Blog Tour- Review of To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough + Giveaway

tocatchakillerTo Catch a Killer
By: Sheryl Scarborough
Release Date: February 7th 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case—which remains unsolved—fascinated a nation. Her father’s identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother’s best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past.

Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother’s killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she’s secretly doing on her own.

Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she’s close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:
I am more and more into young adult thrillers and mysteries and To Catch a Killer was an excellent one. We follow Erin, who had an awful past. She witnessed her mother’s murder at 2 years old and since then she’s been famous for her surviving the tragic event. People in town look at her differently and her mother’s best friend, Rachel, Erin’s guardian refuses to talk to her about her mom or the past.

I found this to really give Erin a unique perspective and have her character stand out. I can’t imagine not knowing about my past and losing my mother at such a young age. Because of this Erin has an intense interest in forensics and spends her spare time bonding with her biology teacher and reading her Uncle Victor’s books about being in the FBI. Many times when a character tries their hand at forensics it comes off sort of cheesy and unrealistic. In this book, it’s done very well. I found it to be pretty believable and I honestly learned a thing or two. Each chapter has a quote from Victor’s book. These had some really interesting details I’d not ever heard. Like this one,

5o percent of human DNA is identical to the DNA of a banana (page 265 in the print arc)

I don’t know if I’ll ever look at a banana the same way. Honestly, Victor was my favorite character and I loved that Scarborough added those little quotes at the start of each chapter.

Some elements of the mystery were fairly obvious to me but it really didn’t take away from the story telling. I felt that it wasn’t obvious to the characters who the big bad was so I wasn’t frustrated that Erin wasn’t seeing blatantly obvious hints. Though this was a murder mystery there was a sweet romance that I felt was pretty realistic to high school. Yep, there’s some insta-love but it seemed pretty spot on to what I’d experienced as a teen. That constant drive to see your crush and the ever present thoughts of them.

The supporting cast of characters were well developed and I felt that they were easy to like. I felt they all had understandable motivations and Erin’s gal pals were very realistically portrayed. Journey, the love interest and basketball star, wasn’t my favorite at first but I’ll admit, the further I read the more I enjoyed him. He really grew on me and he was so much more complex than I expected at the start of the book.

Final Thoughts:
To Catch a Killer was a fast paced and entertaining murder mystery. I felt that the big reveal was a bit anti climatic but it was still really well done and a fun read. The forensic details were really well executed and I learned a thing or two.

Giveaway

This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents. The publisher is providing the giveaway prize and winner will have 48hrs to respond to email with their address information.
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Review of Windwitch by Susan Dennard

WindwitchWindwitch (Witchlands #2)
By: Susan Dennard
Release Date: January 10th 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Sometimes our enemies are also our only allies…

After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

My Thoughts:
First, that cover. Wow, that is glorious and incredible. I was so excited to receive this book for review. I enjoyed Truthwitch but I felt that this sequel was even better. I loved all the tension this book had and didn’t feel that it suffered from middle book syndrome at all. It was action  packed, full of character growth and I loved the character’s relationships with each other. I loved how Dennard threw unlikely companions together.

Even in Truthwitch Aeduan, the Bloodwitch, caught my interest. He was easily the character I was most intrigued by. I needed to know more about his story and this book gave me glimpses. I loved reading from his point of view and also learning a bit about his past. Also, how can anyone not love him and Iseult together? These two have chemistry and I love what aspects they draw out of one another.

I’ll admit that in the first book I was a total black sheep and didn’t love Safi.  I don’t know why but she just didn’t resonate all that much with me but in this book she did! I loved seeing her thrown in an unexpected circumstance. She was bold, brave and badass. I loved how she interacted with others and I was just really swept away in her story.

I loved that though the content of the book was action packed and tense there were moments I laughed out loud. And Dennard did the action scenes so well! I could vividly imagine all the details and it felt like watching a movie as I read. The setting was well described which helped make this book that much more tangible. Of course the magical system continued to be impressive and really, this book has been one of my favorite fantasy novels I’ve read in a while. I’m so happy I chose to pick it up and read.

WindwitchIG

Final Thoughts:
If you read Truthwitch you must read this sequel- and if you are new to the series I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to see where Bloodwitch, the third novel, will go.

Review of Riders by Veronica Rossi

RidersRiders
By: Veronica Rossi
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen–Conquest, Famine, and Death–are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now–bound, bloodied, and drugged–Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for–not to mention all of humankind–he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?

My Thoughts:
I have been a fan of Rossi for years and was thrilled to see she was venturing into such a different type of book with Riders. From early reviews I knew this was going to be a much different reading experience and, overall, I found it to be incredibly original and interesting. I did, however, find that I was missing a level of connection to the characters that would have pushed this book into being an outstanding read.

We follow the story through Gideon’s first person point of view and watch things unfold through his experiences and memories. The approach Rossi took in telling the story, by using flash backs and an interrogation, worked for me better than I expected. I found myself captivated in finding out what exactly was happening and why.

Gideon was not what I expected for a main character though I had been warned by early reviews. His voice was so different than her other characters and he was much of a guys guy. I think this shows how great a writer Rossi is-she was completely capable of creating fully original characters in this new series. Though I respected Gideon’s character growth I never was able to really feel what he felt or connect deeply with him. I’m not sure if that was due to his character or me.

The secondary characters were well done (maybe easier for me to relate to than Gideon?) especially Daryn. I loved how mysterious her role in the story was and I really didn’t know where her storyline was going. Plus, she had great chemistry with Gideon. Each of the other members of the horsemen were pretty well developed though I favored one above the others. Plus, the horses. You can’t have horsemen without their steeds and Rossi really pulled out all the stops in describing and creating them.

Another plus in this book-  the bad guys were really wonderfully evil. I was very pleased that one twist caught me completely off guard and I still don’t know exactly where things will go in the next book. This book was such a toss up of success and disconnect for me it’s rather hard to put into words. I did finish knowing that I’ll be reading the follow-up because I’m so curious to see where things will go.

The overall themes Rossi drew into the story such as, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, mythology, demons, and a few other things I’ll leave as a surprise really worked for me.

Final Thoughts:
Though Riders wasn’t a complete success for me-I found myself intrigued with the storyline and how creative it was. The book was able to surprise me on at least one occasion and left me curious to what will happen in the next book.

 

Review of Ungodly by Kendare Blake

UngodlyUngodly
By: Kendare Blake
Release Date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Print ARC
Source: Gift from author

My Rating:
star

Summary:
As ancient immortals are left reeling, a modern Athena and Hermes search the world for answers in the final Goddess War novel by the acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood

For the Goddess of Wisdom, what Athena didn’t know could fill a book. That’s what Ares said.

So she was wrong about some things. So the assault on Olympus left them beaten and scattered and possibly dead. So they have to fight the Fates themselves, who, it turns out, are the source of the gods’ illness. And sure, Athena is stuck in the underworld, holding the body of the only hero she has ever loved.

But Hermes is still topside, trying to power up Andie and Henry before he runs out of time and dies, or the Fates arrive to eat their faces.

And Cassandra is up there somewhere too. On a quest for death. With the god of death.

Just because things haven’t gone exactly according to plan, it doesn’t mean they’ve lost. They’ve only mostly lost. And there’s a big difference.

My Thoughts:
I am so in love with Blake’s writing and her ability to write gruesome things and yet make them seem beautiful. This series has been wonderfully executed and this last book might just be my favorite of the three.

The story picks up where the others left off and Athena, Cassandra and crew are still searching for answers and trying to pick up the pieces after the battle on Olympus. Once again the writing was strong and the pacing fast. The action scenes were amazingly detailed and we get to venture into the character’s emotions.

Ungodly really ventured into Cassandra’s story and how everything that has happened changed who she is and what she wants. I’ve always felt a tad detached from Cassandra but in this story that changed. A new character was introduced, Thanatos, that I absolutely fell in love with. The interactions and chemistry between these two was one of my favorite aspects of the story. I only wish they had had more page time together. Somehow reading about Cassandra’s interactions with Thanatos gave me an emotional connection I’d not had previously. Honestly, their chapters were some of my favorites.

Athena was still a badass though she struggled with guilt for the haphazard battle on Olympus. Maybe for the first time in her existence she really struggled with knowing her place and role. I have really enjoyed watching Athena delve into her emotions and begin to accept her feeling towards other characters. I loved her character arc across all three books. Really, all the characters are incredible and I love them all. I was even able to find some love for Ares and his hell hounds.

I’d say that the pacing was about the same as with the prior books and really this conclusion was what I wanted it to be. Some things are left unanswered 100% but enough is alluded to that you can easily guess at some of the outcomes. I do think I’ll be wondering what happens to each characters years from the final showdown.

Final Thoughts:
As always I adored Blake’s writing and characters. The mythology thrown into a modern setting was done amazingly well even inspiring me to do some Google searches on some lesser known gods. I think it’s obvious that Kendare Blake is a favorite of mine and an auto-buy author. Do look for her next book, Three Dark Crowns, coming from Harper in 2016.

Extras

Review of Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake

Mortal Gods (Goddess War, #2)Mortal Gods (Goddess War #2)
By: Kendare Blake
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Print ARC
Source: Author

There will be spoilers from book one, Antigoddess.

Full disclosure- I absolutely adore Kendare’s work. She was so nice as to send me this book but that doesn’t alter my rating or review of this novel. If I’d have hated it I would have cried from disappointment but would be honest and rated accordingly.

My Rating:
star

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