In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 backlist books I’ve read or listened to recently. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews!
Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Simon and Schuster on June 6th 2017
Also by this author: All Our Yesterdays
Format: Hardcover (400 pages) • Source: Purchased
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A young, street-savvy runaway looking for a place to call home realizes he might have conned his way into the wrong family in this fast-paced and thrilling novel from award-winning author Cristin Terrill.
When ten-year-old Daniel Tate went missing from one of California's most elite communities, he left no trace. He simply vanished.
Six years later, when he resurfaces on a snowy street in Vancouver, he's no longer the same boy. His sandy hair is darker, the freckles are gone, and he's initially too traumatized to speak, but he's alive. His overjoyed family brings him home to a world of luxury and comfort he can barely remember. In time, they assure him, he'll recover his memories; all that matters now is they're together again.
It's perfect. A miracle. Except for one thing.
He isn't Daniel Tate.
He's a petty con artist who accidentally stumbled into the scam of a lifetime, and he soon learns he's not the only one in the Tate household with something to hide. The family has as many secrets as they have millions in the bank, and one of them might be ready to kill to keep the worst one buried.
I was pretty eager to get my hands on HERE LIES DANIEL TATE. I’ve thought about ALL OUR YESTERDAYS so much since I finished it a few years ago and have been hoping for a new book from Terrill. This one seriously did not disappoint! I expected something twisty that I couldn’t put down and I totally got that.
“Daniel” is the ultimate unreliable narrator. He blatantly lies, tells you that he was lying, and always implies that maybe some of the story isn’t even true. I can’t say too much about him or the plot without giving a lot away about what happens, but just know that his unreliability does not change. I still, weirdly, found myself liking him as a main character. Mia was super adorable and Nicholas was really interesting as well.
I have a few issues overall, but not much. I think the inclusion of some kind of “romance” was definitely not necessary. I mean, I can sort of see why it was included? Minor spoiler in italics: I think it was to show that the MC was really a normal human boy with feelings, or at least was starting to develop them. It added a little bit to his character because part of him really just wanted that normal life and experience of love. Anyways, it was such a small piece of the story that it didn’t really matter if it was there or not. My other issue is just with some of the other characters and their backstories, as well as some of the reveal. I think some pieces were slightly obvious but the whole thing didn’t click together for me until the very end when it was actually being revealed. View Spoiler »The whole incest piece was definitely surprising, but I kind of felt it throughout the book. Yuck. Definitely a twist you would HOPE wasn’t coming, but sort of knew it would. « Hide Spoiler
Overall, this book was a really solid, can’t-wait-to-see-what-happens kind of thriller. I liked learning about the complex other characters and wish there was even more background on them. The very end definitely caught me off guard and now I’m wondering if the whole thing even happened. What a crazy story! I hope for more from Cristin Terrill because she’s one of the best writers with the most unique story concepts.
Just Dreaming by Kerstin Gier
Series: Silver Trilogy #3
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Published by Macmillan on May 2nd 2017
Also by this author: Dream a Little Dream, Ruby Red, Dream On, A Castle in the Clouds
Format: Hardcover (320 pages) • Source: Library
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A dream traveler faces the greatest challenge she's yet encountered in this gripping third and final book of the Silver trilogy.
The course of dream travel never did run smooth—at least, not in Liv Silver's experience. Able to visit other people's dreams (whether they want her to or not), Liv has solved mysteries, unearthed difficult truths, fought madmen, and escaped life-threatening peril, all from the comfort of her own bed. But Liv's troubles are just beginning.
A rocky romance, a malicious blogger with a hidden identity, a wedding, and a classmate (or two) dead-set on revenge all await Liv in this action-packed conclusion to the Silver trilogy.
My bookish memory is always terrible, but I feel like it’s especially terrible when it comes to this series. The good thing is that Gier does a pretty good job of casually recapping at the beginning. I didn’t have too much trouble picking up where I left off. I was eager and excited to finish this series off!
My favorite part of this series is still the family! Her sister is so cute and the relationships between everyone are so great. The humor adds a really great layer to a story that could otherwise be super dark. I would definitely read more books from Mia’s perspective or something because she’s the cutest, funniest character. And incredibly smart! I was happy to see how Secrecy was revealed as well… I don’t remember the theory I developed in book two though, so who knows if I was right.
I had a feeling certain things may happen in this one, involving the whole dreams vs. reality thing. I expected a trope, so to speak, to appear at some point in the series. It didn’t really happen but I was intrigued by the direction this book took. I feel like it was sort of anticlimactic though, to be honest. I like series enders that have some good action and a thrilling conclusion. This one didn’t live up to that. Not a lot of actual interesting things happened throughout the book itself and the ending was like… really? That’s it? I have to say though, it doesn’t take away from how much I really enjoyed the journey. Each book has its own individual “issue” or main story, so I would highly recommend it overall still.
Same Beach, Next Year: A Novel by Dorothea Benton Frank
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Published by Harper Collins on May 16th 2017
Format: eBook (384 pages) • Source: Library
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New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank returns to her magical Lowcountry of South Carolina in this bewitching story of marriage, love, family, and friendship that is infused with her warm and engaging earthy humor and generous heart.
One enchanted summer, two couples begin a friendship that will last more than twenty years and transform their lives.
A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship—and flirt with an unexpected attraction—of their own.
Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl eagerly await their reunion at Wild Dunes, a condominium complex at the island’s tip end, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak. The devotion and love they share will help them weather the vagaries of time and enrich their lives as circumstances change, their children grow up and leave home, and their twilight years approach.
Bursting with the intoxicating richness of Dorothea Benton Frank’s beloved Lowcountry—the sultry sunshine, cool ocean breezes, icy cocktails, and starry velvet skies—Same Beach, Next Year is a dazzling celebration of the infrangible power of friendship, the enduring promise of summer, and the indelible bonds of love.
That was… not great. I have weird, mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I disliked all of the characters and thought the story was pretty boring. The writing felt weird, like the author let it spill out of her in one stream and not in a good way? On the other hand, I couldn’t stop reading. I finished it in a few good sittings and was always somewhat curious about what was going to happen.
Eliza and Adam had a nice relationship for a while! I liked their comfortable life together and their visits to the beach together. Things get interesting when Eve, his ex from high school, and her husband appear at the same c vacation condo complex. The pairs develop strong bonds throughout the years and are brought together each summer in the Lowcountry of SC. Some shit goes down and Adam is a fucking asshole/moron throughout 80% of the novel. He sees nothing wrong with his thoughts and feelings, but he’s a straight up turd.
I don’t want to spoil much, but there were some things at the end that were pretty unbelievable. Certain things passed RIGHT under the parents’ noses for 8+ years. It was absurd to read their conversations throughout the book, where everything felt formal and forced, but it was worse in the epilogue. Long story short – the writing wasn’t good either. I saw a Goodreads review that called it “contrived” and that’s exactly what it was. Everyone was oddly formal; I hated it.
I’m not sure I’d ever read another book by this author, even though it wasn’t all bad. My biggest issue was with her writing and I don’t think that will change from book to book. I’m okay with unlikable characters but it was hard to get in their heads and understand their motivations at least.