Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











The KnowingFrom Goodreads: Not everyone can stay sane watching murder through the eyes of the killer, feeling him kill. She’s Haitian, born from love, raised with strength. Can she stop the visions if she stops the killer? His secrets threaten to destroy her world. Which one will survive?
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This was a fun paranormal novel surrounding a psychic connection between a young woman and a murderer. Nia struggles when the snow comes; it means that the murderer is on the prowl, and soon she’ll witness him murder again, just as she does every year… but this year she decides to do something about it. Though perhaps not the most rational of ideas, she runs to the warmest climate she can find in a pinch: Hawaii. Little does she know, this is exactly what the killer wants…

Though a little unrealistic at times, The Knowing was a good read overall. It was fun getting to know Nia; she’s a little bit spacey and flakey at times, and I definitely had my “yelling through the pages” moments as she made a few poor decisions, but with the help of unlikely friends, she stays on top of it all in this game of cat and mouse, a game that ends with a suspenseful climax that had me on the edge of my seat.

Though I didn’t necessarily find Nia’s relationships with the people of Hawaii to be too believable—they were all just a little too accepting, especially Trace and Whitney—I also have never lived in Hawaii, and I have indeed heard it is a much more laid back place. While it has it’s own share of crime, the people there tend to be just a little more understanding, so as I reflect, I have to note that yes, it actually is possible… it just isn’t be the way I personally approach people. I would have liked the relationship building here to have been a little more in-depth, I guess, because then I might have felt it was more believable as I read, but either way, in the end, it works for the story.

There is a lot of action in the novel surrounding Haitian roots, and it was fun to learn the lore as well as learn the true reason that Nia is connected to a psychopathic killer. I have to admit I wasn’t ready for the reveal—and neither was Nia—but as it’s revealed relatively early on in the story, it grew on me and as everything began to fall into place, it began to make perfect sense. Three stars.

3 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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ImposterFrom Goodreads: Can Tessa pose as Madison . . . and stop a killer before it’s too late? 

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again. 

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

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If you’re a fan of X-Men, then this is definitely the book for you.  Tessa is a Variant; her special ability allowing her to morph her appearance into anyone after one simple touch.  And she’s about to go on her first mission: taking the place of a teenager on her death bed, another victim of what the FBI is certain is a serial killer Variant gone rogue.

But taking over someone’s life isn’t as easy as it sounds, even if you do look identical.  There’s the problem with memories, friendships, and daily interactions in general that Tessa is going to have to take in stride if she’s going to play her cards right and stop the killer before her time runs out—and that may be sooner than she thinks.  Forced to lie on a daily basis, torn between her feelings for her co-worker and the real Madison’s brother, Tessa has her work cut out for her as everything around her begins to unravel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this very fast-paced read!  I’ve always wished I had special abilities like the X-Men do, and Winnacker really brings it to life through her novel, Imposter.  There is a lot going on, and I must say, Winnacker did a great job putting me off the trail.  I had the wrong person pegged as the killer from the get-go, and while I sometimes questioned my choice, I stuck with them only to find that, in the end, Winnacker not only fooled Madison and her team, but me as well.  I really enjoy it when authors are able to keep me guessing, and that’s exactly what happened in this novel. Overall, it was a great read with just a few slow spots here and there, and I highly recommend it to any readers out there who love the idea of X-Men. Four stars.

4 stars

Hachette Children’s Books and Hodder Children’s Books have been extremely gracious is allowing me to read this novel, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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17622937From Goodreads: Sometimes the past is best left buried.

Meredith King longs for escape. Life in Deer Run is stifling, the Amish town too small for a modern woman staying just to care for her ailing mother. When a friend enlists her help in clearing the name of an Amish boy whose decades-old death is still shrouded in mystery, she welcomes the distraction. But when a ghost from her own past reappears, there is suddenly a lot more at stake.

Zach Randal was always a bad boy, and their romance never had a chance. As charming as ever, he returns to town on the heels of a deadly new threat. Is Zach as dangerous as Meredith was always led to believe? Or is the attraction they both feel the only thing that can save them from harm?

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Marta Perry is a fabulous author whose mystery novels tend to leave me with my heart in my throat.  Search the Dark is no different, and I highly enjoyed this novel that juxtaposes Amish and modern life, save for one aspect.  The main character in this novel, Meredith, who is able to figure out so much, doesn’t have a shred of common sense or know when she is in danger.  Thus, instead of calling out for help, or reassessing events happening around her, she worries about being a burden or annoyance to others and basically continuously walks into death traps time and time again.  In other words, she is weak.  Now, this does spur the plot on, but it made me lose much respect for Meredith because she’s so helpless and keeps having to be saved by the male in her life, Zach.  And, while I really enjoyed Zach and Meredith together, and I really liked the overall novel, this just irked me to no end because Meredith seems to have a good head on her shoulders, but she just doesn’t use it.  She also lacks a backbone, and while this is addressed multiple times in the novel, meaning it was an intentional character flaw, it just didn’t make me, personally, like her or find her a worthy heroine.

But, the mystery aspect is there, and I highly enjoyed the anticipation and clues Perry gives to readers as the story unfolds.  I will admit I was surprised by some of the events in the novel and it wasn’t until the very end that I figured it out, though I had a small inkling based on one interaction that happens about halfway through the text.

Overall, this is a good read, but readers going in need to know that the main character, and many of the females in this novel, are going to make rash decisions that may leave you going ballistic.  Three and a half stars.

3.5 starsHarlequin has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on September 24, 2013.



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