Deception so Deadly (Run to You #1) by Clara Kensie
Synopsis Originally published as the Run to You serial parts 1-3: First Sight, Second Glance, and Third Charm.
Deception So Deadly is the complete first novel in the two-book Run to You series, a riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…
Sarah Spencer has a secret: her real name is Tessa Carson, and to stay alive, she can tell no one the truth about her psychically gifted family and the danger they are running from.
As the new girl in the latest of countless schools, she also runs from her attraction to Tristan Walker—after all, she can’t even tell him her real name. But Tristan won’t be put off by a few secrets. Not even dangerous ones that might rip Tessa from his arms before they even kiss…
Run to You is Tessa and Tristan’s story—two full-length books about psychic gifts, secret lives and dangerous loves. Danger. Deception. Betrayal. It must be true love.
My Review The story starts off with a bang as Sarah, aka Tessa, gets a text while sitting in class that it’s time to run. Again. Something her family has been doing for the past eight years. Her family isn’t normal. They have secrets. Secrets that the government wants.
Tessa doesn’t make friends, because what’s the point? But when they settle into Twelve Lakes, she’s pursued by Tristan, a boy with beautiful blue eyes and broad shoulders. She initially pushes back, but she’s a girl and he’s a boy and…hormones. While Tessa keeps her true identity from Tristan, she can’t help falling for the sweet boy who makes her feel things she never has before.
The push and pull of their relationship is raw and real and kept me turning the page. As Tristan and Tessa fall for each other, Tessa is constantly looking over her shoulder, never able to relax and be normal, because at any moment she’ll be on the run again, leaving Tristan behind forever.
The plot is a dual-pronged. It’s the story of Tristan and Tessa, but it’s also the story of Tessa’s family and their survival. They must stay one step ahead of their pursuers, never knowing when they’ll be found, because it is only a matter of when, not if. Both plots are very well done and kept me on the edge of my seat. They’re woven together seamlessly, each driving the other in complex fashion.
Tessa is complex, deep, and wounded — everything you want your teen protagonist to be. And while I liked the other characters, I didn’t get the same level of depth from them. Even Tristan didn’t come across as fully-developed as I would have liked. That may have been deliberate on the author’s part, though. We see the world and the other characters through Tessa’s eyes, and she’s got a lot going on, what she chooses to observe and not observe are part of her character. Tessa’s well-developed enough, I don’t know that the lack of depth of the other characters is really a problem, but I did notice it.
World Building The world of psychic gifts is a central part of the book, and while there isn’t anything really new here, it’s detailed and flows effortlessly through the story.
Writing Clara Kensie does a great job of building tension, making Deception So Deadly read much like a thriller, but without the gore, violence, and language often found in adult thrillers. A number of twists wind their way through the plot like vines. Some I saw coming, some not so much, and the pacing was damn near perfect.
Ending Considering this is the first of a two-book series, I thought the author did a great job of wrapping up the main story lines, leaving me satisfied, but still wanting to read the second book.
Top Five Things I enjoyed about Deception So Deadly: 1. The psychic abilities. Let’s face it, no matter what you call them, super powers rock!
2. Tessa. All four-foot-ten of her. She’s feisty, determined, and loyal. In her case, size really doesn’t matter.
3. The twists and turns. I won’t mention any of them because even one could spoil things, but I love the plotting in this book.
4. Tristan. I was hot and cold on Tristan throughout the book and I think that’s part of his appeal. Just like Tessa, the author was able to pull me in before making me doubt him and his motives, then pull me in again, only to question everything I thought I knew about him all over again.
5. Jillian and Logan. As Tessa’s older sister and younger brother, they look out for Tessa, but they each bring something different to the dynamic. Jillian pushes Tessa to have fun, to fall in love, because even love lost is better than not at all. Logan is two years younger, but he acts more like an older brother at times, protecting Tiny Little Tessa at all cost.
Bottom Line Deception So Deadly is a fun, fast-paced young adult paranormal romantic adventure that is as much about the danger as it is about the romance.
Disclaimer I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book Title: Deception So Deadly Series: Run to You #1 Author: Clara Kensie Publisher: Harlequin Teen Release Date: May 1, 2015 Pages: 264 Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
Author Clara Kensie
About the Author …don’t forget to breathe…
Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.
Today Clara is the author of dark fiction for young adults. Her debut series is the romantic thriller RUN TO YOU: Deception So Deadly and Deception So Dark.
Her favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.
Welcome to the next stop on the blog tour for The Accidental Assassin, a new adult contemporary novel by Nichole Chase. See below for my review, information on the book, buy links, and details on her giveaway. Also, during the tour, you can pick up the eBook for just $0.99!
The Accidental Assassin by Nichole Chase
Synopsis Ava McKenzie is a creature of habit. Life is passing her by and she has nothing to show for it. She’s had the same job since she started college, she orders the same dish every time she goes to her favorite restaurant, and only reads books from authors she knows. There is nothing new or surprising in her life… until her best friend marries a man from London.
When her newlywed friend asks her to house-sit while she honeymoons, Ava jumps at the chance. She thinks this could be the very thing she needs to shake up her life. Ava throws herself head first into her new lifestyle; she wants to try everything, go everywhere, and never get stuck in a rut again. Of course, offing a man in a car garage hadn’t been one of the things on her list to try.
Owen Walker spends every day in a new place with a new case. As one of the most renowned assassins in the world, he has his choice of marks—and he’s never failed in a mission. When a new hit takes him back to his hometown, he looks forward to spending time somewhere familiar. What he isn’t expecting is to help an attractive, confused American woman find out how she’s ended up on a hit man’s list.
As Ava and Owen dodge bullets, will they be able to escape their undeniable attraction to each other? Or will all of that chemistry blow up in a shower of hot and dangerous sparks?
My Review The Accidental Assassin was such a fun, unique twist on the new adult romance genre. The characters are quirky and likable and the plot weaves danger and humor, keeping me glued to the virtual pages.
Ava is an American house-sitting her honeymooning best friend. Owen is an assassin assigned to taking out one of the other inhabitants in the same building where Ava is staying. When Ava accidentally backs over the target with her car, she finds herself in the middle of a murder-for-hire plot, relying on the the hot, yet mysterious, Owen to survive.
The plot is unique in the new adult genre, at least for me. It’s a romance, nestled in danger, surrounded by nearly non-stop action. Nichole Chase pulls off a charming tale of an unlikely heroine, some intense chemistry, and a fast-moving thrill-ride, that is reminiscent of Janet Evanovich but really is all its own.
Ava is likable from the opening paragraph and even Owen makes it hard to dislike him. What with being choosy about who he’ll kill, and ensuring there is never any collateral damage and all. These two seem like an unlikely pair, and yet the attraction is palpable from the first meet. The supporting cast are all equally interesting, right down the shop store clerk and the arms dealer.
World Building The world of spies and assassins comes alive between the pages, the settings feel authentic, with pop culture references thrown in to connect readers with the story even more.
Writing I love Nichole Chase’s style. She tackles tough subject matter with traces of humor, but never making light of a serious topic.
Top Five Things I Loved about The Accidental Assassin: 1. Ava. She’s a fun, refreshing heroine who had me rooting for her from the first page.
2. Owen. He’s smexy, intelligent, and loyal. Hard to beat that combination.
3. The settings. Everywhere from Owen’s cottage in Oxford to the streets of Notting Hill were as alive as the characters who inhabit them.
4. The plot. A fun idea that was wonderfully executed.
5. The banter. I loved watching Ava and Owen going tit for tat, amping up the chemistry in a playful way.
Bottom Line The Accidental Assassin is a fun, fresh take on new adult romance with a twist.
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book Title: The Accidental Assassin Author: Nichole Chase Release Date: August 26, 2014 Pages: 354 Genre: New Adult Contemporary Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars Links:Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
Author Nicole Chase
About the Author Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal, Flukes, The Dark Betrayal Trilogy, and several short stories.
She is also the instructor of Say What? a dialogue class at the Romance Academy.
Nichole lives in Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, superhero dog, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats.
When not writing, you may find her reading, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.
Synopsis My name is Reagan Wilcox: high school senior by day, kick-ass investigative journalist by night. I’ve always loved observing people—especially when they think no one is paying attention.I thought I was ready to cover any story. Work any angle.
Nothing could have prepared me for what happened that night. I wasn’t ready for what I saw. And I certainly wasn’t ready for him.
I always knew I’d write the headlines. Now, I just might become one.
My Review I was expecting a teen mystery when I picked this up, but what I got instead was a teen thriller with some elements of a mystery. It’s an intense, exciting, rollercoaster ride of action and emotion that was difficult to put down.
Reagan Wilcox likes to remain outside the limelight. She’s perfectly happy to sit back and observe unnoticed. Her dream of becoming an investigative reporter has her quietly looking for a story among her classmates. The odd behavior of the school’s star quarterback has her digging deeper. And what she finds just might get her killed.
The writing is strong, the characters interesting, and the story is riveting. While it was a bit slow to start, the story picked up quickly and took off at a manic pace, building to a nailbiting climax. This was a welcome change from the young adult novels I’ve been reading lately, and definitely one I’d recommend.
This is almost entirely plot driven, and it’s a heck of a plot. Sarah M. Ross keeps the story moving, doling out information to keep us hooked without overloading the story. We get the information we need as we needed it, and never before. If young adult thrillers is going to be a new thing, this is the blueprint for them. In the end, I felt as if there were still some unanswered questions, but the big issues were all wrapped up.
World Building The world building is subtle and sometimes stereotypical, but the author injects enough humor to poke fun at those stereotypes, that it works. Everything from the small town “everyone knows your business” to mob families is built organically, so it never feels like a caricature.
Characters None of the characters are particularly layered or deep, but I don’t think it’s necessary here. The characters are definitely fun and interesting, and drive the plot, which is what this story is all about. And the main character, Reagan, and her love interest, Marco, are infinitely likable. That’s all I really need in a book like this.
Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Never Gonna Tell 1. Reagan. Her tenacity is inspiring. I love how this girl who never walks away from a good story, is willing to risk her own life to save the lives of those she cares about.
2. Marco. He defies his family and risks his life for a girl he barely knows.
3. Charlie. He’s got issues up the wazoo, but the kid is as loyal as they come. Everyone should have a best friend like Charlie.
4. The pacing. After getting off to a bit of a slow start, it takes off and kept me on the edge of my seat for the remainder of the story.
5. The uncertainty. Because this book was anything but formulaic, there were no guarantees. No one was safe, which made the story that much more compelling.
Bottom Line Never Gonna Tell is a solid young adult thriller with lots of action, danger, and a sweet romance. I’d definitely read more by this author.
Disclaimer I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book Title: Never Gonna Tell Author: Sarah M. Ross Release Date: March 17, 2015 Pages: 202 Category: Young Adult Mystery Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars Links:Goodreads | Amazon
Author Sarah M. Ross
About the Author Sarah started her obsession with reading at an early age, often sneaking BabySitter Club and Nancy Drew books into math class. She would read any book she could get her hands on. Her love of reading quickly evolved into a love of writing and stories began to pour out of her.
She grew up in Pittsburgh, graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English, and taught 8th graders to love reading as much as she does for several years. Sarah will always be a proud member of the Steelers’ Nation, but couldn’t take the cold and moved her frozen tush to Florida where she now lives with her family and two cats. You will find her now with her trusty Kindle in hand and toes in the sand!
Sarah’s debut novel, AWAKEN, released in January, 2012. Other novels include AVENGE, ATONE, ECHO OF AN EARTH ANGEL, and INHALE EXHALE.
Synopsis An apparent student suicide has brought medical examiner Sara Linton to the local college campus, along with her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver. But a horribly mutilated corpse yields up few answers. And a suspicious rash of subsequent “suicides” suggests that a different kind of terror is stalking the youth of Heartsdale, Georgia — a nightmare that is coming to prey on Sara Linton’s loved ones.
A small town is being transformed into a killing ground. And the key to a sadistic murderer’s motive and identity may be held in the unsteady hands of a campus security guard — a former police detective driven from the force by the hellish memories that will never leave her.
Lena Adams survived the unthinkable and has paid a devastating price. Now the survival of future victims may depend upon her … when she can barely protect herself.
My Review Although I really liked A Faint Cold Fear, it’s my least favorite book in the Grant County series so far. It doesn’t seem to have that same gripping tension from the first two that kept me reading long after I should have gone to sleep. Don’t get me wrong, no one does the whole creepy thriller quite like Karin Slaughter, but I just felt like something was missing from this one. That little extra something that pushes itself under my skin and keeps me riveted. That said, it is a thoroughly enjoyable story that has some unexpected twists, some really creepy characters, and an ending I never saw coming.
Plot I can seen Karin Slaughter’s progression as an author by this third book in the series. She’s developed a more honed ability to bait the reader and reel us in slowly, which makes reading this one a little more fun. But the plot does lack the unputdownable aspect of her previous two novels in this series.
Characters The characters are as solid as ever and it’s both painful and engrossing to watch them try to come to terms with their inner demons. Karin Slaughter does an amazing job of keeping it real when it comes to the horrific events that have shaped her characters’ lives. And she doesn’t sugar-coat it. She doesn’t care if we like her characters or not. Being likeable isn’t really key to the story, but being real is, and they are authentic. It’s this characterization that really moves A Faint Cold Fear along more than the plot.
Bottom Line Another solid thriller in the Grant County series that keeps the reader guessing. The author draws on the events of the previous books to develop her characters to realistic perfection.
Title: A Faint Cold Fear Author: Karin Slaughter Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Pages: 448 Category: Thriller Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars Links: Goodreads | Amazon |Barnes & Noble
Synopsis Saturday night dates at the skating rink have been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale for as long as anyone can remember, but when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton–the town’s pediatrician and medical examiner–finds herself entangled in a terrible tragedy.
What seemed at first to be a horrific but individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications. The autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse, of ritualistic self -mutilation, but when Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, they are frustrated at every turn.
The children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. Then a young girl is abducted, and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime, one far more shocking than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, detective Lena Adams, still recovering from her sister’s death and her own brutal attack, finds herself drawn to a young man who might hold the answers. But unless Lena, Sara, and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it’s going to happen again
My Review Kisscut is darker than Blindsighted and far more gripping. There are so many moving parts, it’s impossible to figure out what’s going on until the end. Even the subplots are engaging. First, there’s Sara and Jeffrey’s relationship. We take a trip back to Jeffrey’s childhood home and learn more about how he and Sara originally met and fell in love. Then there’s Lena’s recovery from the horror she endured in Blindsighted, and the weird kinship she feels with the brother of one of the young victims. And there’s Jeffrey’s unresolved guilt over shooting a teen girl, even though he didn’t really have a choice. Last but not least, running through all of that is why the girl put herself in a position that the police had no recourse but to shoot her, who took a young girl and why, and how the two are related.
Karin Slaughter does a masterful job of handling all of the subplots and the main plot, interweaving them, and keeping us on the edge of seats, wondering how they all intersect with one another. And they do, almost perfectly. The only thing that keeps this from being a five-star rating is the stomach-turning nature of parts of the story. While they were key to the plot, it kept me from loving the story, even if it is a page turner.
Plot The plot was intense, and unique, and riveting. It was nearly impossible to put down at times. The subplots provided additional interest and the twists and turns kept me guessing until the end. But because of the nature of the crime and the people involved, it takes a strong stomach. Definitely not for the faint of heart or anyone who is easily offended. I know a lot of people complained about the disturbing nature of the crime and claimed the author was glorifying it. In no way is the crime glorified. It is detestable, but it is something that happens every day in this country, and pretending it doesn’t, won’t make the problem go away.
Characters There were a lot of characters and they were often difficult to keep track of, but not to the point that I couldn’t keep up with the plot. I love that we get to dig deeper into our favorite characters from Blindsighted and learn more about Jeffrey, Sara and Lena. Karin Slaughter doesn’t try to gloss over the effects of what happened. The characters grapple with what happened, particularly Lena. This is something that I don’t think is done often enough in serial thrillers. Too often, characters just bounce back and go on with life, with very little reflection on what happened other than passing references. But what Lena endured at the hands of her attacker in Blindsighted becomes very much a part of who she is and the decisions she makes throughout Kisscut.
Bottom Line Kisscut is an intense thriller that is equal parts moving, gripping, and disturbing. But it never failed to keep me turning the page, right to the very end. Sure, I felt like I needed to take a shower afterward, but isn’t that what a good thriller does?
Title: Kisscut Author: Karin Slaughter Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Pages: 448 Category: Thriller Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars Links to Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Synopsis A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it’s only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer’s twisted work becomes clear.
Sara’s ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, leads the investigation — a trail of terror that grows increasingly macabre when another local woman is found crucified a few days later. But he’s got more than a sadistic serial killer on his hands, for the county’s sole female detective, Lena Adams — the first victim’s sister — want to serve her own justice.
But it is Sara who holds the key to finding the killer. A secret from her past could unmask the brilliantly malevolent psychopath .. or mean her death.
My Review This is my first Karin Slaughter novel. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of her until a friend of mine invited me to see her speak at the La Jolla library last year. To say she was a compelling speaker would be an understatement. She did not read from her book, she did not really talk all that much about her books. She spent the vast majority of the time talking about her childhood and how she came to write such dark and twisted fiction. And it was funny! I loved her on the spot!
After picking up her latest book, Unseen, and getting it signed of course, I rushed home and downloaded Blindsighted. As with most thrillers, the book kicked off on the first page with a gruesome murder that only became more disturbing the more we learned about it. The story is riveting, a definite page-turner.
Plot The plot is relatively formulaic. A horrific murder is committed and the race is on to find the killer before he strikes again. The subplot about the town’s coroner, Sara Linton, who also happens to be the town pediatrician and hot police chief, Jeffrey Tolliver who also happens to be her ex-husband is well done and smoothly incorporated. Lena Adams, the twin sister of the victim and also one of Jeffrey’s detectives, has a more complex subplot as she copes with the death of her sister.
My only complaint is that I figured out whodunit before the big reveal. And that was where the plot became a little too formulaic for me. I just assumed it was the character you were least likely to suspect and I was right. However, I didn’t figure it out until late in the story, only a couple of chapters ahead, so it didn’t significantly impact my ability to enjoy the book overall.
Characters For a plot-driven story, the characters were well-developed. Far more so than many in this genre. In fact, Karin Slaughter excels at character development, which makes you want to read the next book because you feel like the characters are real people and you want to know what happens to them next.
Bottom Line I thoroughly enjoyed Blindsighted. It was gripping, intense, and scared the crap out of me. Pretty much what you want from a good thriller.
Title: Blindsighted Author: Karin Slaughter Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Pages: 400 Category: Thriller Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars Links to Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble