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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Review: Little Monsters by Kara Thomas


When I saw Little Monsters by Kara Thomas on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read it. The book description drew me in and I had to know what happened.  I am glad I was approved - this book took me on a thrilling ride from start to finish.  It was so engaging I finished it in less than two days.  I have this book to so many people, because after finishing it, I couldn't stop thinking about it and wanted to discuss it with someone!

The story is told from the main character, Kacey's point of view and alternates with entries from her friend, Bailey's journal.  She has somewhat of a troubled past and moves to a new town - a small town - with her father, step-mom, and their other children.  We meet Kacey as she is about to reluctantly sneak out with her friends Jade and Bailey.  Her younger half sister, Lauren, follows them, as they sneak to the towns local haunted spot.  While there, something so scary happens that Lauren, is very messed up over it.  I'm not going to tell you what - because that would spoil the surprise.  Then Bailey disappears.  Kacey gets involved in trying to find Bailey and we discover that no one is as they appear.  There are so many twists in this book - and so many of the characters are just awful people.  It reminded me somewhat of Gillian Flynn's books.  It's very sordid and twisted and shocking but it really draws you in.  Reading Bailey's journal entries was chilling.  

I have not read Kara Thomas's first standalone, Darkest Corner's - but I have since read her newest book The Cheerleaders, and it's equally twisted.  She has become one of my favorite authors.  Her writing is very creepy and her characters are very human and very flawed.  

Summary from Goodreads:
Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

***I was offered this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review : Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes



Little White Lies is the first book in Jennifer Lynn Barnes' new Debutantes series.  The story is told from the main character, Sawyer Taft's, point of view.  It opens with Sawyer and three other Debutantes in a jail cell, seeming to argue and stress out the rookie officer who is trying to figure out why they're in the jail cell and what's going on.  The story flips back and forth between the girls in the jail cell and the moments leading up to it, starting with 10 months prior.  

Sawyer has grown up on the wrong side of town, without a lot of money, and a mom who is all she has, but isn't very good at being a mother.  Sawyer has never known her father, or her mom's family as she is estranged from them.  One day while Sawyer's mother is off on a trip with her newest boyfriend, Sawyer's grandmother shows up, and makes Sawyer an offer she can't refuse.  The next thing you know, Sawyer is thrust in the life of a Southern Debutante, meeting her relatives, and trying to figure out who her father is.  And then there is the issue of the Senator's daughter - she is up to something and Sawyer and her new friends all end up involved in the intrigue.

Little White Lies is a young adult mystery novel, with a lot of humor thrown in.  I really like books about formidable southern women and their strength and manners.  Jennifer Lynn Barnes is the author of one of my other favorite series, The Fixer.  She does an excellent job of character development and building a story line.  There was definitely a twist that I didn't see coming.  I'm really glad that this is going to be a series, because I love these characters.  Boone, the Senator's nephew is one of my favorites.  He makes me laugh, a lot, and I hope to see more of him in the next book.

I liked this book a lot, and I give it 5 Stars for good writing, a great mystery with plot twists I couldn't predict, Southern setting and strong women.  I also love how different and somewhat goofy supporting character, Sadie Grace is.  Jennifer Lynn Barnes does not disappoint with her new series.

Summary of Book from Goodreads:
"I'm not saying this is Sawyer's fault," the prim and proper one said delicately. "But."

Eighteen-year-old auto mechanic Sawyer Taft did not expect her estranged grandmother to show up at her apartment door and offer her a six-figure contract to participate in debutante season. And she definitely never imagined she would accept. But when she realizes that immersing herself in her grandmother's "society" might mean discovering the answer to the biggest mystery of her life-her father's identity-she signs on the dotted line and braces herself for a year of makeovers, big dresses, bigger egos, and a whole lot of bless your heart. The one thing she doesn't expect to find is friendship, but as she's drawn into a group of debutantes with scandalous, dangerous secrets of their own, Sawyer quickly discovers that her family isn't the only mainstay of high society with skeletons in their closet. There are people in her grandmother's glittering world who are not what they appear, and no one wants Sawyer poking her nose into the past. As she navigates the twisted relationships between her new friends and their powerful parents, Sawyer's search for the truth about her own origins is just the beginning.

Set in the world of debutante balls, grand estates and rolling green hills, Little White Lies combines a charming setting, a classic fish-out-of-water story, and the sort of layered mystery only author Jennifer Lynn Barnes can pull off.

***I was given a free advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

 
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