ARC August Reviews: In Nightfall and The Blonde Identity

Posted August 16, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

ARC August Reviews: In Nightfall and The Blonde IdentityIn Nightfall by Suzanne Young
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Published by Penguin Random House on March 28, 2023
Also by this author: Just Like Fate, The Program, The Treatment, The Remedy, Hotel Ruby, The Epidemic, The Adjustment, The Complication , Girls with Sharp Sticks, Girls with Razor Hearts
Format: eARC, Paperback (384 pages) • Source: Publisher, Purchased
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In the quaint town of Nightfall, Oregon, it isn't the dark you should be afraid of—it's the girls. The Lost Boys meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this propulsive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Treatment .

Theo and her brother, Marco, threw the biggest party of the year. And got caught. Their punishment? Leave Arizona to spend the summer with their grandmother in the rainy beachside town of Nightfall, Oregon—population 846 souls.

The small town is cute, when it’s not raining, but their grandmother is superstitious and strangely antisocial. Upon their arrival she lays out the one house always be home before dark. But Theo and Marco are determined to make the most of their summer, and on their first day they meet the enigmatic Minnow and her friends. Beautiful and charismatic, the girls have a magnetic pull that Theo and her brother can't resist.

But Minnow and her friends are far from what they appear.
And that one rule? Theo quickly realizes she should have listened to her grandmother. Because after dark, something emerges in Nightfall. And it doesn’t plan to let her leave.

As everyone around here knows, I’m a huge fan of Suzanne Young and all of her books. She’s such a talented writer and her prose is so accessible (definitely mean that as a compliment – I read her stories SO quickly!). IN NIGHTFALL is a bit different for her in some ways, and different for my reading tastes as well… which I loved!

The story follows Theo and her brother Marco as they head to Nightfall, Oregon with their father for the summer as punishment for a big party they threw. Her dad is originally from there and his mom lives there, so they stay with her. She’s been an enigma in the kids’ lives and they’re basically meeting her for the first time. She’s prickly and has a lot of weird rules, like don’t stay out after dark and don’t talk with the locals. Naturally both of them ignore these rules and immediately fall in with some local teens.

The town (and most people there) are really creepy and mysterious. There are some upcoming traditions that they want Theo and Marco to partake in, as well as their nightly parties on the beach. Theo starts to feel like something weird is in the air in Nightfall and these two podcasters in town for the Midnight Dive event are investigating it as well.

The book is a little creepy but breezy and easy to read as well. I really liked the tension being slowly turned up throughout the book as Theo kind of pieces together what’s going on. This book is compared to Buffy and The Lost Boys (neither of which I’ve seen), so you can likely assume what happens next.

I don’t have too much to say about this one for some reason but I just enjoyed the experience of reading it! The characters were interesting to follow along (if a little shallow in some ways) and the ending was a bit of an info-dump in spots, but I really liked reading it. I blazed through most of the book in a morning on the beach. I’d recommend it if you enjoy any of the comp titles/shows I mentioned or Suzanne Young’s books in general!

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

ARC August Reviews: In Nightfall and The Blonde IdentityThe Blonde Identity by Ally Carter
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Avon Books on August 8, 2023
Also by this author: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, My True Love Gave To Me, Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover, Only the Good Spy Young, All Fall Down, Out of Sight, Out of Time, United We Spy, See How They Run, Take the Key and Lock Her Up, Not If I Save You First
Format: eARC, Hardcover (304 pages) • Source: Publisher, Purchased
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A fast-paced, hilarious road trip rom-com about a woman with amnesia who discovers she's the identical twin sister of a rogue spy... and must team up with a rugged, grumpy operative to stay alive.

It's the middle of the night in the middle of Paris and a woman just woke up with no memory.

She only knows three things for certain:

1. She has a splitting headache.

2. The hottest guy she has (probably) ever seen is standing over her, telling her to run.

And oh yeah...

3. People keep trying to kill her.

She doesn't know who. Or why. But when she sees footage of herself fighting off a dozen men there's only one explanation: obviously. . . she's a spy!

Except, according to Mr. Hot Guy, she's not. She's a spy's identical twin sister.

Too bad the only person who knows she's not the woman they're looking for is this very grouchy, very sexy, very secret agent who (reluctantly) agrees to help her disappear.

That's easier said than done when a criminal organization wants you dead and every intelligence service in the world wants you caught. Luckily, no one is looking for a pair of lovesick newlyweds on their honeymoon. And soon they're lying their way across Europe--dodging bullets and faking kisses as they race to unravel a deadly conspiracy and clear her sister's name.

But with every secret they uncover, the truth shifts, until she no longer knows who to trust: the twin she can't remember or the mysterious man she can't let herself forget...

I absolutely adore Ally Carter – she’s one of my OG favorite authors thanks to the Gallagher Girls series as well as literally everything else she’s written since! Her first adult novel promised similar elements to GG and I was sold even before knowing that. As a result, I really expected to totally love this one. Unfortunately, it ended up being just okay for me.

The female main character has amnesia when the book opens so she has no idea who she is or what she’s doing in Paris. She’s quickly swept up by a spy who she is instantly attracted to. They are running from bad guys throughout the book because our FMC has a twin sister who is also some kind of spy, and they’re really looking for her. The FMC was SO annoying – I understand she had amnesia so maybe that’s why she sounded so innocent/immature but it was really grating. There were so many times I just wanted her to be quiet. I also really loathe when someone polices other people’s swearing. Please grow up!!! The male main character was also annoying with his constant use of “sweetheart” and (worse) “lady.” It just made me cringe, along with most of the romance. I was really hoping this would be a good segue into romantic suspense as a genre but it didn’t really do it for me.

I liked the overall PLOT quite a bit, but the characters are what prevents me from giving this a higher rating. It was fun in general to watch people get chased around Europe and use some spy skills – there were some fun vibes that honestly made me want to watch an action movie soon. I enjoyed the final 30% of the book too for the most part, so it ended on a high note for me too.

Overall, definitely a bit disappointed by Carter’s adult debut but I think the main character reading like a teenager didn’t help the cause. I’d be curious to read the next book if this turned into a series (the ending makes me think maybe) but I’d love for it to follow her sister instead.

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