“We Were Liars by” E. Lockhart

we were liars
Summertime on Beechwood Island in Massachusetts has always been special for the Sinclair family. Harris Sinclair, the patriarch of the family, owns the small island near Martha’s Vineyard and built a summer house there for each of his three daughters. Cadence “Cady” Eastman, eldest grandchild of Harris and his beloved wife Tipper, has happily lived and loved every summer with her extended family on Beechwood.

Summer 15 proves to be difficult in many ways. It’s the year when everything changes. Cady’s father leaves. Tipper passes away. Cady realizes in her heart that she’s in love with Gat, her cousin Johnny’s best friend, who also spends his summers on Beechwood Island. The summer Gat tells her he loves her. But what about his girlfriend back home? Their first kiss. The summer of her “accident”, an accident she doesn’t really remember. Secrets and lies. The summer when her world comes apart.

Summer 16 is not a good one for Cady either. She is forced to go on a European vacation with her father instead of her usual summer plans. She hasn’t been in touch with any of the “Liars”, cousin Mirren, Cousin Johnny, or her Gat. None of them have written or called since her accident the previous summer. No Beechwood. No Gat. No Liars. Only brutal migraines that leave Cady in extreme pain, sometimes sleeping for days, and taking meds that the doctors prescribe but don’t actually work.

Now, it’s Summer 17, two years after her accident. She has convinced her mom to let her come back to Beechwood. Bits and pieces of Summer 15 flash back to her in between her frequent migraines. All Cady remembers about the accident was going down to the beach alone to swim and the way she was found, freezing and curled up into a ball on the shore. Something else must’ve happened. A fight maybe? She must’ve hit her head on the rocks, right? Hypothermia they said. Respiratory issues they said. But why can’t she remember? Traumatic brain injury and selective amnesia was her diagnosis, but it still made no sense. Why would Cady go alone when the three other Liars were always with her? So many questions Cady couldn’t answer. Or could she?

Lockhart does an amazing job with this story. I couldn’t put it down. Some will see the plot twist and some won’t, but it doesn’t change the intrigue and mystery surrounding Cady’s accident and the craziness in her family. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that enjoys quick reads, romance, and a good mystery.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Kelly Handy

“This Dark Endeavour” by Kenneth Oppel

TDE

This Dark Endeavour is the first book in Oppel’s The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein series. Taking place when Victor Frankenstein was just a teenager, This Dark Endeavour charts Victor’s quest to find the elixir of life after his twin brother, Konrad, falls seriously ill. Accompanied by Konrad, and their distant cousin, Elizabeth, Viktor begins to study ancient alchemical texts after finding a secret library in his family’s chateau. Yet, once Konrad gets sick, Victor’s interest in alchemy becomes an obsession, often putting his and Elizabeth’s lives in danger as they try to gather the ingredients necessary for the elixir of life. The story is suspenseful and atmospheric, and I often could not put it down.

Fans of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and of the gothic horror genre are sure to enjoy this gripping read. Oppel stays true to the feel of Shelley’s original work, while creating a whole new back story and bringing new life to the characters of Frankenstein in this prequel. He also expertly writes his characters, creating a plausible explanation for the adult Victor Frankenstein’s obsession with overcoming death. This Dark Endeavour is followed up by an excellent sequel, Such Wicked Intent, and I am eagerly awaiting Oppel announcing the third book in the series.

Check this book out or put it on hold.
-Caitlin Connelly

“Cruel Beauty” by Rosamund Hodge

cruel  beauty

In this twist on the classic fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast,” Nyx has been raised her whole life knowing that it is her destiny to marry the Dark Lord, the evil ruler of her kingdom. On her seventeenth birthday Nyx marries Ignifex with one mission, kill him and free Arcadia, even though she will likely die in the process. Of course, like in “Beauty and the Beast,” things aren’t quite so straightforward once Nyx gets to know her mysterious husband. She is intrigued by and drawn to Ignifex and her commitment to what she has been tasked to do begins to waver.

Hodge has created a unique world in her novel. Nyx’s kingdom is completely cut off from the outside world, thanks to the Dark Lord, and is plagued by demons. The world of Cruel Beauty combines elements of both Greek and Roman mythology. Hodge’s writing is beautiful and I could easily picture the kingdom of Arcadia and Ignifex’s constantly changing mansion as Nyx searches for a way to fulfill her mission. Hodge’s detailed descriptions of setting and of Nyx, a strong yet imperfect heroine, were two of my favorite elements of this book.

For lovers of fairy tale retellings and fantasy, Cruel Beauty will not disappoint. My only quibble is that the ending felt a little rushed, after a lot of build up. But overall, Cruel Beauty is one of my favorite books of 2014, and I will definitely read Hodge’s next novel Crimson Bound.

Check this book out or put it on hold.
-Caitlin Connelly