Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Last Girl Lied To by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn-- Author Interview & Giveaway

Last Girl Lied To

by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: April 16th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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Synopsis:

Something made him angry that night.
Something made her cry.
Something made Trixie disappear.
What if it was all the same thing? 

Fiona claims she doesn’t remember anything about the night her best friend left a party early and walked into the ocean. But the truth is, she wishes she could forget.

Trixie’s disappearance is ruled a suicide, but Fiona starts to believe that Trixie isn’t really dead. Piecing together the trail of a girl who doesn't want to be found leads her to Jasper, Trixie’s former friend with benefits, and Beau—the boy who turned Fiona down, who loved someone else, who might be happy Trixie is gone.

The closer Fiona gets to finding out what happened, and the closer she gets to Jasper and Beau, the more she realizes that the girl she knew better than anyone may have been a carefully constructed lie—and she might have been waiting to disappear the entire time.

Told in alternating chapters between the past and the present, Last Girl Lied To is a gripping emotional thriller.

Interview


Hi Laurie!!!  We are so excited to have you join our tours and to chat with you about LAST GIRL LIED TO!!

Thank you so much for having me!



Could you tell our readers a little bit about LAST GIRL LIED TO?

Absolutely! It’s the story of the damage a girl can do, both when she goes missing and also when she is right in front of people. It centers around what it means to be a teenage girl—your relationships with other people and ultimately with yourself. It’s dark and complicated and (hopefully) surprising until the very end. 


Would you describe Fiona & Trixie’s friendship?

Their friendship is really the cornerstone of the book. For Fiona, it’s intoxicating at first, and as it turns obsessive, she is happy to be held in Trixie’s thrall. She only realizes when Trixie is gone that what they had might have been toxic from the start. 

For Trixie… well, I don’t want to give too much away! 


What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of LAST GIRL LIED TO.)

#SecretsAndLies, #WhereIsShe, #WhoIsThatGirl


Tell us your favorite quote from LAST GIRL LIED TO.

That’s a tough one. I really like Fiona’s insights about what it means to be a girl in a world that either puts you under a spotlight or erases you. This is one of my favorites: “You told me girls like Jenny were fake, as if the world was divided into two types of girls: real ones, made out of flesh and bones, and plastic ones packaged up like dolls.”

And I love this one: “When she brought it up, she was “worried I was impressionable.” Like I was a wad of clay, not a girl.”


Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?  Or which part was the most difficult to get through?

I loved writing the past tense scenes with Trixie in them, and exploring the interaction between Fiona and Trixie—namely, how the friendship became so intense and all-consuming so quickly. It was fun to explore the playful side of Trixie and the personality traits she brought out in Fiona. The most difficult part was ensuring that the past and present scenes flowed smoothly and fit together cohesively—especially because of the mystery, because I wanted to drop hints and clues in the right spots. 


If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for LAST GIRL LIED TO– Which one would you pick?

That’s a tough question! I listened to “Glory Box” by Portishead to get in the mindset to write this book, so I’ll go with that one. 


Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read LAST GIRL LIED TO (specific music, snacks…)? 

If you like being creeped out, read it before bed with the lights dimmed. Otherwise… I find that it goes great with moody music (I listened to movie soundtracks like “American Beauty” while drafting it), and as for snacks… I haven’t met a snack I don’t like, so you can’t go wrong! (You’d only have to glance at my keyboard to know I have an affinity for Cheetos.)


What’s next for you? 

Stay tuned for more details about my next book with Imprint, which will be out in 2020. I can’t share too much as of now, but it’s another psychological thriller with a very polarizing girl at its core. It explores what it means to be a girl and to be constantly judged for every decision you make—and the ones other people try to make for you. It centers on the reality that we often listen to everyone’s voice except the girl we’re using our own voices to talk about. 


Thanks so much for chatting with us!!


Thank you for having me! 










Laurie Elizabeth (L.E.) Flynn is the author of Firsts and the upcoming psychological thriller Last Girl Lied To, along with an untitled thriller to follow in 2020. She is also the author of Wattpad featured series The Boys Tell All. Her other short fiction has been named a finalist for the John Kenneth Gailbraith Literary Award.

Flynn is a former model who worked in Tokyo, Athens, and Paris. She now lives in London, Ontario, with her husband, daughter, and the world’s most spoiled Chihuahua. When she’s not writing about unlikable girls, you can likely find her hiking in the woods with her family, perusing thrift stores for vintage dresses, or binging reality TV.














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Monday, April 8, 2019

To Best the Boys by Mary Weber-- Science, Monsters, Magic, Historical

To Best the Boys

All eligible boys are invited to compete for a scholarship to Stemwick University-- that is, if they're up for it.  The contest is run by the mysterious Mr. Holm at his magical & dangerous manor, and boys compete (sometimes to the death) for a chance at winning.

Rhen Tellur sees both sides of Pinsbury Port.  She lives in the poor village, but she's invited into the world of the wealthy through her aunt and uncle's status.  She's desperate to find a cure to a deadly disease which is sweeping through her side of town-- especially after her mother comes down with it.

Rhen's dream of being a scientist, even though it's not something women do in this society, is put into high gear while watching her mother suffer.  If she can win the competition and beat all the boys, can they really deny her the scholarship??  She doesn't know for sure, but she has to try...






This is not my usual sort of book.  I don't read a lot of Fantasy or books set in Historical times, but I knew I was going to make an exception for this book because I was in the mood for a good old-fashioned YA competition book.  These types of books were being published on the regular about 5 years ago, but now??  I barely ever see them!

I would call this Light Fantasy.  There are some fantastical elements--some sea creatures, ghosts, and magic-- but we more hear about them rather than see them first hand.  For the most part, this feels like it's set in the 1700-1800's, with the exception that they seem to know about germ theory.  They wear the clothes, have the technology, and have the caste system of that time period, but I think it's supposed to be a different world because of the monsters and such?  You know, I'm really not sure.

Anyway, this book was about a teenager named Rhen Tellur-- a girl who lives in a traditional society, but wants to go to college and become a scientist.  Every year the town of Pinsbury Port holds a scholarship competition for all eligible boys.  It's dangerous and mysterious and certainly not something a lady would be invited to participate in.  This year is different though.... this year a deadly disease is spreading through the poor sections of town, and Rhen's mother is one of the affected.  Rhen decides she needs to follow her dreams and prove that a woman can go to college-- and what better way to show them all than by winning the all-boys competition???

This book was a tale of 2 halves for me.  The first half was PERFECTION.  I was getting Stalking Jack the Ripper vibes, and I was SO intrigued with the Historical Fantasy setting.  The set-up to Rhen going into the labyrinth was EVERYTHING.

THEN: she goes into the labyrinth and everything went downhill for me.  The contest felt rushed.  The obstacles that they came across didn't feel very well thought out or intricate.  It was also frustrating how they worked in a group.  If there's only one winner, why were they so determined to stay together and help each other??  I didn't get it.  The person who wins just sort of stumbles along until it's over and they're the last man/or woman standing.  I wanted that person to win unequivocally and I didn't get that.  MEH.

I hated writing the previous paragraph, just so you know.  After being ADDICTED to this book in the first half, I wanted that quest to be epic!!  I wanted the 2 girls disguising themselves to be believable (it wasn't, they literally wear hats and people are like WHO ARE THESE 2 BOYS???).  I wanted the second half to be as spellbinding as the first half.

In the end, I'm not sad that I read this book.  I really liked reading about Rhen and her father and their scientific research.  I liked reading about Pinsbury Port and hearing about all the magic that was bubbling just under the surface.

Also, I think my favorite part of the whole book was the relationship that Rhen had with her cousin Seleni.  And I liked that even though Rhen wanted more out of life than what society was trying to give her, it was still okay that Seleni wanted traditional things.  I felt that.  As much as it feels good to progress what it means to be a woman, it's good to be reminded that it's still okay for women to be happy with and want to live in traditional roles.  We can have it all-- or not.  The point is, we get a choice!

OVERALL: If you like kick-ass heroines, historical fantasy worlds, a touch of supernatural, and SCIENCE-- I say give this one a whirl.  The labyrinth/competition felt rushed, but the build-up to it was fantastic.

Date Published: 3/19/2019
How I got this book: Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy to read and honestly review.
Publisher: HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson


Add it to your To-Read List!!


My Rating: 4/5








Character: Rhen Tellur
Book: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

  • The dedication that Maddie & Verity have to engineering/aviation would appeal to Rhen.  Also, 2 girls doing something few did during their time period would be inspiring.






Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Forget Me Not & Nine Perfect Strangers-- Adult Book Mini-Reviews


I've been reading more Adult books lately (I'm still primarily a YA girl, but you gotta mix it up sometimes!), and I wanted to share some thoughts on 2 that I've recently read.



1.  Forget Me Not by A.M. Taylor


Goodreads Synopsis:

WHAT HAPPENED TO NORA?

When Maddie met Nora, their friendship felt as easy as breathing. And when Nora disappeared, all the air went with her. Without her best friend, Maddie’s life became impossible.

Ten years later, Nora is still missing and Maddie is still searching. People have been questioned. People have even been accused. But no one has managed to find Nora.

Then, in the same spot where Nora went missing, the murdered body of Nora’s little sister is found. Convinced this is no coincidence, Maddie resolves to uncover the killer and find Nora – dead or alive.

But will she be able to cope, when we learn what really happened to Nora…?




My Thoughts:

This was a small-town murder mystery that came to me just when I was in the mood to read a mystery.

Maddie is this 20-something girl who's never really grown up.  She's psychologically stilted because of the disappearance of her best friend when they were 17.  During the 10 year anniversary of the disappearance, Nora (the best friend)'s sister is found dead.  It's more than a little coincidental and has to be connected.  Maddie is determined not to leave town again until she figures out what happened 10 years ago and now.

I think my mood made me like this more than I usually would've.  It's beautifully written (although clearly the author is British because some of the slang wasn't adding up to the Wisconsin setting), but it wasn't the GRIPPING mystery that I usually go for.  This book was slllloooooowwwww going.  At times it was thrilling, but other times the book seemed intent on endlessly going over the main characters's feelings.  Maddie's mental state and feelings are such a large part of the book, but they're not really a part of the mystery, so slogging through all of that was a bit boring at times.  The emotional parts of this book were well thought out and I appreciated the attention to it at times, but I think it was touched on just a little too much.

I really enjoyed the tiny town that this book was set in and all the different kinds of people that we met along the way.  There are 2 generations of mourners and suspects, and I thought many of them were interesting to get to know.

I was disappointed that I knew who "did it".  That's just no fun.  I read a lot of books, so it may not have been obvious to the casual reader, but I had a theory right away... and it wasn't wrong :(

OVERALL: A good enough mystery, but didn't quite hit the bar for me.  I thought it was nice that the author touched on the mental health and feelings of the main character, but I thought it was touched on just a tad too much and slowed the book down quite a bit.  I would recommend if you want a book that's a little lighter on the mystery and heavier on the character development.

My Rating 3/5:














2.  Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty


Goodreads Synopsis:

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out...

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft. 


My Thoughts:

This one is hard for me to put into words.  You see, I really really enjoyed Liane Moriarty's other books and I had come to expect a certain type of story from her, and this..... wasn't that.

I'm just going to say it: This book was weird.

I know the book is called NINE PERFECT STRANGERS, but it's really about 11 people-- 11 people that we get to know in-depth.  ALL 11.  They were very well-developed, and honestly at the end I felt like I read a character study instead of a novel.

The thing is-- I kind of wanted to hate this book, but I couldn't because of how freaking developed these characters were.  It was like I knew them, and because of that I couldn't hate them or the story they were in.

The twist-- well, there's always a twist in Liane's books, but it wasn't as twisty as I wanted it to be.  It was pretty straight forward and I kept expecting that 2nd twist to get me (it never came).

I don't know what I would've felt if I didn't already love this author.  Would I have liked it better because I wasn't expecting it to be more like her other works??  Would I have hated it because I didn't have a reading relationship and a soft spot for this author's books??  I really don't know.

OVERALL: Underwhelmed.  I was so excited for this book to be out in the world, but then it was nothing like what I thought it would be.  It was weird.  I liked getting to know all the characters and I thought the author did a fab job developing all of them into real people-- but I didn't like the twist and I kept waiting for that WOW moment that never came.

My Rating: 3/5














Have you read either of these books??  Thoughts??  Share with me!!


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday-- 2019 Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (March 19th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books On My Spring 2019 TBR



  • Major mood reader here, so usually these lists are FAILS, but I still like being optimistic and making them :)




1.  Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid- This is on hold for me at the library and I CAN'T WAIT FOR IT TO BE AVAILABLE!!


2.  Sky Without Stars (System Divine #1) by Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell- This is totally not my usual type of book, but Jessica Brody is one of my forever fave authors (I just LOVE her writing), and I read the first few chapters and think it's super interesting (although it is a brick at almost 600 pages).


3.  Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney- This is one of those Adult Mysteries that I've been gravitating towards more and more.  And it equals out the giantness of the previous book because it's super short!


4.  The Lies They Tell by Gillian French- This author is becoming a new fave, but I need to read this one before her new book (The Missing Season) comes out.


5.  Last Girl Lied To by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn- I really enjoyed Firsts, so I am anxious to see what this author comes up with next.





6.  Deposing Nathan by Zack Smedley- This is a book in our FFBC Tours and I love court stuff, so I'm going to squeeze this in.


7.  When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry- I miss post-apocalyptic books and this is kind of one-- plus aliens!!


8.  Rules We're Meant to Break by Natalie Williamson- This looks so cute and I'm really picky about romance, but I'm hoping the "I like my mom's boyfriend's daughter's best friend" will be good with me (LOL).


9.  Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly- Retelling!!!  I love darker takes on Fairy Tales.


10.  The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda- Last but not least, MEGAN MIRANDA!!!  I am SO excited about this book.  Have you read All the Missing Girls?  It's amazing and I SO recommend!



What books are you reading this Spring?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Slayer (#1) by Kiersten White-- Newest (and LAST) Member of the Hairy Mole Club!!!

Slayer (#1)

Artemis and Nina are twins living at the Watcher's Academy, but their roles couldn't be more different.  Artemis was chosen to train and fight, while Nina was sidelined as a medic.  Nina doesn't mind though, because she'd rather heal than hurt.  Until....

Nina finds out she's a Slayer-- the last Slayer ever.

Now, she's training with her new Watcher, Leo-- a boy she's had a huge, embarrassing crush on-- while also growing distant from her twin, getting no necessary info from her mother, and having demons pop-up more and more frequently.











DISCLAIMER: I am a big fan of the movie, but have only watched a few episodes (here and there) of the TV show.  This may have impacted my opinions.

A few of my friends are huge Buffy fans, so when they were thinking of reading this book, I thought it would be fun to read it as an outsider to the Buffy-Fandom.  It was pretty easy to pick out the parts in the book that were referencing the show (there are even some references to the movie as well), and I only felt the need to Google two things to figure out what it was they were talking about.  I think it's totally do-able to read this not knowing much about the Buffy World.

This story is about twins Artemis and Nina (real name: Athena).  They're part of the Watchers, tasked to help train the Slayers of the world.  Right now they're not helping anyone because magic is broken and Buffy did something that turned all the Potential Slayers into actual Slayers-- so now there are hundreds (thousands?) of them running around.  The Watcher population has been severely depleted and they are living in a state of hiding, trying to regroup.

Artemis is the chosen twin.  Her mom tapped her to train to be a Watcher, while Nina was forced to sit on the sidelines and learn to be a healer/medic.  That's all fine and dandy until Nina realizes she's a Slayer and the whole dynamic is sent into a tailspin.  Artemis is protective and jealous of Nina-- she's supposed to be the strong twin who is tasked with protecting Nina, not the other way around!!  It's all very complicated and pushes the twins apart.

This book was very uneven to me.  At times I would be super into it, and at times I was so bored.  The book is over 400 pages and it really didn't need to be.  It's written in first-person POV and the main character just goes over and over things we already know to fill up some of the pages.  It also suffered from that thing where if someone (anyone) would just say something (anything), the problems could be solved so easily.  I hate when a simple conversation can make a book not need to exist.

I did like getting to know some of how the Watcher organization worked, and some of the characters were really interesting (Rhys & Cillian, mostly).  I probably would've liked this 100 x's better if it weren't so obvious who the bad people were.  SO OBVIOUS.  If that wasn't bad enough to make the ending anticlimactic, there was also a chain of events that just infuriated me.  Something happens and then the author is just like: SIKE!!! 🙄

OVERALL: Not my favorite.  I enjoyed parts of this, but other parts dragged and dragged.  It really felt like I was reading fanfiction, and that is NOT what I was expecting out of this.  I really enjoyed The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, but this one didn't feel as refined as that one.


Quotes:

"Cillian snorts. "Sorry, I just. I can't get over her name. Buffy."
I fold my arms glaring. "What, she has a girly name, so she can't destroy the world?""


"What would a good Slayer do? I have no idea. Probably start punching things."



"I'm a healer. I've dedicated my life to it. Fixing bodies is all I've ever wanted to do. But now? I have a body count."



Date Published: 1/8/2019
How I got this book: Purchased
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Add this to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 3/5









Character: Artemis Jamison-Smythe
Book: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

  • Complicated twin relationship-- should really be read by both sisters, but Artemis seems to have a harder time with the change.