. 

I liked the hints of mystery that J Lynn Bailey placed within the story. It wasn’t just about two people falling in love, which was incredible all in its own but the way she intertwined more to the story was done diligently and very well. 

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Another thing I really loved was the way the beginning of the story played into the book. When I read the first chapter I was like “how is this even going to fit in?” Well, it does. IT DOES. And I love when the prologue matches the story line the author is writing. LOVE IT. 

My only peeve with a lot of books is probably really minor to others but to me it makes me skim.  A lot. And that is when books are repetitive when there are dual POVs and the same scene is told through both POVs. It didn’t happen with every chapter, which I was thankful for but when it did happen I felt like it happened for no reason. Sometimes authors write this way so you can experience what the other main character is feeling at the same time, but I wasn’t desperate to know these things in this situation. 

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“We all have our own stories—perhaps some baggage that comes along with it, too—but the one thing we can all rely on will always be one another. I’ve learned that here, in Granite Harbor. I’ve also found that, if you take a chance and eat the lettuce, it will all be worth it.”

Not only was Peony Red romantic and about two characters finding themselves it was super informative. I enjoy Back Woods Law and thought that the author did a fantastic job at educating reader on the life of a game warden and even through in some educational tid-bits I had never known until now. 

My curiosity is also piqued on the secondary characters, great job J Lynn Bailey! I cannot wait to see what comes next with all of these characters! 

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Peony Red is a great slow burn, romance book that will have just enough twists and turns included that you won’t get tired of.

”Grief can define us, if we allow it to. Don’t let it get in the way of what you can do, what you’re capable of.” I pause.”

Foe (Iain Reid)

In Iain Reid’s second haunting, philosophical puzzle of a novel, set in the near-future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with alarming news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm…very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Henrietta won’t have a chance to miss him, because she won’t be left alone—not even for a moment. Henrietta will have company. Familiar company.

Told in Reid’s sharp and evocative style, Foe examines the nature of domestic relationships, self-determination, and what it means to be (or not to be) a person. An eerily entrancing page-turner, it churns with unease and suspense from the first words to its shocking finale.


“This is what we desire as humans—security, certainty, affirmation.”

Iain Reid’s writing knocks me on my feet every time. The poignant, sharp, and cutthroat writing in Foe was no exception. His books (although he only has two) always seem to have the same sort of pattern. They carry a theme and a purpose. Not many books consistently do that anymore. And after sitting here thinking about all of the above in Foe, I’m completely blown away.

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The plot of this story was the most gripping thing for me in this book. It was interesting and piqued my interest from the start. The depth of it really didn’t set in with me, though until I finished the book. I laid there and stared at my ceiling and literally thought “wow, that was deep.” Because it is. Human nature, relationships, our day to day lives. The things that happen in this book really struck me as interesting because these are our lives that we live day to day.

“Despair is never satisfied on its own. Despair does not want to be alone. Despair wants company. But I feel no despair. Not now. Not going forward.”

Touching on Iain’s writing a little bit because well, I love it. He has this way of making you feel unsettled and completely on edge. I don’t know if it’s the tone of his writing or just the sentence structures and settings that he works with but I’m blown away by every page that I turn. Just like in I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Iain makes sure you are left feeling the least amount of comfort that he can while still following a story line that leaves you wondering and grasping for more.

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For such a short novel- Iain sure has a way to provide you with just the right amount information while still allowing you to use your own mind and not manipulating you in any way. He doesn’t take from you, only gives you what you need to decipher what you want how you want it.

Foe was such a unique story. It was reflective and it really made you think. I really appreciated the book for those reasons alone. The way Iain reflected relationships and human nature captivated me from the get go. I have so many questions and for once that’s a good thing. I love the endless possibilities.

“What constitutes normalcy? I think if you asked fifty people, you’d get fifty different answers. There would, undoubtedly, be some congruities. But who decides what’s normal? Where does the line of regularity fall? I have time to consider this type of metaphysical conundrum now because I’m here in my house all alone. I have the time, space, and a renewed mental vigor.”

Addiction (Margaret McHeyzer)

Meth, crank, ice, glass, fire, tina, chalk, crystal or crystal meth.
Whatever you call it, it’s the same thing. Addictive.

Drugs ruin people’s lives.
I should know, they destroyed mine.
I’m Hannah and I got hooked on ice. What started as a trickle, ended with a tsunami washing everything away; my family, my life.
I’m not sure you’re ready to read my story; it’s real and confronting.
Open the book, read the pages and see how easy it is for anyone to get addicted.
Ice affects all types of people. It doesn’t discriminate.
It will SCREW. YOU. UP.


“For you, I’d walk to the end of the earth, and still have the strength to kill anyone who’d hurt you. But when you’re hurting yourself, that breaks not only heart, by my soul.”

“I’m trying,” I say in a small voice. More to myself than to Mom.

I am no stranger to these types of books. Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales by Marni Mann blew me away with how raw it was. Saving Beck by Courtney Cole blew me away entirely with it’s authenticity, so books like Addiction really pique my interest and typically grab my attention at the get go.

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I’m always so intrigued on how these events happen. The befores, the durings, and the afters. The whys and the hows and whats. They rock me every single time. Seeing it all play out for you and witnessing the crashes, I just really love the uneasiness and un-comfortableness that I feel from reading those type of books. Addicted did not disappoint in any of those fields.

“Edgar is my light. Before him I was trapped in darkness, but he flicked a match, and suddenly, the world became good, not bad anymore.”

The author shows how it happens and how quick it can happen. I really liked that. There was no timeline jumping that was excessive or overly done and the author did a really great job at delving into the mind of Hannah. Reading this book through her POV really brings a whole new light to the drugs. You get to witness her brain process, the lies, the stealing, the manipulating, all through Hannah’s POV and to me that was done in an exceptional manner and most definitely beneficial to this story.

I had an issue with the book and that issue was Zac. Mainly where he went. He just…vanished. He plays a huge role in the first 25% of the book but where does he go to after that? Did he really have zero concern or care when it came to Hannah?

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I really enjoyed the ending and the way Hannah’s story tied up. Usually I am not satisfied because it’s like their journey just…stops. But knowing how Hannah went on, even after everything that happened, and what she learned from it was really respected in my opinion.

This book is not easy. And I don’t say that lightly because I have read quite a few books that cover this topic and each one is grittier than the next. This is the real world, in your face, no faltering in Hannah’s story. It’s all in this book for you. Right in your face.

Please Don’t Tell (Laura Times)

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Buy link:
https://amzn.to/2NFP7RW

Joy killed Adam Gordon—at least, that’s what she thinks. The night of the party is hazy at best. But she knows what Adam did to her twin sister, Grace, and she knows he had to pay for it.

What Joy doesn’t expect is that someone else saw what happened. And one night a note is shoved through her open window, threatening Joy that all will be revealed. Now the anonymous blackmailer starts using Joy to expose the secrets of their placid hometown. And as the demands escalate, Joy must somehow uncover the blackmailer’s identity before Joy is forced to make a terrible choice.

In this darkly compelling narrative, debut author Laura Tims explores the complicated relationship between two sisters, and what one will do for the other. It’s a story that will keep readers turning pages and questioning their own sense of right and wrong.


“I’m no longer ice. I am fire. Finally Joy and I can burn up at the same time.”

Nothing in this book really blew me away or knocked my socks off (okay- so I am not even wearing socks but that’s besides the point.) The author had some fantastic writing for someone who debuted this book as their first and I really liked the premise she was going for with the book but by the end of it I was just…meh. It wasn’t anything spectacular.

I really loved the complex sister relationship between Joy and Grace. I think throughout the entire story it was my most favorite thing. Seeing the past and the present, the way things build, it was all fun to see unravel through their POV. Seeing the break in their relationship and where it all went wrong satisfied me. But sadly I didn’t connect with either of them. They were simply just two people I was reading about.

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But if I have to be super honest, the book was very unrealistic. The events that take place, the death, the lack of police and investigations, the lack of parent involvement, it was just very unbelievable to me. I feel like all of the things taking place were just additions to a plot that wasn’t there. I hope that makes sense. Like- the author wasn’t 100% sure which direction she wanted to go in so in turn she lost site of her entire plot while adding all of these scenarios to the book. It just didn’t make sense to the realist in me.

The story was predictive and consistently slow. The pace never really picks up the further you get into the story and I think that’s why it took me so long to read said book. Not to mention there is a lot going on. Sometimes things got lost in translation and confusing and I think if the author had cut out a lot of what was going on, that didn’t necessarily pertain to the story- it wouldn’t of happened.

The ending was just okay to me, especially after the book dragged the entire time. I think I expected way more than what we were given. All in all, the book was good, the writing was great, but the plot and realism and the actual believing what was happening fell really short for me. It was just predictive and very easy to guess what was going to happen. At times I don’t mind that, but when it’s all throughout the book it gets boring after a while.

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