“Bring Me Back” by B. A. Paris

Concept: ★★★★★ – The concept of the way in which “Bring Me Back” By B. A. Paris is being told seems too recognizable during the first part of the book. The author played on the then and now writing pattern that too many authors seem to use these days. However, in the second part of the book, her decision to use this method is backed up by how the storyline plays out.

Writing: ★★★★☆ – The author maintains a steady writing pattern, continuously giving the reader enough to manipulate, but letting the story play out as a page-turning mystery. Paris wrote in a manner that was easy to follow, yet supported the entirety of the plot. The only thing that I didn’t like was her lack of physical description of the main character. Beyond his height and his age, I truly feel as though I have little idea what Finn looked like.

Character Development: ★★★★★ – If I could give Paris six stars for character development, I would. She effortlessly created five – or six – main characters, both now and then. Not only that, but she transitioned them throughout the story in a way that mirrored and emphasized the plot! Truly spectacular!

Plot: ★★★★★ – To say I didn’t have an inkling as to how the story would finally end is a lie. I had ideas, I had a lot of ideas. What made the plot great is that I had no idea which idea was right, nor did I have any idea how the main character would come to find out the truth behind Layla, Ellen, and their Russian dolls.

Pacing: ★★★★★ – The pacing of this novel was fabulous. I couldn’t put the book down. I had an ARC – provided by Net Galley – that was in an e-book format and I’ve been reading this book on my Kindle, on my phone, on my iPad and pretty much anywhere else I could pull it up for the last three days!

Ending: ★★★☆☆ – Although I honestly loved this book, the ending wasn’t great. Did it answer all of the questions created in my mind as I read it? Yes. Did it do it in a creative way? No. The note, found after all is said and done, is a cliche way to reveal all of Layla’s secrets.

Cover Art: ★★★★★ – Since this book isn’t published yet, I was left to Google for the possible cover art. I was able to find two versions, which are pictured below.

At first, I was a bigger fan of the one on the left, with the broken  Russian dolls littering the cover. However, once I realized that the shattered wood on the right cover represented a shattered person or the broken cottage where love was initially found, I decided both covers were excellent works of art.

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Thank you, NetGalley, for the ARC of Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris!

Spoilers and an overall review below! 

Continue reading ““Bring Me Back” by B. A. Paris”

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“The Broken Girls” by Simone St. James

Concept: ★★★★★ – Three murders over the span of one-hundred years, one boarded up boarding school that sits right in the center of them, a scorned younger sister, three concerned friends, and a shady small town Police Department. Sure, I may have heard a similar story somewhere before, but St. James pulled in all the stops in “The Broken Girls”, a murder and paranormal mystery. Focusing on the here and now while revealing two stories from the past and, somehow, a relatively happy ending.

Writing: ★★★★☆ – St. James goes to great depths to soundly describe each and every scene that her characters encounter in this book, although the most descriptive scene is Idlewild Hall, for understandable reasons. I enjoyed her ability to build each character and each scene, using language that was readable and thorough.

Character Development: ★★★★★ – What I truly loved about this book is that no character is truly defined until the author actually wants you to know who they are. From the old widow who decides to restore the broken down school to Fiona Sheridan, every character has a significant role in the outcome of the story.  However, the author only reveals a bit about each person at a time, allowing the reader to jump to conclusions that are – or are not – logical, long before they could possibly know the outcome.

Plot: ★★★★★ – The plot of this story is filled with murder, cover-ups, and – you’ll never expect this – history. The plot is developed by switching between the present time and the past, where four teenage girls are trapped in a boarding school in Barrons, Vermont. Like a puzzle that is being put together, the reader of this book is caught off guard by underlying plots, which the author always fully develops, with every turn of the page!

Pacing: ★★★★★ – The author maintained an excellent pace throughout this entire story, drawing me in with every chapter and always having another surprise buried in the text just around the corner. In this case, quick and steady won the race.

Ending: ★★★★★ – In the end, I expected the ending. However, throughout the rest of the book, I did not. In fact, I suspected multiple murderers – friends, teachers, cops, ghosts – and some ended up being guilty of no more than being buried in a lonely grave. Yet, as the end neared, the author started to pull sheets off of the hints that laid throughout the book and created an ending that has already been died for.

Cover Art: ★★★★★ – The cover art for my copy of “The Broken Girls” was designed by Sarah Oberrender, although the featured photos were taken by Mohammad Itani and Alexandre Cappellari. The cover is moving in a manner that makes one wonder what secrets lie within the photographed building and/or the book itself. I feel as though it impressively accompanies the story, emphasizing its mysterious theme with a cover that doesn’t allow the reader to see too much.

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

** I would like to thank Book of the Month for providing this book, via my membership! **

Spoilers below!

Continue reading ““The Broken Girls” by Simone St. James”