Pulse Pounding Conclusion Evokes ALLEGIANT To A Degree. This is a solid continuation and conclusion of the EXILES story, and both combined are short enough that one almost wonders why the two books (each sub-300 pages) were not simply written as one complete story rather than one story in two halves? It seemed to make sense at the end of EXILES, when at least my own expectation was that this would be a second trilogy from the twin sisters that write twin characters. With this clearly being a short duology now… one begins to question a bit more. Ultimately, I’ll leave the 5* and not deduct one for blatant cash grab, but I’ll also be interested to see what other readers think on that point, and perhaps hear in some interview or social media post or some such why the decision was made to split the story as it was. That noted, particularly with its emphasis on fear and our heroes having vials that can evoke or conquer fear… yes, this book absolutely has a degree of a feel of ALLEGIANT to it. Which was an interesting connection, given just how reviled the ending to that particular tale was (though to be crystal clear and yet without actually giving anything away, this tale does *not* use the specific type of ending that got ALLEGIANT most of the scorn it has ultimately gotten – scorn that I have disagreed with since the moment I finished that book myself).
And yet, even with these issues this tale really was another pulse-pounding thrill ride, perhaps with fewer questions for the reader to ponder and more fights to marvel at. The sisters continue to show their evolving skills and natural-seeming storytelling talent, and it will be very interesting to see what they come up with next. Very much recommended.
This review of Intruders by Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders was originally written on January 3, 2023.
Come For The Twin / Mental Illness / Addiction / Mob Story. Stay For The Badass Twin Tattoo. This story is some interesting/ weird melding of a twin study and most any mob-based story. The driving focus is a pair of mirror twins and one of the twins’ mental illness and descent into addiction, and this slow burn story – taking place over roughly a decade of their lives – does a great job of showing the havoc it can wreak. And yet, the story never actually feels preachy, and Kain even manages to convey just how giving the one twin is and how menacing the other twin can be. Along the way we even get elements of The Hundred Foot Journey, which was an interesting addition to the overall tale. A strong work for a promising debut author, and very much recommended.
This review of Secrets In The Mirror by Leslie Kain was originally written on September 10, 2022.
Solid Setup But With Slight Torture Of English Language. This is a tale that manages to tell its own complete tale… and yet also manages to setup a new trilogy for the Saunders twins that is perhaps at least as compelling as their debut trilogy had been. Once again, these twins writing together focus on twin primary characters, and once again having that real world dynamic really helps with the in-world dynamic. Reading the author note about their extreme aversion to twin studies as teens and seeing what they put the twins through here was particularly relevatory, but the social commentary on homeless camps here was also thought provoking and compelling, without coming across as overly preachy in real-world terms. The *one* irritating thing about this read was the presence of the trans character and the torture of using the singular “they” repeatedly – showing in novel form why a completely different and new pronoun really is needed there (perhaps “ze” instead, as some promote?). Note that the trans character itself wasn’t the problem, the singular “they” was, particularly as often as was used here – to the level of almost reading more as a sudden dose of dialect rather than the usual tone of the writing. Overall another great book from the Saunders Twins, and I for one am looking forward to the next entry in the trilogy. Very much recommended.
This review of Exiles by Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders was originally written on August 28, 2022.
For this blog tour, we’re looking at a book that is all about second chances and the hope they can bring. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Summer At The Cape by RaeAnne Thayne.
Second Chances. Sometimes… sometimes life *does* give you a second chance. A chance to re-evaluate what you thought you knew, and perhaps a chance to reconnect with those you had massive misunderstandings with previously. And Summer At The Cape? Well… it is all about those second chances… and the ones that will never happen. Beautifully written and heart felt, this is one that will pull your heartstrings in so many directions. The *one* negative, for me, was that the epilogue felt tacked on. I personally would have been perfectly fine without it – the story didn’t actually need it, and the things it adds are for me superfluous tropes that added nothing and somewhat detracted even. But hey, read the story for yourself and see what you think of the epilogue. 😉 Very much recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Summer At The Cape by RaeAnne Thayne”
Compelling Family Drama. This one was pretty wild. On the one hand, you’ve got one twin sister who seems to be Autistic, though that word is never once used. Instead, Hepworth simply claims various “sensory processing disorders” (many of them very similar to this Autistic’s own, fwiw) and shows this twin taking things very literally, not reading people very well, etc. IOW, classic signs of Autism – but again, that word is never once used in the text. Which is both cool and irritating. The other twin is a diabetic that feels she must always protect her Autistic sister. Except… let’s just say the twins don’t always remember the same events the same way. 😉 Deeper into the book, a much larger conspiracy develops that really turns the back half of the book to near breakneck speeds. And then those last words… Truly excellent book, even without the use of the one word, and very much recommended.
This review of The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth was originally written on December 5, 2020.