ARC Book Review: These Deadly Games By Diana Urban

As high schooler Crystal and her friends prepare to compete in a gaming contest for huge amounts of prize money, she gets a text challenging her to play a different game – with her younger sister’s life as the prize!

This book is a page-turner! Everybody’s a suspect in this rollercoaster of a thrill ride where the stakes are high and the games are deadly! Urban pulls no punches in this one, ruthlessly torturing her characters with every twist and turn on the pages. I’m not into video games, so I was a little worried that there would be sections that would bore me to tears, but that wasn’t the case at all! If you love YA mysteries that keep you guessing until the very end, check this one out!

Thanks to Diana’s Street Team, NetGalley, and the publishers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

From Goodreads:

Let’s play a game.

You have 24 hours to win. If you break my rules, she dies. If you call the police, she dies. If you tell your parents or anyone else, she dies.

Are you ready?

When Crystal Donavan gets a message on a mysterious app with a video of her little sister gagged and bound, she agrees to play the kidnapper’s game. At first, they make her complete bizarre tasks: steal a test and stuff it in a locker, bake brownies, make a prank call.

But then Crystal realizes each task is meant to hurt—and kill—her friends, one by one. But if she refuses to play, the kidnapper will kill her sister. Is someone trying to take her team out of the running for a gaming tournament? Or have they uncovered a secret from their past, and wants them to pay for what they did…

As Crystal makes the impossible choices between her friends and her sister, she must uncover the truth and find a way to outplay the kidnapper… before it’s too late.

Author of All Your Twisted Secrets, Diana Urban’s explosive sophomore novel, These Deadly Games, will keep you riveted until the final twist is revealed.

Book Review: Five Little Pigs By Agatha Christie

After her mother is convicted of killing her father, a young girl is sent to live with relatives in another country. On her 21st birthday, she’s given a letter from her mother that declares her innocence. Someway, somehow, the young woman must find out the truth about what happened all those years ago. Hercule Poirot to the rescue!

I thought I had read almost all of Christie’s books, but when this one showed up in my Kindle daily deals email and it didn’t sound familiar, I decided to scoop it up.

It’s amazing how this book, written in the 1940s, still manages to compare with those written today. Truly the Queen of Mystery, Christie weaves a tangled web of secrets and deceit, giving the reader all the clues they need to figure out who committed the crime while creating enough diversions and plausible scenarios to keep them guessing!

From Goodreads: In Agatha Christie’s classic, Five Little Pigs, beloved detective Hercule Poirot races to solve a case from out of the past.

Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, but just like the nursery rhyme, there were five other “little pigs” who could have done it: Philip Blake (the stockbroker), who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist), who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcée), who had her roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess), who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister), who cried all the way home.

Sixteen years later, Caroline’s daughter is determined to prove her mother’s innocence, and Poirot just can’t get that nursery rhyme out of his mind.

Book Review: That Weekend by Kara Thomas

Three teens go up a mountain, but only one comes back down . . . and she can’t remember what happened. Is she a victim? Or a killer? An unreliable narrator? Or is her convenient case of amnesia true?

Mystery abounds in this book, and although my original hypothesis for what happened “That Weekend” turned out to be true, making this YA mystery thriller somewhat predictable, the why behind what happened?!?! I never in a million years would have seen that coming! I was totally blindsided by the twist at the end. I’ve read several books by this author before and have discovered she can be counted on for a fun, entertaining tale.

From Goodreads:

It was supposed to be the perfect prom weekend getaway. But it’s clear something terrible happened when Claire wakes up alone and bloodied on a hiking trail with no memory of the past forty-eight hours.

Three went up the mountain, but only one came back.

Now everyone wants answers – most of all, Claire. She remembers Friday night, but after that… nothing. And now Kat and Jesse – her best friends – are missing.

That weekend changes everything.

What happened on the mountain? And where are Kat and Jesse? Claire knows the answers are buried somewhere in her memory, but as she’s learning, everyone has secrets – even her best friends. And she’s pretty sure she’s not going to like what she remembers.

Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This book was spooky and creepy and seriously messed up! What begins with a teenage girl who has a supernatural ability to find things using her power to locate and end the reign or terror of a man who ‘feeds’ on the souls of children ends with the same girl – now a woman – trying to save her own son from the same man. At it’s core it’s a book about people with special powers who use them for good or evil, but it’s so much more than that. The character development and atmosphere are downright literary coupled with a sense of dread that makes your toes curl!

Take a remote setting, add plenty of secrets, and trap a group of people with someone who wants revenge and you have the recipe for success! This suspenseful story took me on a sleighride to thriller land! Plenty of atmosphere and a cast of characters who all had something to hide kept me glued to this book until the end – best of all, it kept me guessing! Hard to believe it’s a debut!

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This book drew me in and wouldn’t let me go. It had a bit of everything – secrets, suspense, dogs – even some humor for levity. I loved the characters and the plot – a girl who was found feral and alone in the woods when she was young now, as a teenager, trains search and rescue dogs with her adopted family and they get called to help search for a little girl who’s gone missing – was intensely compelling. As if that wasn’t enough, many things are not as they seem. I loved this book and was surprised to find the author wrote another book I read recently, “The Inheritance Games”, which I enjoyed, but this one was so much deeper and more emotional!

The plot of this book is all in the title, and given what it’s about, how could I not give it a try? But I was still taken by surprise, because it was so much more than I expected! It’s hard to express why I enjoyed this book so much without giving too much away, but the setting, the culture, the empathy the author creates all worked together in a way that had me hooked! Short and almost sweet.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini Book Review) Madness

This week I read:

This one was a quick paced, easy read with plenty of suspense and tension. It wasn’t completely predictable – it did keep me guessing – but there were only a couple of ways the author could go with the storyline and I felt a little disappointed by the ending. That said, I did enjoy it. Recommended for those looking for easy eeriness. Not recommended for those looking for something deep and profound. 

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My thoughts while reading this book. “Eh.” “Meh.” “Oh.” “Hmm.” “Ooh, where’s she going with this?” “Okay, now it’s getting creepy.” “WTF is going on here?” “Is it or isn’t it?” “Must. Know. Now.” “Whah, whah.” There was a stretch where I was on the edge of my seat, biting my nails, so I’d probably give this author another try. Recommended if you’re looking for a “Sun Down Motel” vibe. Not recommended if you aren’t willing to stick it out a bit to get there. 

I just started:

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