Review: Black Dawn (Morganville #12) by Rachel Caine

Review: Black Dawn (Morganville #12) by Rachel Caine
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The Morganville vampires are fighting a losing war, and it will fall to the residents of the Glass House: Michael, Eve, Shane and Claire, to take the fight to an enemy who threatens to destroy the town, forever.

For the first time in the Morganville books, this one carries on with the same subplot as the book before it. Usually, the books kind of wrap up at the end of each, and just leave a small something for the next one to continue with. Here, we have two books taking up one subplot, but it really works. The story Caine started in Last Breath definitely needs time to finish!

There was a very emotional aspect of this book that is possibly one of my favourites, if not my absolute favourite part of the whole series. Shane is a big focus in this (trying not to give giant spoilers here!), and I felt so deeply connected to the characters because of it.

‘”News flash, lady. There are no queens anymore,” Shane said. He loaded shells in a shotgun and snapped it shut, then searched for a place to strap it on that didn’t interfere with the flamethrower.’

This plotline is just epic, and I was once again kept guessing and on the edge of my seat. I think it’s just getting predictable again, and then Caine will throw me a massive twist that makes me react out loud. What a feat. And alongside this, we had numerous subplots (romantic, political, etc) that kept me interested.

These books might be fun and I do love them so much, but they’re not without their problems. Sometimes I struggle to find the things that keep the group tied to Morganville, especially in the middle of chaos like this. Like why not just leave? Even though my niggles have explanations, it doesn’t stop the annoyances sometimes.

‘”No queens, no kings, no emperors. Not in America. Only CEOs. Same thing, but not so many crowns.”’

I think it’s because this series is so long that despite my small annoyances, Morganville always feels like coming home. I can’t quite believe I only have a few books left, because I’ll definitely be sad to leave it behind completely!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Last Breath (Morganville #11) by Rachel Caine

Review: Last Breath (Morganville #11) by Rachel Caine
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Claire finds out that vampires aren’t the top predators. There’s something worse that preys on them. So if Claire and Morganville want to live, they will have to fight on to the last breath.

Wow. So this book turns Morganville on it’s head, and I’m impressed. Caine’s ingenuity is amazing, and the fact she keeps coming up with new and refreshing ideas for this small town astounds me.

There’s definitely something different about this book that the series really needed in my opinion. I’ve been feeling the tension throughout the whole series, but it ramps up so much in this one. There’s an overall feeling of hopelessness, and of real possibility of loss. I think the fact we now have multiple viewpoints puts everyone’s life on the line, and it’s kept me so interested in the series.

‘”Yes,” she whispered back. “I promise.”‘

Without giving away any massive spoilers, something massive happens in this book. Something I never saw coming, and made me question the comfortable routine I’ve got into with this series. Because the series is so long, it’s easy to expect everything will be okay in the end. But honestly, not anymore. I was shocked. I gasped out loud.

Talking of those other points of view, I loved them! Not only do we have our group of friends, but also an insight into Amelie’s head, the Founder of Morganville. She’s one of those characters you never know how to feel about, and it was great to find out more about her inner workings. Despite her flaws, I really love and admire her as a character!

‘And she kissed him, and kissed him, and kissed him, while the sun came up and bathed Morganville in one last, shining day.’

This series, that I thought had found it’s gentle rhythm, has been revitalised for me. What an awakening, and a new taste of a great series.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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T5W: Friends in Sci Fi and Fantasy

T5W: Friends in Sci Fi and Fantasy

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Lainey. You get a new topic every Wednesday, and you list your Top 5 books related to that topic. If you’d like to take part, join the Goodreads group, and add your name to the list of bloggers & booktubers!

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When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he’s the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord’s curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts, a wizarding school brimming with ghosts and enchantments, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers which could be valuable, dangerous – or both. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

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Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .
A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

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It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.
Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…
Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Which friendships do you love in sci-fi or fantasy?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James

Review: The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James
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How far would you go to save those you love?
Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artefacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion. 
Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice . . .

Lauren James is an auto-buy author for me. I loved The Next Together and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was one of my favourite books of 2017, so I picked up The Quiet at the End of the World pretty much as soon as it came out. And trust me, Lauren hasn’t disappointed.

Again, we have a female protagonist who loves engineering, which I admire so much. It’s so important and yet unfortunately uncommon to see female main characters in YA like Lowrie, and we need more of her to inspire future readers. And the diversity doesn’t stop there, with a bi main character, British/Asian main characters and a trans character. The Quiet even explores class boundaries.

‘Maybe that’s what matters. Maybe that’s what being “alive” is. It’s not some trick.’

I’m constantly on edge with Lauren’s books and she honestly writes plot twists like no one else! I was again left on the edge of my seat with this book, and it kept me so interested that I finished it in just a few days.

But alongside a fast-paced and thoroughly entertaining plot, Lauren manages to explore some of the deepest subjects humanity can comprehend – namely what makes us human. To throw such a huge topic in but not make the reader feel overwhelmed is beyond me.

‘There’s no magic chemical that gives something a soul. It’s about being loved and loving in return.’

This book was hopeful, lighthearted and emotional at times. I related so much to Lowrie and Shen, and ended up close to tears at some scenes. The uniqueness of the concept is astounding, and I endlessly admire Lauren for her ingenuity and creativity. The Quiet has quickly become one of my favourite books of 2019 so far!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #90

Stacking the Shelves #90

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought this week. Find out more and join in here!

You might look at this book today and think ‘hang on, didn’t you buy the other copy of this a few weeks ago?!’ Guilty, I did. But I have my reasons for picking up another version!

  1. The special edition is so precious and beautiful, I knew I’d panic about damaging it if I tried to read it.
  2. How beautiful is this cover? As soon as I saw it, I knew I’d like a normal hardback at some point too.
  3. I walked into a supermarket and there it was! Supermarkets are always a great place to buy books cheaply in the UK, and I couldn’t resist.
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All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.
Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.

Have you bought any books this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let’s Discuss! My YALC TBR pt. 2

Let’s Discuss! My YALC TBR pt. 2

As I discussed on Tuesday’s post, I’m super excited for many trips this year including going to YALC 2019. YALC stands for the Young Adult Literature Convention and is kind of the only one of it’s kind in the UK. It’s like YALLFest or Bookcon for us. I’ve been twice before, but only travelled down to London for one of the three days. But this year, I’m going to be staying down with my lovely friend Chloe for the whole convention!

The other day we discussed books on my TBR by authors I’ve already read, but today I’m talking about authors who are brand new to me.

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Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors. 
Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants. 

I’ve wanted to read this ever since it came out, and I’m so excited for it! I haven’t read all of the authors before, so it’ll be a good way to check out some new writers for me.

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In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.
These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.
Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

Most of my YALC TBR is probably fantasy, and I love that! I saw this one and couldn’t resist.

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Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.
But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

I’ve had my eye on this since the release, isn’t it beautiful? I’ve only heard good things about it so I’m really looking forward to picking it up.

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Sephy is a Cross: dark-skinned and beautiful, she lives a life of privilege and power. But she’s lonely, and burns with injustice at the world she sees around her.
Callum is a nought: pale-skinned and poor, he’s considered to be less than nothing – a blanker, there to serve Crosses – but he dreams of a better life.
They’ve been friends since they were children, and they both know that’s as far as it can ever go. Noughts and Crosses are fated to be bitter enemies – love is out of the question.
Then – in spite of a world that is fiercely against them – these star-crossed lovers choose each other.
But this is love story that will lead both of them into terrible danger . . . and which will have shocking repercussions for generations to come.

I know, I’m a disgrace for not having read this book before! It seems like every YA reader in the UK has, and it’s definitely about time I pick it up.

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Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.
But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective. 
Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

I love the look of this book, contemporary with a twist is just what I like in contemporary now!

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Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Another fantasy that sounds so intruiging.

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Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. 
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

I’ve only heard good things about Schwab, and I feel like I’m so late to the party with her books. I’m excited to pick this one up!

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A century ago, scientists theorised that a habitable planet existed in a nearby solar system. Today, ten astronauts will leave a dying Earth to find it. Four are decorated veterans of the 20th century’s space-race. And six are teenagers, graduates of the exclusive Dalton Academy, who’ve been in training for this mission for most of their lives.
It will take the team 23 years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years spent in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong.

I was so drawn into this cover and synopsis. It sounds so intriguing and like something I’ll love.

Are you going to YALC?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let’s Discuss! My YALC TBR pt. 1

Let’s Discuss! My YALC TBR pt. 1

Hi all! I am so excited because I have so many trips this year, including going to YALC 2019. YALC stands for the Young Adult Literature Convention and is kind of the only one of it’s kind in the UK. It’s like YALLFest or Bookcon for us. I’ve been twice before, but only travelled down to London for one of the three days. But this year, I’m going to be staying down with my lovely friend Chloe for the whole convention!

I’m super excited, and now the authors have been announced I’ve planned my TBR. Considering there are over 80 authors going (yes, 80!), I’m quite impressed I’ve managed to cut my TBR down to just 13 books. Obviously if I can manage more books then I’ll consider adding to the list, but for now I’m focusing on those. Today’s post is about books by authors I’ve read before, and later in the week I’ll be chatting about new authors for me!

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How far would you go to save those you love?
Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artefacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion. 
Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice . . .

This book is the only one on my TBR I actually already own. I’ve loved Lauren’s other books The Next Together and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, and I’m super excited for this one.

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The epic conclusion to Lauren James’s debut The Next Together about true love and reincarnation.
Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives.
But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?
For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future, and failure could cost the world everything.

Talking of The Next Together, I definitely need to finish of the series! Meeting Lauren at YALC will actually be my third time meeting her, so this will be my only book of hers that won’t already be signed.

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Frances Janvier spends most of her time studying.
Everyone knows Aled Last as that quiet boy who gets straight As.
You probably think that they are going to fall in love or something. Since he is a boy and she is a girl.
They don’t. They make a podcast.
In a world determined to shut them up, knock them down, and set them on a cookie cutter life path, Frances and Aled struggle to find their voices over the course of one life-changing year. Will they have the courage to show everyone who they really are? Or will they be met with radio silence?

I met Alice a couple of weeks ago and had my paperback of Heartstopper signed, but I’d love to pick up some of her other books.

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In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.
Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

It’s honestly been years since I read The Wrath and the Dawn, but I absolutely loved it. The chance to actually meet Renee Ahdieh might kickstart me to pick this one up!

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Ellery’s never been to Echo Ridge, but she’s heard all about it. It’s where her aunt went missing at age sixteen, never to return. Where a Homecoming Queen’s murder five years ago made national news. And where Ellery now has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, after her failed-actress mother lands in rehab. No one knows what happened to either girl, and Ellery’s family is still haunted by their loss.
Malcolm grew up in the shadow of the Homecoming Queen’s death. His older brother was the prime suspect and left Echo Ridge in disgrace. His mother’s remarriage vaulted her and Malcolm into Echo Ridge’s upper crust, but their new status grows shaky when mysterious threats around town hint that a killer plans to strike again. No one has forgotten Malcolm’s brother-and nobody trusts him when he suddenly returns to town.
Ellery and Malcolm both know it’s hard to let go when you don’t have closure. Then another girl disappears, and Ellery and Malcolm were the last people to see her alive. As they race to unravel what happened, they realize every secret has layers in Echo Ridge. The truth might be closer to home than either of them want to believe.
And somebody would kill to keep it hidden.

I’ve been wanting to read this since it’s release, and I’m super excited for it. I loved One of Us is Lying, so it’ll be interesting to see what Karen has thought up now!

Are you going to YALC?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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