The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) by Maureen Johnson

“In life, the murderer is anyone. The reasons, the methods, the circumstances – the paths to becoming a murderer are as numerous as the stars.”

The Vanishing Stair was one of my most anticipated sequels for 2019 after falling absolutely in love with Truly Devious last fall. I was really excited to see what happened after that incredibly rude cliffhanger, and hoped to get more answers in this installment. 🕵️ I am pleased to say that we got some much-needed answers (& some new questions!), as well as more actual investigating, but overall this one fell into themiddle book syndrome for me. It was an enjoyable and I will finish the series, but if I am being honest I could have done without the first 40% of this book.

My friend Hamad @ Book Prescription summed up my feelings pretty well in his review:

“The Vanishing Stair was what I expected it to be; an unnecessary bridge to the third book and this whole series could have been a duology.”

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Pretty Little Liars (#1-4) by Sara Shepard

As you may have noticed, I’ve been reading the Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard for the first time and honestly rather enjoying myself! The television series was something that I loved until it got super convoluted and it was obvious no one had any idea where things were going. I legit watched closely like an investigator 🔍 and took notes to figure out who A was, but by the end of the series I was spite-watching it just to see how it ended. Spoiler alert: not well. Many people told me that the book series was better (which is often the case with adaptation) and completely different.

I wanted to do something a little different with my review for Pretty Little Liars. The way the series is written is each arc is really one story (so books 1-4 roughly follow seasons 1 and 2, ending with the first A reveal). It made the most sense to me to review the arcs of the series in one post, so here is my review for books 1-4 of Pretty Little Liars!

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Sadie by Courtney Summers

“You aren’t supposed to answer violence with more violence but sometimes I think violence is the only answer.”

😭😭😭 It’s been a bit over a week since I finished Sadie and I am still struggling to find the words to adequately review it. Friends this book took me completely by surprise in the best (and worst?) kind of way. Sadie by Courtney Summers was my first read of 2019 and I devoured it in one sitting. This is a powerful, unique, and sad story that tackles tough topics but provides some amazing representation. This book is definitely worth all of the hype it’s received and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

The book is told through alternating perspectives: a true crime podcast in the same vein as Serial and in Sadie’s perspective told months apart. Sadie is a nineteen year old girl that went missing after her younger sister was brutally murdered and West McCray essentially following Sadie’s trail for the podcast to try and find her.

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Night Shift by Robin Triggs

We had good cause for fear. This assignment was rapidly becoming a nightmare. Just a few days into the night shift and we already had a death on our hands.

Night Shift is more of a whodunit thriller story with some underdeveloped science fiction worldbuilding elements. The story is a spin on the And Then There Were None motif of a group of strangers are isolated from the outside and are picked off one by one. 13 people are working in Antarctica for what is known as the night shift: a six month period where the sun doesn’t rise and inclement weather isolates them completely from outside help.

This is a plot driven narrative told in the first person perspective of Anders and written well to keep the suspense throughout for the reader, and Triggs does a good job of expressing the characters’ paranoia through the text. I liked that the beginning started at the end with the tease of the terror about to unfold with the confidential memo.

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The Night Crossing by Robert Masello

“At night, the shadows run free.”

Friends, I was so excited to receive an advanced copy of The Night Crossing for review as I love spooky stories and historical fiction. A mysterious golden box, London in the late nineteenth century, and an evil that must be overcome are all ingredients that I love and I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, my expectations were not met: I found the writing a to be a bit lackluster and I struggled to connect with the characters. While I found the overall plot to be interesting, I struggled to find the desire to read… and the last 25% of the book infuriated me to no end.

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