Genre: Thriller

Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton (Mini Book Review + Giveaway)

Posted September 4, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Giveaway / 11 Comments

Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton (Mini Book Review + Giveaway)Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton
Series: Two Lies and a Spy #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on September 3, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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4 Stars

When sixteen-year-old Kari’s dad sends her an unexpected text, she and her brother immediately go into hiding. Because when your parents are superspies and your dad declares a Code Black, it can only mean something bad. Very bad.

Kari soon discovers that her parents have been disavowed and declared traitors, and she’s determined to clear their names. Breaking into the Agency seems like a reasonable plan, especially with the help of a team that includes her longtime crush, Luke, as well as her two best friends—an expert hacker with attitude and a master martial artist—and Luke’s popular, vindictive twin sister. Oh, and a new guy, who’s as cute as he is complicated…

What a fun book! I love spy/thriller/espionage type books, and so I was really excited when I was sent a copy of Two Lies and a Spy for review. It was a delightful, quick read and I loved every minute of it.

My favorite part of this book is Kari’s brother, Charlie. He’s seven years old, but he’s a little Einstein. He loves to research things and spout off random facts. He absolutely loves Kari, and she loves him. This has got to be the cutest brother/sister relationship I’ve ever read. After they discover all the trouble their parents are in, they go into hiding together–Charlie dressed as a little girl, and Kari disguised in whatever costume she has at the moment. Kari enlists the help of her friends, and together they decide to break her parents out and clear their names in the process.

Kari’s friends made this story amazing. The plot itself has been done before, but these characters made it unique. Kari is spunky and sarcastic, which I love. Luke, the dreamboat, is so sweet and concerned. Rita and Kale, her two partners in crime were so much fun, especially the zingers they shot back and forth at each other (they kind of hate each other). Rita’s this quirky fashion guru with all the techie gadgets that get things done, and Kale is a computer whiz. Lacey, Luke’s sister, is the bodacious blonde with a major attitude. I liked her, though, and actually enjoyed her prissiness. And then we have Evan, my love. He’s the snarky British bad boy wannabe who drives Kari absolutely nuts with his antics. Aside from Charlie, he is definitely my favorite. I hope we get lots more of him in the next book, because he has a personality you can write novels about. It’s not just the characters I love, but their interactions with one another had me giggling. They are so funny, and I really enjoyed their dialogue. Together, they create this dynamic force you can’t help but root for.

The plot is rather unrealistic at times, but I didn’t even care. There was no eye rolling or muttering from me as I read. It was pure and utter entertainment. The ending made my jaw drop in a twist that was pretty exciting. I love how it ended, and left the door open for more. I can’t wait to read more from Kat!

Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster for providing two hardback copies I can giveaway to my readers! Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win. U.S. entries only, please.

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4 Stars

Ten by Gretchen McNeil (Book Review)

Posted September 17, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 4 Comments

Ten by Gretchen McNeil (Book Review)Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 18, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 296
Format: ARC
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4 Stars

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Sometimes I enjoy being scared. I’m a major chicken, so I don’t read many scary books, but this one sounded too good to pass up! I was also majorly intrigued when I found it’s a retelling of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. This was totally worth being scared for. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The location is really ominous, and a character all its own. It has the power to be a breezy, sunny escape or a stormy, treacherous nightmare. In this case, it was the latter and I loved it. The descriptions had me snuggling under my blankets, hiding from murderers.

2. Gretchen is amazing at writing suspenseful passages. All of a sudden, I was a speed reader with this book. It was not because I was bored or because there were too many details. It was because everything flowed and ran into the next story elements so nicely that I almost absorbed the words rather than having to shove them in my head. It was effortless reading. 

3. Now, I have not read Agatha’s original version of this story, but the reviews I have read lead me to believe that this version sticks very closely to the original. I didn’t read anything about it having the crazy weather like Ten does, which I loved. It reminded me of Stephen King’s Storm of the Century. Very creepy, and it added a lot to the story. Just like the location, the weather was a character.

4. There were a lot of people to keep track of. Meg is the main girl and her best friend is Minnie. I had a hard time keeping track of who was who in the beginning, just because they each had an “M” name. And all the other characters blended together a bit for me, except for T.J., the love interest. Even though everyone was being murdered, though, the story focused more on the scare factor and less on the characters. I actually enjoyed that, just because it was fun to be immersed more in my feelings and reactions than the characters’ stories.

5. The murders form and are all wrapped up into a pretty crazy web of details. We learn more and more and solve the mystery right along with the characters. I was just as confused as they were. And I figured things out at about the same pace as they did, which was fun. I enjoyed that the reasoning and resolution weren’t easy. I love my details!

6. SO many twists and turns and events. It never calmed down! It just got creepier.

7. I was so scared! I could not read alone or at night, or I started to get really paranoid. This is a great book for autumn, especially for around Halloween.

All in all, everyone needs to read a creepy book every now and again. I really enjoyed this one, and would recommend it to pretty much anyone who loves a good scare. It wasn’t my favorite book in the world, but it’s definitely worth a read. And it seems to be great for all ages, since my dad just stole it from me when I was done! I really want to read Agatha Christie’s version now!

4 Stars