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Mysteries & Thrillers

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Crystal

Crystal Robertson, Australia Member Since 2011

I read and review Young Adult lit!

HELPFUL VOTES
25
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  • "Take note Sara Shepard: This is how..."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this book!

    Sara Shepard’s' Pretty Little Liars' and The 'Lying Game' books have really soured me on the 'bag things happening to popular girls' genre. Her characters are unsympathetic brats; her books are poorly plotted so that she can drag the mystery out for a whole series and her narrator grating to listen to.

    Todd Strasser, however, has done the same genre much, much better.

    Somehow a man was able to write far less annoying teenage girls! While they were not exactly complex they weren't just stereotypes trying not to seem like stereotypes by having really specific Starbucks coffee preferences (urgh…a pet peeve of mine in teen literature)!

    I also found parents, teachers, cops etc all normal/relatable unlike the caricatures used to create problems for the main character in so many other YA books.

    As I said the lead wasn’t exactly complex, she just seemed normal and worked for the story but she also came through for herself, not having to rely on a cute boy which I love seeing.

    Initially the book makes you feel a little clueless because so many points of view bombard you with little explain but that’s builds genuine intrigue for the reader AND it is rewarded as things slowly become clearer.

    Chunks of mystery are not spelled out for readers either – yes, you’re treated as if you have half a brain and have to put bits and pieces from the various points of view together!

    I also love how it had almost a slasher movie vibe with some chase/stalking scenes and they actually put me right on edge. Of course, I was walking to my car late at night through empty hospital grounds at the time…. Still I can honestly say the book gave me some chills.

    The narrator is a problem. She’s pitched and squeaky and sounds so similar to the one that does Sara Shepard’s books I kept forgetting this wasn’t one of hers…you know, until the plot starting going somewhere and reminded me it couldn’t be!

    Anyway, I’d definitely recommend this as a teen mystery and will check out the rest of Todd Strasser’s work!

    .

    More

    Wish You Were Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Todd Strasser
    • Narrated By Emily Bauer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    The day after anonymous blogger Str-S-d wishes the popular girl would die, Lucy vanishes. The students of Soundview High are scared and worried. Especially frightened and wracked with guilt is Madison Archer, Lucy's friend and the last person to see her the night she disappeared. As days pass with no sign of the missing girl, even the attention of Tyler, an attractive new student, is not enough to distract Madison from her growing sense of foreboding.

    Crystal says: "Take note Sara Shepard: This is how it's done!"
  • "Great character piece, disappointin..."

    Overall
    Performance
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    Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters is an interesting character piece but really let down by a rushed and confused ending.

    I generally don’t like short fiction because I prefer full, well-paced emersion in a world but obviously I can’t fault DGDWLfor needing to be direct and succinct.

    While it wasn’t the elegantly drawn story, though, it deftly painted Sunny’s heartbreak – not at the loss of her sister but at being the one her family and community would have, frankly, preferred to lose.

    Sunny’s homelife is heartbreaking and I didn’t expect to be so affected by such a quick glimpse.

    The concept of a mourning family receiving a visit from their dead daughter was intriguing but ultimately the plot is why let the story down for me. Clearly written with the intention to try and put in multiple twists at the end, Dead Girls is doesn’t provide the cathartic family drama that would have been so very rewarding given the surprisingly deft character work. It also doesn’t exactly work as a mystery/psychological thriller for me because of the lack of time to develop tension.

    Despite the ending though, I would recommend Dead Girls to anyone after a short, intense and heartbreaking character piece with a female protagonist that is instantly sympathetic.

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    Dead Girls Don't Write Letters

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Gail Giles
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Sunny Reynold's sister, Jazz, dies in a fire. Then one day a letter arrives, a letter from Jazz. A girl follows. But she can't possibly by Jazz--or can she? She seems to know all the family secrets, but Not-Jazz clearly has a few secrets of her own.

    Crystal says: "Great character piece, disappointing ending."
  • "Intriguing concept, simple execution."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Favourite was quick read more akin to short-fiction than a full novel. It wasted no time on set-up, extraneous sub-plot or relationship drama.

    We jump straight into Angel Favourite’s near abduction which terrifyingly mirrors her mothers’ unexplained disappearance five years earlier. Angel reluctantly attends dinner with her attacker’s elderly mother and is sequestered for two nights at the family’s estate. Soon it becomes clear the similarities between her and her mother’s case are no coincidence.

    The book progresses swiftly through the straightforward plot but manages to build a claustrophobic and foreboding atmosphere. The characters are utilitarian because the focus is story, not any personal arcs but they are serviceable if not totally compelling.
    I personally had trouble connecting to the action thanks to the usual ‘clueless female heroine’ clichés – dropping their weapon halfway through the final chase, going to check out a noise by alone, injuries being acquired to prevent escape only to disappear when convenient etc.

    Overall, Favourite wasn’t a bad read but it failed to fully engage me. I’m more of a character-driven reader which is why I don’t usually connect with short fiction. Favourite had an interesting enough premise to capture my attention but ran a little long without the characters and subplots to fill it out. Had Favourite been trimmed to a tight, short thriller I imagine I’d have quite enjoyed it.

    I still recommend Favourite as a rare YA thriller/crime entry because that is an underappreciated genre that I wish there was more of.


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    Favorite

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Karen McQuestion
    • Narrated By Tara Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Five years have passed since Angie Favorite’s mother, Laura, disappeared without a trace, and Angie still hasn’t recovered. Sure, things look normal on the surface — she goes to school, works her summer job, and argues with her older brother Jason — but she can’t shake the feeling her mother didn’t leave by choice. Angie’s dad does the best he can, but his work as a musician keeps him on the road and away from home, where it’s up to Angie’s grandmother to keep an eye on the kids. She can’t be with them all the time, though, and so Angie is alone when she’s snatched from a strip mall parking lot by Scott Bittner. Angie narrowly escapes, and Bittner is arrested, but he takes his life in jail before he can offer an explanation for his crime. When his mother makes contact, begging forgiveness on her son’s behalf, Angie agrees to meet with her in hopes of finding answers to the seemingly random attack. But when she arrives at the massive Bittner estate, she is overcome by an unshakeable sense of foreboding… Part thriller, part coming-of-age tale, Favorite is an engrossing young adult novel in which nothing — and no one — is as it seems.

    Crystal says: "Intriguing concept, simple execution."
  1. Wish You Were Dead
  2. Dead Girls Don't Write Le...
  3. Favorite
  4. .

A Peek at Hassan's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
885
 
164 REVIEWS / 326 ratings Member Since 2009 227 Followers / Following 10
 
Hassan's greatest hits:
  • Touch of Frost: Mythos Academy, Book 1

    "I'm Shocked!! It Was Really Good"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book because of the author, and honestly i thought it was going to be some teenagers book. But I was amazed how good it was, the plot was a bit different than other books, and there are interesting pointers here and there.

    In this book you have all the Gods divided into 2 sides the good and the evil ones. and there are those champions and followers of each god. in this school is for teaching and preparing those kids to follow on the footsteps and the path of their own God.

    This is the first book, so basically a lot of character introductions and explanations of what happened in the past and what might happen in the future

    So these are the basics, if you like this kind of books that has a countless number of Gods, you will like this one.

  • Death and the Girl He Loves: Darklight, Book 3

    "Good Ending For A Great & Fun Trilogy!!"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Darynda Jones is really good and fun author, even though her books talk about the end of the world and end of everyone, still you keep on laughing while reading these books. She is a fantastic author and I am a big fan of her work.

    Death and the Girl He Loves started in a new school with new kids, during this book nothing was slow, I didn't get bored at all. It was an event after the other.. And its ending was a new one, you wouldn't expect this ending and that was great, its always boring when you figure out how a book will end.

    Lorelei King is a fantastic narrator as usual, and she had done a great job narrating this trilogy, I hope that she will keep on narrating future work of Darynda Jones.

    I'm sad that this trilogy has ended, but this means another series could come now from Darynda Jones, whatever it is, i can't wait for it.

Captain Skurvy

Captain Skurvy Queensland, Australia 09-20-13 Member Since 2008

I like Fantasy & Science Fiction but not into Zombie. Due to Health issues, listen to Audiobooks/read ebooks where I can enlarge the print

HELPFUL VOTES
234
ratings
REVIEWS
540
54
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
34
4
  • "A fun read, entertaining and for al..."

    3 of 3 helpful votes

    Although the intended audience for this book is for the YA market I found it a fun read, entertaining and interesting enough to hold my attention from start to finish and I'm in my early 60's

    Oona is an incredibly likeable and well rounded character, as is Deacon her enchanted raven sidekick, some of the other characters are less rounded however and whilst it does not spoil the overall story it would help flesh out this fantasy world if some of the other characters had a bit more depth behind them. That is not to say that it is in anyway hard to find your self becoming immersed in the fantasy world of Dark Street as it stands.

    I am normally wary of books narrated by the author but I found his narration to be well suited to the story and will definitely listen to more of this series.

    The only qualm I had with the story was that 12 year old children were expected to sign contracts that in this universe were legally binding and that Oona seems much older than her 12 years . . . but these did not detract from my enjoyment of this book.

    Frankly i did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did . . .

    I would recommend this to the young and young at heart that love fantasy and or mystery

    Enjoy

    More

    The Wizard of Dark Street: An Oona Crate Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Shawn Thomas Odyssey
    • Narrated By Shawn Thomas Odyssey
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (95)

    Oona Crate was born to be the Wizard's apprentice, but she has another destiny in mind. Despite possessing the rare gift of natural magic, Oona wants to be a detective. Eager for a case, she wants to show her uncle - the Wizard of Dark Street - that logic is as powerful as magic. But when someone attacks the Wizard, Oona must delve even deeper into the world of magic. Full of magic, odd characters, evil henchmen, and a street where nothing is normal, The Wizard of Dark Street will have you guessing until the very end.

    I. J. Wylie says: "Great story, great entertainment."

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    One fateful day, 16 people gather for the reading of the will of the very rich Samuel W. Westing. To their surprise, the will turns out to be a contest, challenging the heirs to find out who among them is Westing's murderer. Only two people hold all the clues. One is a Westing heir...and the other is the listener!

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    Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever. And for almost as long, they’ve been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her. But they are in middle school now. Zach’s father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she’s been having dreams about the Queen - and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave.

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    My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy - a school of myths, magic, and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things.

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    They said his uncle Ian died in a car accident. Alex Rider knows that's a lie, and the bullet holes in his uncle's car confirm the truth. But nothing can prepare him for the news that the uncle he always thought he knew was really a spy for Britain's top-secret intelligence agency. Enlisted to find his uncle's killers and complete Ian's final mission, Alex suddenly finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, with no way out.

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  •  
  • Theodore Boone: The Abduction (






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    Theodore Boone: The Abduction

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs)
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    Theodore Boone is back in a new adventure, and the stakes are higher than ever.... When his best friend, April, disappears from her bedroom in the middle of the night, no one, not even Theo Boone - who knows April better than anyone - has answers. As fear ripples through his small hometown and the police hit dead ends, it's up to Theo to use his legal knowledge and investigative skills to chase down the truth and save April.

    Jean says: "Theodore Boone: The Abduction"
  • The Activist: Theodore Boone (






UNABRIDGED) by John Grisham Narrated by Richard Thomas

    The Activist: Theodore Boone

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Richard Thomas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (85)
    Performance
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    Though he's only 13, Theodore Boone has spent more time in the courtroom than almost anywhere else, and there's always a new adventure waiting. After being falsely accused of vandalism and theft, Theo is happy to finally be out of the hot seat, once more dispensing legal advice to friends and community members, when an exciting new case demands his urgent attention.

    Amazon Customer says: "enjoyable for young and old."
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UNABRIDGED) by Colleen Thompson Narrated by Emily Sutton-Smith

    The Best Victim

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Colleen Thompson
    • Narrated By Emily Sutton-Smith
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
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    Story
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    The ugly words delivered online finally hit their mark. The younger sister of web security specialist Lauren Miller took the taunts to heart - and took her own life. Devastated, introverted Lauren has nowhere else to turn but the arms of a man who shares a similar pain…and a burning need for vengeance. FBI agent Brent Durant is determined to unmask the Troll King, a vicious Internet stalker he suspects of preying on the weak, goading his victims into suicide.

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UNABRIDGED) by Megg Jensen Narrated by Jessica Geffen

    Shucked

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    Overall
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    Performance
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    Story
    (0)

    Fifteen-year-old Tabitha has had the kind of life that would impress even the greatest adventurers. She's escaped a croc attack in the Amazon, walked the length of the Great Wall of China, and earned a black belt in taekwondo in Korea. She owes her worldly experience to her mother's career in archaeology, but when her mother takes on a dangerous new assignment, Tabitha is devastated to learn she can't tag along.

  • Dear Killer (






UNABRIDGED) by Katherine Ewell Narrated by Heather Wilds

    Dear Killer

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Katherine Ewell
    • Narrated By Heather Wilds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life - the only way of life she has ever known. Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil.

  • File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents: All the Wrong Questions (






UNABRIDGED) by Lemony Snicket Narrated by Jon Scieszka, Terry Gross, Sarah Vowell, Libba Bray, Ira Glass, Jon Klassen, Holly Black, Rachel Maddow, Stephin Merritt

    File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents: All the Wrong Questions

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Lemony Snicket
    • Narrated By Jon Scieszka, Terry Gross, Sarah Vowell, and others
    Overall
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    Paintings have been falling off of walls, a loud and loyal dog has gone missing, a gurgled message is being transmitted by walkie-talkie - strange things are happening all over the town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea. Called upon to investigate these suspicious incidents, young Lemony Snicket collects clues, questions witnesses, and cracks every case. Join the investigation and tackle the mysteries alongside Snicket, then turn to the back of the book to see the solution revealed.

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  • Snitch: Bea Catcher Chronicles, Book 2 (






UNABRIDGED) by Olivia Samms Narrated by Kate Reinders

    Snitch: Bea Catcher Chronicles, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Olivia Samms
    • Narrated By Kate Reinders
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    As the days count down to her 18th birthday, Bea feels trapped. Trapped by her dark past, by her parents’ expectations, even by her own dreams for the future. The road ahead is unclear, blurred with secrets and lies. The only constant, sure thing in her life is Sergeant Dan Daniels. He’s faced with a gang-related murder case and asks Bea to use her "skill" to see and then draw the truth out of the suspect…literally. But when she does, it leaves her with more unanswered questions. And then another teen is shot - clinging to his life.

  • Dogboy: Danger on Liberty Pier: Dogboy Adventures, Book 2 (






UNABRIDGED) by Bill Meeks Narrated by Nathan Beatty

    Dogboy: Danger on Liberty Pier: Dogboy Adventures, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Bill Meeks
    • Narrated By Nathan Beatty
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Dogboy, aka Bronson Black, is Colta City's 13-year-old superhero. After defeating the Guild of Thieves things have settled down for the mangy masked crimefighter… until he sees local businessman Dexter Stonehouse gunned down on Liberty Pier. When it appears an old family friend might be involved, Dogboy jumps into action to unmask a killer. Does he have the guts to expose a man from his past, or will he ignore the evidence to learn more about his strange powers?

    Kimberly Price says: "Great Story and Characters"
  • Aldo Moon and the Ghost at Gravewood Hall (






UNABRIDGED) by Alex Woolf Narrated by James Price

    Aldo Moon and the Ghost at Gravewood Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Alex Woolf
    • Narrated By James Price
    Overall
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    Flamboyant, eccentric and a touch wild, Aldo Moon has the ability to pick up ‘ripples in the ether’, which he uses to investigate supernatural goings-on in late 19th century England. He is accompanied on his many adventures by the intrepid and volatile Nathan Carter, the story’s narrator, and the prim, arch sceptic Lily Morelle. In this, his first adventure, Aldo inquires into mysterious nocturnal noises at a spooky house in the country.