Debut Review: The Best Lies – Sarah Lyu

Debut Review: The Best Lies – Sarah LyuThe Best Lies by Sarah Lyu
Published by Simon Pulse
Published: July 2, 2019
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four-stars

Remy Tsai used to know how her story would turn out. But now, she doesn’t even know what tomorrow will look like.

She was happy once. Remy had her boyfriend Jack, and Elise, her best friend—her soulmate—who understood her better than anyone else in the world.

But now Jack is dead, shot through the chest—

And it was Elise who pulled the trigger.

Was it self-defense? Or something deeper, darker than anything Remy could have imagined? As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her.

Told in alternating timelines, Thelma and Louise meets Gone Girl in this twisted psychological thriller about the dark side of obsessive friendship.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

As soon as I heard about The Best Lies it was immediately added to my TBR. I’m a sucker for a book that is told from alternating timelines and a book with an added thriller/mystery aspect…sold! And boy did Sarah Lyu deliver. The Best Lies was everything I had hoped for and more that I didn’t expect.

The Best Lies starts off with the death of Remy’s boyfriend who was killed by her best friend Elise. Remy is completely torn up on what she should do, what happened, who she needs to protect, and why it happened to begin with. While being interviewed by the police she relives the year of friendship with Elise, meeting Jack, and everything that happened that lead up to that night. As the story unfolds so does the reality of what really happened to Remy’s boyfriend and why.

I can’t fully review this book because I am terrified I will give something away but what happened the night Jack died. What I can tell you is that I loved Jack a lot and my heart broke for Remy. She didn’t have any easy time of things and Jack was her bright stop for a while. It was also super interesting to see how Remy and Elise began and how their friendship was formed.

Basically based on the description for The Best Lies, I knew this debut novel by Sarah Lyu was going to have me on quite the journey. But I never expected the journey to be as intense as it was and man was this book intense. It kept me interested from the get-go and never stopped. definitely one I would recommend picking up. I look forward to seeing what else this debut author will bring to the table.

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Debut Review: If You’re Out There – Katy Loutzenhiser

Debut Review: If You’re Out There – Katy LoutzenhiserIf You're Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser
Published by Balzer + Bray
Published: March 5, 2019
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four-stars

After Zan’s best friend moves to California, she is baffled and crushed when Priya suddenly ghosts. Worse, Priya’s social media has turned into a stream of ungrammatical posts chronicling a sunny, vapid new life that doesn’t sound like her at all.

Everyone tells Zan not to be an idiot: Let Priya do her reinvention thing and move on. But until Zan hears Priya say it, she won’t be able to admit that their friendship is finished.

It’s only when she meets Logan, the compelling new guy in Spanish class, that Zan begins to open up about her sadness, her insecurity, her sense of total betrayal. And he’s just as willing as she is to throw himself into the investigation when everyone else thinks her suspicions are crazy.

Then a clue hidden in Priya’s latest selfie introduces a new, deeply disturbing possibility:

Maybe Priya isn’t just not answering Zan’s emails.

Maybe she can’t.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’m a sucker for a book with a good friendship aspect. I under the draw of writing the frienemy, but I love a good female friendship that has its ups and downs but still can withstand the test of time. And I love a story that deals with the possibility of losing that friendship and how that affects one or both parties. If You’re Out There is a book that explores but with a twist and it was done remarkably well.

In If You’re Out There Zan is starting the year off without her best friend, Priya, who just moved to California. As if that isn’t bad enough Priya appears to have ghosted her, only showing up on social media to post pictures of how wonderful her new life is. While trying to figure out how to navigate her Priya-less world, Zan meets the new guy at school, Logan. He isn’t anything Zan is looking for, but he is there for her when she needs him, especially after she starts to notice something strange in Priya’s photos that makes her think…maybe she wasn’t ghosted after all. Maybe Priya is actually in trouble.

What I loved most about If You’re Out There was the focus on how friendships are hard and tricky. Like all relationships they take work and when one person isn’t there the work feel harder and not worth it. It showed how easy it is to let go of a friendship if you don’t fight for it when there is something to fight for. Zan refused to believe that her friend would just ghost her. She knew her better than anyone else and she fought for that feeling, even when she seemed crazy to everyone around her and felt crazy to herself. She fought and fought for her friendship because she believed her friend would fight for it too if she could. To me that showed what true friendship is about and why I loved the book.

I also really loved the mystery aspect of the story. Was Priya really ghosting Zan or was she in trouble? I was never really certain to be honest. I never knew which way the story was going to go because both options seemed plausible. I also liked that Logan was there to listen to Zan when no one else would. That was another huge highlight. Also helped that he was adorable.

All in all I highly recommend this debut by Katy Loutzenhiser. It hits all the right notes and will keep you reading until the end. Definitely a need to read book to add to your TBR.

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Debut Review: The Quiet You Carry – Nikki Barthelmess

Debut Review: The Quiet You Carry – Nikki BarthelmessThe Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess
Published by Flux
Published: March 5, 2019
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four-stars

Victoria Parker knew her dad's behavior toward her was a little unusual, but she convinced herself everything was fine—until she found herself locked out of the house at 3:00 a.m., surrounded by flashing police lights.

Now, dumped into a crowded, chaotic foster home, Victoria has to tiptoe around her domineering foster mother, get through senior year at a new school, and somehow salvage her college dreams . . . all while keeping her past hidden.

But some secrets won't stay buried—especially when unwanted memories make Victoria freeze up at random moments and nightmares disrupt her sleep. Even worse, she can't stop worrying about her stepsister Sarah, left behind with her father. All she wants is to move forward, but how do you focus on the future when the past won't leave you alone?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sometime you read a description for a book and you know going in your heart will be broken. You can just tell the main characters life is going to crush you. The Quiet You Carry was one of those books. The blurb alone almost had me in tears and from the get-go I knew I was in for an emotional roller coaster.

The Quiet You Carry is about Victoria, a 17 year old girl that finds herself kicked out of her house at 3am when her father’s weird behavior hits a head. Having nowhere to go she is placed in a foster home causing her life to plans to crumble around her. Suddenly she is in a new school, living with new people, and has rules she doesn’t understand all while trying to hide a secret she knows will change everything.

My heart truly ached for Victoria and her story. At 17 she lost everything. She lost the father that was supposed to protect her, the home that she had always known, her friends and school, and her plans for the future. I can’t imagine going through that at any age never mind 17. And not only dealing with all of that she also had to deal with the trust her father broke and the secret she was holding for him. Truly she broke my heart and I shed quite a few tears. What I loved most about The Quiet You Carry was seeing Victoria learn to trust again which wasn’t easy for her after what she had been through. Slowly seeing her let people in was the highlight for me.

Nikki Barthlemess reached all of my expectations with her debut book. She hit all the marks I expected from the blurb and I walked away from it feeling hopeful for Victoria and the life she wanted to live. I highly recommend you checking this gem out. Just make sure you have a few tissues handy…you know, just in case.

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Debut Review: The Fever King – Victoria Lee

Debut Review: The Fever King – Victoria LeeThe Fever King by Victoria Lee
Published by Skyscape
Published: March 1, 2019
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four-stars

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

What do you get when you mix politics, immigration, magic, and a fantastic M/M romance? You get the greatness that is The Fever King, is what you get.

Honestly I had no idea what I was in for when I first heard about The Fever King. I mean once upon a time I stayed away from all books having to do with fantasy and magic and here I was wanting to read this debut that was not only a fantasy including magic, but also was a politically driven story. I truly wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. But I had nothing to be worried about. The Fever King ended up being a fantastic journey with a lot of unexpected twists and turns (and a last 20% of the book leaving you breathless), and the perfect way to kick off a new series.

The Fever King is a book about Noam, the son on undocumented immigrants, who is orphaned after viral magic takes his father and leaves Noam with the ability to control technology. Now Noam has the interest of the minister of defense and his life is not his own anymore.  As Noam gets further and further into this new life and closer to Calix Lehrer he is soon learning things about himself and his government that he can’t unknow and meeting people {DARA!!!!} that will forever change his life.

It’s hard for me to pinpoint what I enjoyed so much about The Fever King. I guess when I think about it it was all of the components as a whole that made it such a great reading experience. The story flowed easily and the characters had a naturalness to them that I appreciated. I also really loved that the plot felt so now and current and it felt like something I hadn’t read before. Noam, Dara and Calix are people I found myself wanting to know more about and I can’t wait to get book 2 so I can.

I’m trying to think of what to tell you to make this a book you will want to read. Will telling you it is a fantasy that is heavily based in technology do the trick? What about if I say it is a LGBT book with two adorable boys? What about if I tell you about how politics and immigration plays a huge role in the story? So much awesomeness and not enough words to describe it. Instead I will just tell you, READ THE BOOK and be done with it.

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Debut Review: Just for Click – Kara McDowell

Debut Review: Just for Click – Kara McDowellJust For Clicks by Kara McDowell
Published by Amberjack
Published: February 19, 2019
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five-stars

Mommy blogs are great . . . unless the blog happens to belong to your mom.

Twin sisters Claire & Poppy are accidental social media stars thanks to Mom going viral when they were babies. Now, as teens, they're expected to contribute by building their own brand. Attending a NY fashion week and receiving fan mail is a blast. Fending off internet trolls and would-be kidnappers? Not so much. Poppy embraces it. Claire hates it. Will anybody accept her as "just Claire"? And what should Claire do about Mom's old journals? The handwritten entries definitely don't sound like Mom's perfect blog persona. Worse, one of them divulges a secret that leaves Claire wondering what else in her life might be nothing but a sham . . .

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

There is no denying we live in an internet famous world. We have YouTube and Instagram and Snap Chat. We have blogs and Facebook and Twitter. People want to make their mark and they try to become internet famous overnight. So when I read the description for Just for Clicks I immediately wanted to pick it up because we never think of the people that are brought into internet fame just because their parents are internet famous. I was intrigued by the idea and I can say happily that Kara McDowell did not let me down. This book is fantastic guys! Like, blow you away, fantastic!

Just for Clicks is the story of Poppy and Claire, twins that become internet famous thanks to their mom’s blog going viral when they were babies. Now teenagers, they must continue to build their brand at all times. But as one twin starts to hate all the notoriety more and more she must figure if she should continue doing with makes her mom and sister happy or if she should finally do what makes her happy. And what to do about her mom’s handwritten journals that contain stuff that wasn’t on the blog.

The thing I loved most about this book is that it made me think a lot about social media. I follow a couple of Instagram accounts that have been using their children to do ads for different brands and it got me thinking about what their lives will be like when they are older. Currently the choice is being taken away from them because they are basically too little to decide. But what will happen when they are Poppy and Claire’s age? When they want to have a life of their own outside of the public eye? When it becomes a job and not fun? Those where the things that jumped out to me most when I was reading Poppy and Claire’s story and Claire’s struggle with it all.

The other thing I loved about this book is the unexpected turns it took. As I was reading it I would read a part and be shocked that what I read happened because I never expected the story to go that way or for something like that to be unveiled. It was all done so naturally it took my completely off guard and I loved it. It made the reading experience all the more enjoyable.

Just for Clicks is not at all what I was expecting. When I picked it up I thought I was going to get a story about twin girls and their ‘whoa is me’ attitude. Instead I got a deeper story about being put on a path you didn’t choose and what that means when it is your choice and who it affects. This book is A+, top notch and I 100% recommend you snag a copy and read it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised that it is more than you expect going in. Read it!

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