That Weekend by Kara Thomas

If you’re still looking for the hit of the summer, or you’re looking for that final hurrah pseudo-thriller that’s perfect to curl up with while everyone else is getting salty and sunburned at the beach, That Weekend by Kara Thomas is the book for you.

This is pretty much a roller coaster ride from cover to end.

Claire Keough just dumped her boyfriend, and instead of spending prom weekend with him and his friends, she decides to join her best friend Kat and her boyfriend Jesse on a camping trip. What she doesn’t know is that her weekend is going to end up with her in the hospital from head trauma, and her bff’s missing and later presumed dead.

Claire wakes up in the hospital with no memory of the last two days. Her parents are pissed, she takes a very bad trip down Ambien Lane, and her nurse is a nightmare. Soon, the local sheriff comes knocking to ask questions, the FBI gets involved, and secret after secret is revealed in solid twists and turns. The third act is stunning in a way that isn’t too sensationalistic, something that YA authors don’t typically master well.

I’m a little stunned, a little shook up, and so, so glad That Weekend turned up on my social media. Kara Thomas just became a pre-order author for me. She’s going to be hard to top for sure.

Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson

It doesn’t feel like summer until a Morgan Matson book is released. Matson has been quintessential summer reading for me since Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour (released 2010), when I first discovered the author. She’s had hit after hit with Second Chance Summer, Since You’ve Been Gone, and Save the Date. Take Me Home Tonight is supposed to be a mash up of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Nick and Norah’s Infintie Playlist, but I’ve seen neither movie (Gasp! Shock!), so I began the book with no knowledge of what I was diving into.

Our main characters, Kat and Stevie, were just going into the city for a few hours.

What’s the worst that could happen?

It’s Stevie’s birthday – and her dad ditched their plans, again, so what else was there to do but head into New York City for the most magical night of their lives?

After a series of unfortunate events the two friends end up separated, their cover story friend gets kidnapped, laundry delivery with a cute boy uncovers an underground poker game, and a dramatic performance is made to keep a dog from being evicted from a dorm room. And that’s when shit gets real.

Funny, engaging, quick – Take Me Home Tonight is a fast little read about theater kids – best friends, who are growing up and not quite ready to move into the unknown world of adulthood. With fantastical situations and an outlandish side story, the pace moves swiftly but there’s a bit of whiplash if you’re too invested. It’s not my favorite Matson, but it does have an interesting little surprise at the end if you’re a fan of her work. She does love to weave former characters into her latest books.

All in all, as someone who works in the city, I’m not very impressed with the descriptions of New York glamour; however, I was completely enamored with the idea of being alone in the MET at night. Points to calling back Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

Review: Tomb of Ancients (House of Furies #3) by Madeleine Roux

*This book was provided to me in exchange for a fair review.

The final showdown between gods and monsters was a bit hard to follow, if I’m being honest. I’m hesitant to post this, but I’m going to. The fact of the matter is not all books or book series are five star-worthy. I would rate this one three stars out of five.

The final part of Louisa’s story opens in London, where she and her friends are trying to begin their lives as normal people. How we got to London from the First City, where book 2 left off in a cliffhanger fashion, we’re not really sure, but the first few chapters of Tomb of Ancients hit hard and fast. There’s a ball and bloodshed, and the fancy ladies and gentlemen of the 1800’s get zombified, and we have an intriguing build up with Louisa’s sister but it ends up being for nothing because her memory of the aforementioned ball and bloodshed get wiped from her mind and she’s not mentioned again. And this all happens before we once again return to Coldthistle House and it’s fantastical characters who never have a chance to be fantastic, or the actual story of the third book begins.

I was so excited to receive Tomb of Ancients for review. But honestly, this entire series has such potential, but it falls so short it’s not even worth it to summarize the third book. There are such well thought out scenes that are strung together in a way that it’s obvious large cuts were done in editing without a proper final read through to make sure it all still makes sense.

It feels like the characters and world that were created were never given a fair chance.

The epilogue though. Someone who has suffered through these books please write a fanfic exploring the epilogue.

Review: Court of Shadows (House of Furies #2) by Madeleine Roux

I was not the biggest fan of the the first House of Furies book. It was slow and clunky, but within it’s lagging pages was the start of an intriguing story. I intended to read the next book in the series but wasn’t in any particular rush to do so.

Fast forward about seven months – I was in the beginnings of a summer of rereads when I was contacted to review the third book in the series, and since I knew there was potential there, I agreed. So while Tomb of Ancients sat on my shelf, I deep dove into Court of Shadows and I’m glad I did.

There’s an order to things at Coldthistle House. And though I strayed away into other lands and time, I found myself sucked back into the House, and the story it has to tell. So did Louisa Ditton. The story opens with Louisa back at the House, again working as a maid, and terribly missing her friend Mary and her relationship with Lee Bremerton.

The strange and mysterious cast of characters that reside within the house’s walls are rattled. A young woman and her fiancee’s family are the current guests when a convening of the courts is announced that spins the house into chaos. Terrifying creatures whose sole purpose is divining the truth out of you at all costs are around every corner. A vengeful ancient god arrives as the bride-to-be dies before her time. And there’s a journal that must be translated before Mr. Morningside stands trial.

Louisa strikes a deal to translate the journal and free herself and her friends from the house, and in doing so unlocks a story of what happened Before. Before Morningside came to be and before the ancients were laid to an enchanted sleep. The horror and mystery within the journal are an epic story within a story.

Court of Shadows is a considerably faster paced read than it’s predecessor, and a much better story overall. I can’t wait to start the third book and see how it all plays out. I hope we learn more about Louisa’s powers and her background, as well as more about the house’s employees.

Review: House of Furies (House of Furies #1) by Madeleine Roux

Seventeen year old Louisa Ditton is unwanted. By her parents, by her grandparents, by her school. By the general populace. She’s telling fortunes in the streets for pennies until an old crone tricks her into coming to Coldthistle House, where she begins working as a maid. But things aren’t as they seem inside the mansion, where the next day Mrs. Haylam, the old crone, isn’t quite so old or quite so cronish, and there’s a girl working that reminds Louisa a little too much of her childhood imaginary friend. There’s also the Residents, terrifying smoke-like creatures that may or may not be protecting her, but are extremely dangerous to the guests. And don’t forget Mr. Morningside, the owner of Coldthistle House, who seems to be a few hundred years old and has backwards feet, like a demon.

Coming across Mr. Morningside’s diary, Louisa starts to unravel the alarming histories of her employer, as well as those of the inhabitants of the house itself. And it’s not long before she realizes that all the guests that come to Coldthistle House don’t actually leave.

House of Furies by Madeleine Roux is a gothic novel set in Victorian times and is filled with murder and mystery, making it the perfect book to read in late September / early October. I found the side characters to be more interesting than Louisa and her love interest, Lee Bremerton, and hope they’re further explored in the next book. Unfortunately there is a lot of unnecessary plot, a lot of side plot, and not a lot of getting to the point, but the strange and weird that happens within the 400-odd pages is enough that I will pick up the second book in the series at one point.

Roux seems to be a fan of shorts within her different book universes, so hopefully we will get one featuring the Residents, and how they came to be. The hints that were dropped have me itching for more.