N34RLY GONE

 Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. This is my favorite mystery/thriller of the year, last year, the year before. . .Okay, so I don’t really read mysteries, but now I want to! NEARLY GONE is still one of my favorite books of the year so far, in any genre. 

The characters were great. Nearly, who goes by Leigh, is a complicated girl with a lot of issues. I respect girls with issues, and I really respect Leigh. Once she meets Reece Whelan, the hottie badass who may or may not be trying to put her in jail for murder, it was over. I was hooked. That boy is so complex, multifaceted, and endearing. He is a boy with issues, and he deals with those issues in so many good ways. Not only that, he falls for Leigh really fast. Then he does everything he can to protect her. I really liked that about this book. Leigh is a tough girl who can stand up for herself. Despite that, there is so much crazy dangerous stuff going down she still needs a bad boy to keep her safe!

The mystery-thriller plot is really well done. Fans of murder mysteries, TV shows like Bones, NCIS, Dexter, and CSI will definitely love this story. I had no idea who the murderer was until the very end! The author will keep you guessing, keep you turning those pages, and you’ll love every minute of it. 

Some readers might not like the paranormal aspect – Leigh’s “tasting” feelings/thoughts/emotions. I thought it was well done and added something different to the story. A weird paranormal spice thrown over the murder mystery. Maybe not your cup of tea, but I think it might actually bring in a lot of readers who wouldn’t normally pick up a thriller. 

I did have one little issue with the plot. Leigh didn’t seem to feel much remorse or guilt for her classmates’ deaths. There could be a lot of reasons for this, but I still think the story would have benefited from Leigh showing some more guilt once the victims’ identities are made perfectly clear. I won’t say why, because I don’t want to spoil anything, but still – it had to be noted that the girl doesn’t really seem to feel bad about it. Just a little bit strange. 

Overall, NEARLY GONE is a well-written murder mystery with great characters and a lot of intensity. If you’re looking for a new paranormal romance, a page-turning mystery, or a book about hard life issues, this is the book for you.

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REVIEW: Lockwood & Co. – The Screaming Staircase

13555073The Screaming Staircase was a very well done start to what will definitely be a fascinating and exciting series.

Lockwood and Lucy are the top agents in a paranormal/psychological investigation agency. They are ghost-hunters. Ghosts are a plague, an epidemic in London and it’s up to young people like Lockwood’s team to take them out, help them to the other side, and protect people. 

The author knows what he’s doing, and combines great writing skills with well-rounded characters and an interesting almost-dystopic-Britain setting. The language is quirky and complex, with just the right amount of paranormal, ghost-hunting jargon. The protagonists are a perfect pair of mis-matched teens, always at each others throats but ready to take a hit for each other, too. The secondary characters are interesting enough to stand alone. The ghost-infested city of London is altogether creepy and tantalizing.

The cases that Lockwood and his team take on – both to help people and to make money to keep their agency running – are always creepy and compelling page-turners. The mysteries seem a little predictable, but then hit you with a twist. Lucy’s point of view keeps the repetition of the case->adventure->solved->basecamp routine from becoming dull.

Think Harry Potter, Sherlock, and Ghostbusters all mashed together: that’s Lockwood & Co. It’s a great new series that middle schoolers, teens, and adults will love.