Title: All of This is True

Author: Lygia Day Penaflor

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

When four Long Island teens plot to meet Fatima Ro, the elusive author of their favourite novel, they’re stunned when she befriends them and invites them into her eccentric life. Suddenly their lives seem charmed, and as they grow closer to their idol, they find themselves revealing their darkest secrets to her.

But a year later, Miri, Soleil, Jonah and Penny are shocked to discover that Fatima’s newly released YA novel is based on those same secrets. The revelations are devastating, and they can’t escape the spotlight. The friends’ interview transcripts, emails and journal entries reveal how willing they were to sacrifice everything to win Fatima’s approval – and how those sacrifices led to a tragedy from which one of them will never recover.

The Review

One thing I really like in books is when I have a handful of narrators that all see the story a specific way. They are all unreliable because their truth is not the same as someone else’s. This is why I really enjoyed All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor.

It is a story set in high school so there is already a he-said-she-said element to the narrative. Add in a mystery, an author, and a character in hospital with life threatening injuries then you really do have the making of a good thriller.

What the author really manages to highlight is the fundamental need to be seen and acknowledged. She shows how this is a spectrum depending on the need of the character and how that can be manifested in both good and negative ways.

I really liked All of This is True. I loved the mixed media element of storytelling and how distinct the different character voices where. As far as YA Thrillers go then All of This is True is a brilliant poster book for the genre.

All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor is available now.

For more information regarding Lygia Day Penaflor (@lygiaday) please visit www.lygiadaypenflor.com.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: The Nightmare Stone

Author: Finian Black

Pages: 186 Pages

Publisher: Weybourne Press

The Blurb

Buying the house of their dreams was the beginning of the nightmare. A lucky windfall gives a family the chance of a fresh start, but for teenager Danny, the change isn’t welcome. When their new house begins to reveal its dark secrets, Danny has to confront a truth beyond anything he could ever imagine – that all the money in the world means nothing when the only thing left is the battle to survive.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Creepy on a whole new level. That is the best way to describe Finian Black’s book The Nightmare Stone.

It is a story set generations apart with the same insidious villain haunting two different families.

Danny doesn’t want to move house but when his family come into good fortune he knows that he must. Not just for him but for his little sister who is unwell. Danny doesn’t get the best feeling from the house and rightly so, for in the walls are hidden secrets.

The thing that Finian Black has mastered in this novel is keeping the reader in suspense. We know something is going to happen but we don’t know when and because of that you are living on your nerves with every new chapter. It is one of those stories that has you grabbing your head in panic like that might somehow help the characters in the story.

If you like your stories scary and intense then The Nightmare Stone is the book for you.

The Nightmare Stone by Finian Black is available now.

For more information regarding Finian Black (@finianblack) please visit www.finianblack.com.

Title: Thirteen

Author: Steven Cavanagh

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Orion Books

The Blurb

‘To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I would make a terrible detective and a terrible lawyer and a terrible FBI agent for that matter. For I am Lisa Bentley, the person who never quite cottons on to clues given in crime thriller novels. In essence, I am the perfect audience for crime fiction.

This brings me to the review of Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh. Holy moly, this is a great novel. Let’s forget that I didn’t solve the crime, yada yada yada, but instead look at the way Steve Cavanagh builds tension and suspense in his novel. The chapters are palatably sized, you are always kept wanting more, to read more. His dual narrative makes you think you know what is going on and what is going to happen next (you really don’t) and the added inserts about jury members keeps you on your toes and invariably keeps you guessing over who the bad guy is. All in all, Steve Cavanagh did good.

Thirteen is actually the fourth book in the Eddie Flynn series. I haven’t read the earlier books because as I have said, crime fiction is not really my genre of choice. If I was asked to recommend a book – which I very often am – and they want a crime/mystery/thriller, then Steve Cavanagh will be at the top of that list.

Read Thirteen. It will either make you feel really smart if you guess whodunit or like me it will make you marvel at someone else’s genius and not your lack of mad detective skills.

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh is available now.

For more information regarding Steven Cavanagh (@SSCav) please visit www.stevecavanagh.com.

For more information regarding Orion Books (@orionbooks) please visit www.orionbooks.co.uk.

Title: 13 Minutes

Author: Sarah Pinborough

Pages: 406 Pages

Publisher: Flatiron Books

The Blurb

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart.

Natasha doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal. Her two closest friends are acting strangely, and Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before when she got popular, to help her figure out what happened.

Natasha’s sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn’t try to kill her?

13 Minutes is a psychological thriller with a killer twist from the #1 internationally bestselling author Sarah Pinborough.

The Review

I am woeful when it comes to mysteries and thrillers. I can never figure out who the killer is or who the bad guy is. Now, I could say that it is my lack of skills that have led to my perpetual confusion or I can be more upbeat and positive and put it down to excellent writing. Reader, I choose the latter.

Sarah Pinborough’s wonderful 13 Minutes had me guessing to the very last page. I (incorrectly) guessed who the culprit was several times only to change my mind the next page. Pinborough masterfully filters in clues, red herrings, and massive shocks throughout. Her multi-perspective tale leaves you unsure who to trust and the way Pinborough slips from traditional narrative to text message adds an authenticity that her target audience (young adults/teens) will appreciate.

I really enjoyed 13 Minutes. It was a brilliant example of a genre that I am not really too comfortable with. If all mystery/thrillers were like 13 Minutes then I would be hooked and never feel the need to read beyond the genre.

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough is available now.

For more information regarding Sarah Pinborough (@SarahPinborough) please visit www.sarahpinborough.com.

For more information regarding Flatiron Books (@FlatironBooks) please visit www.flatironbooks.com.

Title: Handpicked (The Pledged Series, Book One)

Author: Dani Oden

Pages: 216 Pages

Publisher: Dani Oden

The Blurb

College freshman Jill Holloway takes one look at the stuck-up girls going through sorority rush and nearly returns her borrowed dress and heels. Against her best judgment, she ends up falling for the prestige and parties, and snagging a bid from a top house. After moving in, she quickly grows skeptical of her too-perfect sorority sisters. She tries to ask questions, but no one will take time from their busy social calendar to give her any real answers.

Jill wastes no time digging for everything she’s not supposed to find, and soon comes face-to-face with a big and bloody secret hidden in her sorority’s basement. She knows she’s in over her head, however taking off so soon would raise the perfectly-plucked eyebrows of her suspicious new sisters. She’s stuck until she can make a smooth exit.

The closer she gets to leaving, the more it becomes clear that it won’t be as simple as she hoped. A tempting fraternity guy, a best friend who needs her, and new details about what has really been happening in the basement have her questioning what her next move should be, and whether or not it’ll be worth the risks.

The Review

Handpicked is like a Scooby-Doo episode for a Y2K generation. It focuses on Jill, college freshman who is rushing a sorority but when spooky things start to happen she, along with friends Hannah and Lindy, begin to wonder if the sisterhood is really for them.

Handpicked is a really easy read. It is one of those books that you can get lost in but not feel overwhelmed by. You don’t feel guilty when you put it down to deal with real life stuff. Personally, I felt that it was a little anticlimactic but as it is the start of a series I am willing to forgive that. If you’re not into heavy literature and you just want a book to brighten your day then Dani Oden could be your next favourite author.

Handpicked (The Pledged Series, Book One) by Dani Oden is available now.

For more information regarding Dani Oden (@MsDaniOden) please visit her Twitter page.