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Second Look: Jeannine Pirro’s HE KILLED THEM ALL

If you know me, you know I’m some what of a true crime junkie.  I mean, just look at how I raved about Kara Thomas’s THE DARKEST CORNERS.

Recently (and by that, I mean a lot later than everyone else), I was introduced to The Jinx.  I watched it, rapt.  My feelings about Robert Durst fluctuated between, “he’s misunderstood” to “he’s a cold-hearted killer!” to “did he really just confess…?”

So when I was browsing at my favorite local haunt, Barnes & Noble, I was (of course) in the True Crime section and stumbled upon this beauty:

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I was like WHAT!?  But because I’m on limited funds, I decided to see if the library had a copy.  (They did!) And I got it within a few days. (Eei!)

Some Background: Jeannine Pirro is a retired New York District Attorney.  She was the one that brought the Kathie Durst case back to the light of day around 1999 (long before The Jinx aired on HBO).  She’s currently a Fox News consultant, and I was immediately like, “Uh oh.” Because, you know, Fox News…

As it would turn out, Pirro is pretty freaking hilarious.  I would definitely gobble up any books she’s written before (or will write in the future).  I especially liked the style of this memoir — but I’ll save that for the review.

Here’s the review for

He Killed Them All by Jeannine Pirro
Simon & Shuster, 2016

What It’s About:

A true crime memoir written by retired District Attorney Jeannine Pirro and her quest for justice against Robert Durst in the unsolved cold case of his wife, Kathie Durst, who went missing in 1982.

Not only does Pirro talk about reopening the case, but she includes anecdotes of her time as DA of Westchester County in New York; her work as a domestic violence advocate; The Jinx, and Durst’s alleged murders of Susan Berman and Morris Black.

It’s a pretty comprehensive look at all things surrounding Durst, but also gives a good insight into what it’s like being an elected government official.

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reblog: Buzzfeed’s YA Summer Reading List

If you haven’t read these books, make some room on your summer reading TBR pile! I know I am.

I picked the ones I’m excited about, but you can read the entire list of 26 titles at the original post, here.

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Frances Hardringe’s THE LIE TREE

Shortlisted for both The Bookseller’s YA Prize and the 2016 Carnegie Medal, Francis Hardinge’s Victorian mystery isn’t one to miss. It’s the story of Faith, who sets off to prove that the death of her father, a prominent natural scientist, was no accident. It’s a unique and fascinating narrative, layered over with magical realism, science, history, and feminism.

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Lisa Williamson’s THE ART OF BEING NORMAL

This groundbreaking peek into the lives of transgender teens offers a story equal parts heart-wrenching and heartwarming. Williamson, who used to work as an administrator at the Gender Identity Development Service in London, tells the story of David and Leo, two teens from different sides of the tracks at different stages in their transitions. The two form a shaky friendship as they try to navigate isolation at school, crushes, opening up to their families, and finding themselves. Shortlisted for the YA Prize, The Art of Being Normal is a compelling story with a ton of heart.

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Ryan Graudin’s WOLF BY WOLF

This thrilling alternative history narrative is an unmissable summer read. Ryan Graudin reimagines a 1950s Europe in which the Axis powers won WWII. The book follows Yael, who suffered miserably at a concentration camp during the war, but through Nazi experimentation, gained the ability to change her appearance at will, and is now out to kill Hitler.

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Patrick Ness’s THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE

Patrick Ness subverts tropes and genre stereotypes in his newest and endlessly clever book about what happens to those of us who aren’t the “Chosen One” that so often dominates YA literature (and literature in general, for that matter). This YA Prize-shortlisted title tells the story of Mikey, whose friends are out saving the world from supernatural threats while he’s just trying to make it to prom and manage his struggle with OCD. It’s a funny and poignant look at what it means to come of age under pressure, and a reminder that getting by is a superpower all its own.

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Louise O’Neill’s ASKING FOR IT

In the follow-up to her YA Prize-winning debut, Only Ever Yours, Irish writer Louise O’Neill tackles the consequences of rape in the social media age. Asking for It is the story of Emma, a popular girl in a small Irish town, who finds herself the victim not just of gang rape, but of unending public humiliation when photos of the attack spread across Facebook and Snapchat like wildfire. The novel pulls from high-profile cases around the globe, and paints a frustrating and heartbreakingly realistic picture of the aftermath of rape both in private and the public eye.

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Holly Bourne’s AM I NORMAL YET?

The fallout of secrets and lies come to a head in this delightful YA Prize-shortlisted book from Holly Bourne. Am I Normal Yet? takes a hard look at young people’s experiences with mental health through the eyes of Evie, who’s trying to leave her struggles with OCD behind as she starts at a new college. But it’s not that simple, and she quickly learns that she must learn to navigate her mental illness alongside her fresh start.

Excuse me…I’ll come back up for air in August.

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Second Look: Kara Thomas’s THE DARKEST CORNERS

Let me fangirl for a moment.  I was excited to read Kara Thomas’s YA novel from the get-go.  But then it only got more awesome because A) she’s local(ish) so I immediately emailed Jennifer Murgia and was like, WE NEED TO GET HER FOR YA FEST!  And then B) she’s a True Crime Addict.

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And then, as I was reading, she mentions me & Katie’s hometown!

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I mean, this book really just kept getting more and more awesome.

So.  If that’s not enough for you to immediately go out and read this book, I’ll give you an actual review.  I’ll try to stay away from spoilers, because there are a few MAJOR twists I didn’t see coming at the end…

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The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
Delacorte Press, 2016.

What It’s About:

Tessa returns home to Fayette, Pennsylvania when she receives word her father is on his death-bed.  (She’s been living in Florida for the last 10 years with her maternal grandmother.  Her father’s also in jail.)  She stays at the home of childhood best friend, Callie, and her parents.  (Callie’s mom, Maggie, was always a maternal figure for Tessa.)

But, Tessa’s too late.  Her father died earlier the morning she arrived in Fayette.  But there’s mysteries left behind.  Her sister — who she hasn’t seen in 10 years — visited her father a few days before his death.  Tessa wants to find out if Joslin (her sister) is still in the area, and if she is…she has some questions she wants answered.

So, that starts the basic set-up of the novel.  But wait!  There’s more synopsis…after the cut.

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Second Look: Kathy Perks’s THE LIFEBOAT CLIQUE

I’d see Kathy Perks’s The Lifeboat Clique advertised and on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but I never really gave it a second thought.

Until, I read someone compare it to Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens.  And then I was like I MUST READ THIS BOOK THAT IS LIKE BEAUTY QUEENS!!1

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So, of course I dashed off to Amazon and ordered it.

After finishing Daughters Onto Devils, I picked it up.  And let me tell you, I nearly read it in a day — if I’d have the time to read all day.  Once I got going, it was hard to put down.  I was basically walking around reading as I was doing things.  (No lie, I made pancakes while reading.)  I was like Belle.

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So, without further ado, here is the review…hey, that rhymed!

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The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Perks
Katherine Tegen Books, 2016

What It’s About:

The basic premise is, an earthquake-caused tsunami overtakes Malibu, California, and ends up killing a bunch of high school kids at a party.  A small group of five of those kids survive on a floating roof.  Three of them are Popular Girls, one (our narrator) an outcast, and a boy who drifts between groups.

Here’s the more direct run-down.  Denver, a social outcast and self-proclaimed loner, attends a party in Malibu, thrown by her ex-best friend, Abigail, after being invited by hot-Popular Boy, Croix.

All day, California has been feeling tremors of tiny earthquakes, which of course sets up for the Big Disaster later in the novel.  (And by later, I mean by Chapter 4 or so.)

I’m going to skip over the play-by-play, because while the plot is interesting, it’s not really the “heart” of the story, or what makes it so good.  So, skip to behind the cut if you’d like to read more about the plot, and maybe be a little spoiled…

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Bonus Content: Books Ashley’s Excited For!

As I was browsing YALit’s list of upcoming books, I found three I’m really excited about.

For some reason, recently, I’ve been obsessed with the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.  She’s not a particularly lovely character, but nonetheless.

So, I was super excited to learn Marissa Meyer has a book focused on the Queen of Hearts coming out later this year.  (Heartless, November 8, 2016)

But, coming sooner…

Colleen Oakes’s Queen of Hearts from HarperCollins May 3, 2016.

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From Barnes & Noble:

ONLY QUEENS WITH HEARTS CAN BLEED.

This is not the story of the Wonderland we know. Alice has not fallen down a rabbit hole. There is no all-knowing cat with a taunting smile. This is a Wonderland where beneath each smile lies a secret, each tart comes with a demand, and only prisoners tell the truth.

Dinah is the princess who will one day reign over Wonderland. She has not yet seen the dark depths of her kingdom; she longs only for her father’s approval and a future with the boy she loves. But when a betrayal breaks her heart and threatens her throne, she is launched into Wonderland’s dangerous political game. Dinah must stay one step ahead of her cunning enemies or she’ll lose not just the crown but her head.

Evil is brewing in Wonderland and maybe, most frighteningly, in Dinah herself.

The first novel in Colleen Oakes’s epic, imaginative series proves heroes can become villains and fairy tales can become nightmares.

This is not a story of happily ever after.

This is the story of the Queen of Hearts.

I mean — how cool does this sound?  And it’s a first novel in a series.  BRING THEM ON.

Another book I’m excited about is Margot Harrison’s The Killer in Me, but it’s not released until July 12, 2016.

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From Barnes & Noble:

Hasn’t he lived long enough? Why not? I could take him like a thief in the night.


This is how the Thief thinks. He serves death, the vacuum, the unknown. He’s always waiting. Always there.

Seventeen-year-old Nina Barrows knows all about the Thief. She’s intimately familiar with his hunting methods: how he stalks and kills at random, how he disposes of his victims’ bodies in an abandoned
mine in the deepest, most desolate part of a desert.

Now, for the first time, Nina has the chance to do something about the serial killer that no one else knows exists. With the help of her former best friend, Warren, she tracks the Thief two thousand miles, to his home turf-the deserts of New Mexico.

But the man she meets there seems nothing like the brutal sociopath with whom she’s had a disturbing connection her whole life. To anyone else, Dylan Shadwell is exactly what he appears to be: a young veteran committed to his girlfriend and her young daughter. As Nina spends more time with him, she begins to doubt the truth she once held as certain: Dylan Shadwell is the Thief. She even starts to wonder . . . what if there is no Thief?

From debut author Margot Harrison comes a brilliantly twisted psychological thriller that asks which is more terrifying: the possibility that your nightmares are real . . . or the possibility that they begin and end with you?

I’ve been on a true crime kick, so this just looks pretty awesome.  Plus, who doesn’t love a good story that includes a sociopath and murderer?

In the meantime, I’ll try to get through as many of the books on my TBR pile as I can…

What books are upcoming this year that you’re excited about?  Share with us!