Posts Tagged 'murder'



The Naturals by Jennifer Barnes

the-naturals

 

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  308

RAC: Yes

Cassie has relied on her ability to read people since the mysterious disappearance of her mother five years ago.  She is surprised, however, when she is recruited to join an elite team in the FBI made up of teens with similar special abilities called The Naturals.  Cassie will be trained as a profiler for the FBI to use on cold cases.  She feels it is important for her to do this since her mother’s disappearance and presumed murder is still unsolved.  Once she starts training, however, she is pulled into an ongoing serial murder investigation in which the killer seems to be taunting the teens in the naturals.  More alarmingly, the case seems to be connected to her mother’s case.  Can they solve the murders or will Cassie become the next victim?

Fans of mysteries will love this new title as it combines an intriguing mystery story with tons of great, albeit mysterious characters so that Cassie does not know whom she can really trust.  The ending is very satisfying and will surprise most of the readers no matter how diligently they have followed the clues leading up to the exciting climax.  The book sets itself up well to become a series which is good because readers will want to see more of these naturals.  Recommended.

Flame by Amy Kathleen Ryan

flame

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  326

RAC:  Yes

In the third installment of the Sky Chasers Series, everyone is on the New Horizon since the Empyrean was destroyed in the last book.  Anne Mathers is trying to promote peace, but she has both Waverly and Kieran under armed guard at all times since she doesn’t trust their motives.  Both of them are living with their mothers, but they seem a bit off and Waverly wonders what exactly has been done to them to make them so agreeable to everything the New Horizon suggests to them.  Meanwhile, Seth has landed on his own on the ship and has been on the run ever since.  His arm is badly damaged and is in danger of infection, but he just cannot bear to turn himself in.  Everyone on the ship is divided over the conditions they are living in.  Some believe the New Horizon did what they had to to ensure survival while others believe it wrong how they used murder and drugs to get everything they wanted for the Empyrean and the poor girls they violated.  Everyone does want to live peacefully, but can they overcome their past in order to move forward and work toward that goal?  Will Waverly and Kieran end up together just like everyone always planned?

The conclusion of this series is just as exciting as the rest with many close calls for Kieran and Seth especially.  Waverly and Kieran want to move on and promote a peaceful existence, but it is difficult to forget what they have been through and all of their shipmates who died in the process.  Anne Mathers is losing control of her ship, but for the first time Waverly starts to see who exactly created the evil persona she has become.  There are many surprises and the ending is far from predictable, which should intrigue fans.  Overall, it was a very satisfying ending to a fun and creative story.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

miss peregrine

Genre:  Supernatural

# of Pages:  382

RAC:  Yes

As a child Jacob was always told fantastic stories about the orphanage his grandfather grew up in headed by Miss Peregrine.  He even had photos depicting the many hidden talents of the children who came to live there including levitation, invisibility, and incredible strength.  As Jacob grew up he began to doubt his grandfather’s stories, but   nevertheless he and his grandfather were very close until the day he received a frantic call from his grandfather claiming he needed to get into his gun safe.  Jacob went to see him thinking it was merely an episode of senility brought on by old age, but when he arrived he sees his grandfather has been murdered by a creature he has never see or heard of before. After, his parents send Jacob to a psychiatrist to help him through the trauma he has experienced and he ends up deciding to go visit the little island where his grandfather’s stories came from.  He hopes this trip will bring him closure, but what he sees when he gets to this place is most unexpected and Jacob finds himself pulled into the past on that fateful day when Miss Peregrine’s home had become yet another casualty of WWII.  Were his grandfather’s stories true?  How is Jacob connected to all of this?

This is truly a very unique story that blends the present and the past through actual photos recovered from past archives and attics.  The characters and the story pull the reader in simply because it is so different than a lot of fiction out there currently.  The underlying problems and motivations of the characters are very relatable to everyone, but yet they are manifested through very unusual circumstances.  Fans of mystery, historical fiction, and supernatural fiction will all enjoy this title.

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

The Rules for Disappearing

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  312

RAC:  Yes

Meg and her sister, Mary, have been moved from one location to another multiple times over the past year since their family was placed in witness protection.  Each time they must change their names and backstories so that no one has any idea where they came from.  They do not know why they are in witness protection and Meg blames her father for whatever he did that landed them in this hellish situation.  Mary has begun withdrawing and their mother has started drinking heavily.  The reason for why they have to be moved so many times is elusive to them too and Meg has about had it with being ignorant about their own situation.  When they move this time she vows to remain neutral and distant so that she does not become attached to anyone or anything, but that becomes very difficult when she meets Ethan…  Can she stand to lose him if they get moved in the middle of the night again?  How can she ever make him understand why she acts the way she does?

This book is highly exciting and engaging as you learn the reason for why Meg and her family are in witness protection in the first place.  People are obviously looking for them and Meg often feels as if people are watching her.  At the same time, she is beginning to feel angry and bitter about spending her senior year going from school to school, working an after school job to keep her family financially afloat, and taking care of her family emotionally.  Once the reality of their situation is revealed, Meg feels responsible to fix their situation even if it means putting herself in danger to do so.  The ending is very dramatic, but a tad quick.  Most readers will be satisfied by the resolution at the end of the story.  Recommended for everyone, but reluctant readers will enjoy.

Six Years by Harlan Coben

six years

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  351

RAC:  Yes

Jake Fisher thought he met the girl of his dreams while he was away trying to write his dissertation.  They had a wonderful summer together and he believed they would spend their lives together.  Then, one day she announces that she is going back to her old boyfriend and a few days later Jake receives a wedding invitation to her wedding.  He cannot believe this is happening and has to see it with his own eyes.  When he goes to the wedding she makes him promise not to bother her or her husband ever again.  He promises and does nothing for six years, but then one day he sees the obituary for the man he saw Natalie marry.  He decides to go to the funeral and does not see Natalie as the grieving widow, but instead sees a woman who has been married to this man for many years and they have two teenage kids together.  Where is Natalie?  Why was her husband married to someone else?

Coben has done it again with this exciting mystery.  Jake’s journey takes off immediately after learning that Natalie’s husband is dead.  The more he investigates and looks for her, however, the more dead ends and questions he has.  No one seems to know where Natalie is and some people do not seem to believe she existed in the first place.  The story twists and turns like all of Coben’s best mysteries do and the ending is full of surprises that will satisfy mystery fans.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

name of the star

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

# of Pages:  372

RAC: Yes

Rory goes to England with her parents for her senior year of high school and enrolls in a private boarding school in London.  She hits it off with her roommate and finds that she fits in pretty well with their different classes and overall school schedules.  Shortly after she arrives, however, a terrible murder is committed mimicking Jack the Ripper’s first murder that occurred many years prior to this on the same date.  Despite London having over a million cameras throughout the city there is a shocking lack of evidence.  Rory and her new friends live close to where all of these murders occurred and therefore get caught up in the fear that sweeps over London.  Can they find the Jack the Ripper impersonator?  Will the murders continue and everyone be helpless to stop it?

This book was highly suspenseful, entertaining, and unique.  The idea itself captures most people’s interest as Jack the Ripper is one of the most famous unidentified serial killers and the hysteria that sweeps the public is completely believable.  The actual revelation of who is committing the murders is unique and yet plausible.  The characters are all likable and the ending sets up the series for many more titles to come.  This book was named an Iowa Teen Award winner for this year and is highly recommended.

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

lying game

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  307

RAC:  Yes

Emma is a foster child who was abandoned by her mother at a young age.  Sutton is Emma’s long lost twin sister she didn’t know she had until Sutton had already mysteriously vanished.  Emma is lured to Sutton’s town thinking she is going to meet Sutton and instead she is threatened and told if she doesn’t pretend to be Sutton she will die.  As Sutton begins to learn more about the kind of person Sutton is she wonders if this is some kind of elaborate prank or if something terrible really has happened to her twin.  Whom can she trust among Sutton’s friends and family?  Would one of them hurt her and threaten her twin into taking her place?

Fans of Sara Shepard will enjoy this title as much as her others.  The story is intriguing, there are many characters who have reason to hate Sutton, and the plot constantly twists and turns.  The only thing readers might not like it waiting for the next one in the series!  Recommended for high school girls.

Department Nineteen by Will Hill

department-19

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  540

RAC:  Yes

Jamie Carpenter witnessed his father’s murder a few years before the story begins and ever since he and his mother have believed that his father had been a traitor to the country.  On the night his father died, he witnessed some strange phenomena outside his house, but had since convinced himself he was hallucinating.  That changes when he is attacked by a vampire and barely escapes only to find his mother has been taken by one of the most powerful vampires in the world.  Then, he learns of a secret organization called Department Nineteen that takes care of creatures most people do not believe exist.  Despite the fact that many people believe his father is a traitor, he is welcomed in and allowed to train briefly in order to go after his mother.  Does he have what it takes to fight vampires for his government?

This book has been named an Iowa Award Winner for 2013-2014 and it is easy to see why.  Fans of fantasy enjoy the back story of this book as well as the truly colorful characters (Frankenstein is an actual employee at Department 19).  There are many twists and turns in the story and the action is almost continual.  This book sets up the possibility for many more to come.  Recommended.

The Agency: a spy in the house by Y.S. Lee

a spy in the house

Genre:  Mystery/Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  335

RAC:  Yes

This title was recently named to the Iowa High School Award Winners for 2013-2014.  The first in this series, Mary is rescued from a death sentence for stealing in 1853 by a woman who runs a special school for young girls.  After many years of schooling, Mary is taken into a special program designed to turn young women into spies.  Her first assignment is to be the paid companion of a wealthy teenage girl who is ungrateful for the company at best.  As Mary enters the house she is supposed to keep her ears open for information about the family business and whether or not they are really suffering from as many lost ships as they claim, but in the end she overhears much more than that.  She also meets another spy trying to dig up information on this family.  Will he be a threat or an ally?  Can Mary perfect her spying skills in order to become a permanent fixture in this alliance?

Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this title because it is set in a unique time period while also including intrigue and mystery.  The story moves fairly quickly and the ending is exciting.  The final revelation of who is behind the lost ships is surprising, but also a bit confusing in the details for some young readers.  Mary’s background is touched on, but readers will look for more to be revealed in the future sequels.

What The Night Knows by Dean Koontz

dean_koontz_what_the_night_knows1

Genre:  Suspense/Mystery/Fantasy

# of Pages:  442

RAC:  Yes

Many years before the book starts, a terrible serial killer named Alton Turner Blackwood murdered four families within mere weeks.  He was only stopped because he was killed by the final survivor in the final family who was a fourteen-year-old boy.  Years later that boy grew up to be a detective and he has a family of his own.  Now, he feels very strongly that a recent murder resembles the first murder by Blackwood all those years ago.  He is not the detective on the case, but the more he looks around the more the resemblance is uncanny.  If he is right, other families will be murdered very quickly and his will be the final as the killer’s unfinished business.  The question he struggles with is how this is happening as the original killer was murdered and many of the facts in the case were sealed.  Is it a copycat or has Blackwood somehow returned to finish the job he started?

Fans or mystery and suspense will enjoy this very intriguing story.  Early on, all of the family members feel something is wrong and question their safety.  It’s unusual they do not discuss these fears with each other, however.  The ending is very satisfying and exciting as everything comes together quickly.  This title has been named an Iowa Award winner for 2013-2014.

Suspect by Robert Crais

suspect

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

# of Pages:  309

RAC Book:  Yes

Scott James is an LAPD cop who got caught in the middle of a shoot out on a deserted street in the middle of the night.  His partner was killed and he was badly injured and left for dead.  Despite being encouraged to take a medical discharge, Scott pushes to remain in the department and gets moved to the K9 unit.  The dog he chooses, Maggie, was in a terrible shootout as well in Iraq in which her carrier was killed and she was injured trying to protect him.  They both have some post traumatic stress and scar tissue to work with.  Scott learns some new cops have taken over his case and they want to discuss it with him.  Can he finally get to the bottom of what happened?  Will he ever avenge his partner and come to grips with the guilt he has for surviving when she didn’t?  Will Maggie ever trust a new carrier?

Fans of mystery writers such as Harlan Coben will enjoy this title.  It moves quickly and has a lot of suspense and drama. The actual ending seems a bit quick, but the resolution is satisfying.  The progression of details keeps the reader interested and the inclusion of the dog to the case helps Scott more than once.  Recommended for mystery fans.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Genre:  Suspense/Mystery

# of Pages:  294

RAC:  Yes

This take on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, features 10 teenagers who were lured to a weekend house on an island for a party that they find out was never happening.  Instead, they start getting killed off one by one in extremely odd fashion.  Meg accompanied her friend, Minnie, to the party even thought she had some reservations to begin with.  She is also the only one who tries to think of constructive ways to get off of this island.  All of her ideas are thwarted, however.  There is no power, Internet, phone service, radios, or any way to contact the outside world.  They have ascertained they are indeed alone on the island which means the killer is among them.  How can they survive if they do not even know who or what the threat is?

This mystery is still a lot of fun even with the updated characters.  They all have past issues that all teen readers can relate to and in most cases those issues contribute to why they are on this island.  There are some plot revelations that are fairly predictable, but the suspense and overall pacing of the story will keep readers interested all the way until the very end.  A fun mystery story.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Genre:  Romance/Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  549

RAC:  Yes

     Ismae was born with terrible scars on her back because her father is Death and her mother tried to have her killed before she was born.   Later, Ismae’s stepfather sells her into a terrible arranged marriage.  Once her new husband sees her scars he believes Ismae to be cursed and starts to beat her.  She is rescued and sent to a convent where everyone works for Death.  Ismae comes to find she has talents for working as an assassin whenever Death shows her the mark that someone should die.  She is sent on a mission to help a man named Gavriel to protect a young girl who has recently taken power over a big nation.  Ismae knows there is a traitor amongst the duchess’s advisors, but is not as prepared for the task as she thought she would be.  Can Ismae find the traitor who threatens to put an entire kingdom in jeopardy before it is overtaken by enemies?  Can she trust Gavriel as her convent believes or is he in fact hiding any secrets of his own?

     This book is getting a lot of attention because it is engaging right from the beginning.  Any reader naturally wants to know more about Ismae’s skills as well as who is betraying the young duchess.  The characters are all memorable, which is important in a book with so many characters any of which could be the traitor.   The ending is satisfying and readers will want to see more of this character to find out what she is capable of.  Fans of Graceling and Star Crossed will enjoy this title as well.

The Silence of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackall

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  323

RAC Book:  Yes

Hope has a tough home life, but she never fails to look after her mute, autistic brother, Jeremy.  Her life turns upside down when Jeremy is accused of murdering the high school baseball coach with his bat.  She has T.J., her best friend, and Chase, the sheriff’s son she secretly has a crush on, to help her prove Jeremy’s innocence.  The evidence against Jeremy is overwhelming and he is not speaking to help explain what happened. Meanwhile, their neglectful mother obviously believes her son is guilty.   Can Hope prove her brother is innocent without pushing everyone away? Can she come to terms with the situation if he is in fact guilty?

This mystery has many great elements that will keep readers interested. First of all, there are many surprising plot developments revealed as Hope investigates what happened that fateful morning. The empty jars Jeremy collects provide a unique and interesting way of understanding Jeremy and of helping Hope learn what really happened to the coach. There are also many great characters with multiple dimensions and motivations including Jeremy’s lawyer, Chase, TJ, and Jeremy.   The truth is in front of the reader the whole time, but Hope has to put the pieces together. Overall, a good mystery.

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  248

RAC Book:  Yes

Willa hasn’t seen her dad in so long that she does not even remember what he looks like.  Her and her mom moved away long ago and her mother remarried.  Willa loves her stepdad, but he did come with two kids of his own and since their mother is wealthy they tend to get some perks in life that she simply does not get.  Their lives are completely shaken when Willa comes home one day to find frantic messages from a friend of her mother’s back home.  She doesn’t understand any of them so she tried to contact her mother and becomes panicked when she is unable to.  She calls her stepdad and he assures her that everything will be fine.  When they finally locate her mother she learns that her estranged father was missing with one of his daughters and his other two daughters and new wife were all found stabbed to death.  The police believe he might be on his way to find her so they are all moved into police protection.  Will this news tear her family apart or force truths to come out that they have all been avoiding?  Can she ever shake the reputation of being the girl whose father killed his family in a violent rage?

This story moves quickly as Willa tries to uncover the truth behind her father’s actions as well as what he was like.  She meets the half brother she never knew she had and mourns the loss of her half sisters.  The idea of family becomes a big issue as she is not quite sure which is stronger: blood or situation.  She has always been told her mom’s new husband was her family, but as she examines the situation she is not so sure she has really been treated as family.  There is also some growing resentment toward her mother for keeping so much about her father’s life a secret.  As horrific as the situation with her father is, it also forces her to really examine her life and reevaluate how she wants to continue from here.  Teenage readers will enjoy the story and even reluctant readers will struggle to put it down.


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