Review: Give It Back by Danielle Esplin

Give It Back

Give It Back
Author: Danielle Esplin
Publisher: Danielle Esplin
Published: April 7, 2016
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Contemporary
My Rating:

3 Stars


Synopsis new

This novel follows three characters: Lorraine, Lexy, and Ella.


Not long ago, Lorraine lost her husband to another woman. She thought that was the worst thing that could happen to her, but soon she realizes it’s just the beginning of an everlasting nightmare.


Lexy, an au pair from London, moves to Seattle to help Lorraine with her infant son. But she didn’t come for the child…she came for something else.


When Ella receives a call from her sister, Lorraine, who begs her to leave San Diego to spend time with her, she decides to take a few days off from work to visit her. Frightened to see how much Lorraine has weakened since her diagnosis eight months ago, she packs a bag and heads to Seattle with a foreboding feeling that this might be the last time she sees Lorraine.

But on her way to the airport, she learns that something shocking has happened since she last spoke with Lorraine and now. To make matters worse, once Ella arrives in Seattle, Lorraine’s story keeps changing, making Ella question how reliable her sister really is.

Soon Ella is entangled in a mysterious investigation, and more so, in the lives of everyone involved. She realizes not only that she won’t go home anytime soon but also that she’ll never look at others the same way she did before.

Pitch Perfect Pick Winner April 2016.
May 2016 Go Indie Now! Literary Award Winner.

my thoughts new


Give It Back was a good psychological thriller book for me. It was ingeniously written and was constructed with a clever and mysterious plotline. However, there were some issues that made this book a less enjoyable read for me.

Give It Back‘s story centered on three women namely Lorraine, Lexy, and Ella. When Lexy and Lorraine’s son went missing, Ella got to Seattle to help Lorraine solve the mystery behind. That time, Lorraine was also dying of brain cancer and everything was just so complicated and messed up. There were other characters that were involved in the case as Ella tried to dig deeper and uncover secrets alongside two detectives in the city.

In this book you can expect to find multiple POVS and numerous timelines that jump from past to present and then back again. I was okay with the multiple POVS. However, reading the back and forth timelines felt like a chore to me. At times it also made me feel confused and somewhat… lost.

The characters were interesting enough… especially Lexy. For me, she’s the most intriguing heroine here. I found her so inscrutable– like she’s totally hiding all the secrets in every scheme. The plot was also unpredictable, though I admit when I got into the near-end parts I was already forming a clue. Still, it didn’t fail to surprise me when the bomb dropped.

There were unnecessary scenes unfortunately, and they pushed everything into a slower pace which bored me. Nevertheless, the mystery factor was fairly good. It did strike me as particularly daring, so I liked it.

Despite my issues with the unnecessary scenes and slow pacing, the second half of the book was able to build up a decent finale. It was a hanging conclusion, but hey, this is psychological thriller. It’s what we usually anticipate, right?

As a whole, Give It Back was a promising debut novel. Danielle Esplin is a storyteller that has so much potential. I hope she writes more books because this book was sure to be a good start!

(Thank you to the author Danielle Esplin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!)


3 Stars

Buy this book at:


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Review: Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

Mud Vein

Mud Vein
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Publisher: Tarryn Fisher
Published: April 5, 2014
Genre: Dark, Romance, New Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller
My Rating:

5 stars new


Synopsis new

When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat… and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

my thoughts new

“It’s the darkness that pulls me in. Your mud vein.”

Tarryn Fisher, you just left me speechless there!

This may be one of the best unsettling books I’ve read in my entire life. It’s dark and twisted, chilling and psychotic, and totally riveting. Mind-blown!


“Someone could take your body, use it, beat it, treat it like it’s a piece of trash, but what hurts far worse than the actual physical attack is the darkness it injects in you.”

Mud Vein begins when Senna Richards woke up one day in a strange home. She didn’t exactly remember what or who brought her there. She later on found out that she’s not the only one who was abducted but also Isaac Asterholder, the surgeon who saved her from a traumatic incident months ago and the one who operated her breast cancer away. Together they did everything to survive in that inescapable place and tried to bring themselves out. But when days and weeks passed without getting any clue, their intricately deep and dark feelings were slowly unraveled which made their situation a lot more twisted.

“I am an animal, bent on surviving. I let nothing in. I let nothing out.”

It’s my second time to read a novel by Tarryn Fisher. The first one was her F*ck Love which unfortunately didn’t amaze me. I vowed to give her another chance after that and now I don’t regret it. This one is going straight to my favorites!

“I am a self-fulfilling prophecy; destroying before I could be destroyed.”

There were so many things that I loved about this book. First was of course, the impeccable writing of Tarryn that is all her own. I found myself so engaged because of the gripping quality of her writing. Secondly, the gasp-inducing thrilling scenes that the book brought. Also, the book had that certain effect, one that invited me to dig more and more to discover the mystery behind. It basically left my mind reeling in ten different directions all at once. Hands-down!

“That’s what it’s like to be a prisoner of anything. You want your freedom until you get it, then you feel bare without your chains.”

One of the things that also surprised me was the romance. I didn’t thought the romantic aspect here had a bigger role in the entire story. Which was good, in my opinion because in the end, everything just made a perfect sense.

“Being stuck on love was a real bitch to cure. Like cancer, I think. Just when you think you’re over it, it comes back.”

The plot also impressed me. I loved when the book took me from present to past and back to the present. It just made the mystery more and more interesting.

“I never thought of love as a choice. Rather, it seemed like the un-choice. But if you stayed with someone who was self-destructing and chose to keep loving, I suppose it could be a choice.”

My favorite parts of course, were those scenes when Senna and Isaac interacted before they were kidnapped. Isaac was such a perfect hero. Just one of a kind. The gentleness he exuded and the way he did everything to stay by Senna’s side after what happened to her was so admirable. I mean, damn, I can’t help but fall for this man.

“If someone was going to be digging around in my chest with a scalpel, I wanted it to be the guy who showed up and fixed things.”

And then when this conversation happened…

“Why are you here?”

He hesitated briefly then said, “Because you are.”


Senna, I admit, was difficult to understand. Her dark thoughts and her self-destructing personality made me cringe every time. But she was uniquely portrayed in this book and scrutinizing her way of thinking was the best thing of all.

There were lots of cry-worthy moments here. I felt so connected to the characters and their emotions and everything they went through together. There was just something about their insane experience that made me feel so emotional.

“You are a stillness. And I tried to move you. It didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean you didn’t move me. I heard everything you didn’t say. I heard it so loudly that I couldn’t shut it off. Your silence, Senna. I hear it so loudly.”

Another scene that broke my heart into pieces…

“Tell me a lie, Isaac.” His fingertips trace a curlicue on my shoulder.
“I don’t love you.”

This book was also unpredictable. I developed a lot of conspiracy theories but none of them was correct. Lol. I guess I’m just not a good detective.

“You loved me so much that I started to love myself.”

Overall, this book was a real surprise. It’s a great psychological, romantic thriller. The ending of course, made me cry. (view spoiler) I think that conclusion was just the right way to end it. It was strongly delivered and it sure gave me goosebumps. I would highly recommend this amazing book for fans of dark and mystery/psychological suspense and thriller books.

“You can’t fix me,” I said, looking at his knees.
“I don’t want to.”
“I’m mangled,” I said. “On the inside and the outside.”
“And yet I love you.”


5 stars new

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xo pearl


Review: Amaranthine by Lanie Jacobs

Amaranthine (Willow Shadows #1)

(Willow Shadows #1)
Author: Lanie Jacobs
Publisher: CreateSpace
Published: August 7, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Paranormal, Mystery
My Rating:

4 stars new


Synopsis new

With Graduation only weeks away, Khalida’s normal everyday boring life is turned upside down in one day. One day is all it took to change everything she ever knew. Never knowing her past, Khalida, is thrown into a world of vampires and just not any vampires, ones who will hunt to the end to kill her. Everyone around her is in danger and she must fight to protect those she loves. Thrust into the chaos, Luke, a boy whom she could never walk completely away from, one who would give his life to protect hers. And Carey, the ex-boyfriend who will stop at nothing to make sure that the darkness that surrounds Khalida succeeds in taking everything away from her. Though, Luke, would take on the world to save her, can he help Khalida save her from herself?

my thoughts new

Amaranthine by Lanie Jacobs

“Khalida was always his heart, but based on the rippling pain that scored across his heart, she was his soul.”

Gripping, intense, and charged with a combination of action and mystery. This debut novel is wonderfully written. It’s about a girl named Khalida who didn’t know she’s a hybrid vampire until she was nearing her 18th birthday and she accidentally bit the neck of her boyfriend Luke who’s also a vampire.

This book started so strong that even if I was still at the beginning chapters I was already on the edge of my seat. It was fast-paced and every chapter brought out some surprises. The characters were also introduced in a mysterious and interesting way. What I greatly noticed about this book was the author’s writing style which was surprisingly good for a debut novel. It wasn’t Stephenie-Meyer-and-Richelle-Mead-writing-style-perfect but if this author continues to do her thing, then I guess she’s on her way to becoming one of them.

I had a bit of a hard time adjusting with Khalida’s attitude, though. I admit I was really annoyed with her most of the time because of her aggressive and careless decisions which led her and other people to trouble. Nevertheless, I was glad her character developed in the last few chapters and she came out strong in the end. Never too late for that! Luke, however, was a great character for me. I loved how he continued to protect Khalida and kept his patience under control in dealing with her attitude. Also, this guy’s a caveman! He’s very territorial with his girl, which was kind of cute. 🙂

I also enjoyed the romantic plot here. It’s quite amazing how the author didn’t exert a great effort in initiating the romance between Khalida and Luke because they’re already lovers (although on and off) so the romantic build-up was already there.

The huge plot twist was the book’s ultimate strength here.. WOW, I DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING! Not at all. And that cliffy ending! Ugh. Why did it happen? Overall, this book was a great read. Definitely waiting for the sequel to come out. 🙂

(A free copy of this book was given by the author Lanie Jacobs in exchange for an honest review.)


4 stars new

Buy this book at:


xo pearl

Review: Never Never: Part Three by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Never Never: Part Three (Never Never, #3)

Never Never: Part Three
(Never Never #3)
Author: Colleen Hoover, Tarryn Fisher
Publisher: Colleen Hoover, Tarryn Fisher
Published: January 19, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal
My Rating:

3 stars new


Synopsis new

New York Times bestselling authors Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher are back with the much-anticipated final installment in the Never Never novella series.
Together, Silas Nash and Charlize Wynwood must look deeper into the past to find out who they were and who they want to be. With time ticking down, the couple are in a race to find the answers they need before they lose everything. Can they regain what they once had? And will it restore who they once were?

my thoughts new

“I could spend every day getting to know you all over again, Charlie, and I don’t think I’d get sick of it.”

When I started reading this finale of Never Never series, I’ve already decided to rate it either 4 or 5 stars. That moment when you’re confident enough that the final book will give you the grandest, most surreal surprise. (Guess we all deserve that after those series of cliffhanger endings..) I must say my expectations were too high on this because I’ve enjoyed the first and the second book real hard! (Part 1 – 4/5 stars; Part 2 – 5/5 stars).

The first half of the book hooked me big time! The thrill of getting closer to finding out the mystery behind Silas and Charlie’s amnesia was overwhelming and so were the series of events which were getting edgier as the chapters went by. I swear I got a lot going on on my mind and I was forming way too many theories, trying to figure out the dreaded truth! And BAAAM! The anticipated plot twist. Wait, is that even a plot twist?


In my opinion, it’s just an explanation. Nothing really exciting and I couldn’t bring myself to consider it a twist. It’s painful to say this but I was significantly less impressed with the revelation I’ve been freaking out over the months. There was this huge revelation about Charlie’s dad though, but… Is that it? After all? Ugh.

I guess the only thing that does not make this book a total let-down was of course, the beautiful and powerful writing of Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher. The story was a quick, fast-paced read and there were no boring parts all throughout the book. The romance also got me on my feels on a lot of levels. I guess those were the factors that held me together.

(Some beautiful quotes I’ve highlighted, by the way. 🙂

“I don’t see anything ever happening in this life that could make me not want you all over my skin.”


“I love you. Enough to camouflage you into my skin.”


“Fate is the magnetic pull of our souls toward the people, places, and things we belong with.”


“We can’t take back who we’ve been in the past, Charlie. But we can control who we are in the present.”

Overall, Never Never: Part Three was good, but I wasn’t really wowed. It could be an epic finale if there was a better twist. It really lacked the freak-me-out factor. But well… it wasn’t really that bad at all since the ending and the epilogue were great and the questions were answered in the end.

“Never stop. Never forget.”


3 stars new

Buy this book at:


xo pearl


Review: The Blood and the Raven by John Hennessy

The Blood and the Raven (A Tale of Vampires, #2)

The Blood and the Raven 
(A Tale of Vampires #2)
Author: John Hennessy
Publisher: John Hennessy
Publication: February 1, 2015
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Young Adult
My Rating:

four stars


A group of teenagers spend a night amongst
the ruins of an old priory, taking turns to scare
each other with a tale of horror, the next tale
more frightening than the last.

When it comes to Seth, the last storyteller,
he is reluctant to tell the story, because once
the tale has been told, those who hear it, will
begin to die.

His friends think Seth is bluffing – but is he in
fact, telling the truth?

To find out, you must dare to read the tale of The Blood and The Raven.


This is the second in the Tale of Vampires series.


About A Tale of Vampires Series:-

There will be seven books in the series, novella style, that are separate, standalone stories, but link up to one big story in the end. Of course, they are best read in order.

my thoughts

(A digital copy was generously provided by the author John Hennessy in exchange for an honest review. *This does not influence my rating and review*)

So this book is real creepy. Horror books are usually out of my wheel but John Hennessy managed to pull me out of my reading comfort zone by simply making me drawn into the spooky storyline of this book.


The Blood and the Raven is the second novella installment of A Tale of Vampires. I’ve enjoyed the first installment of this book which was the Murderous Little Darlings and this novella is equally good!

One thing I love about The Blood and the Raven is its beautiful, thrilling plot. It’s about teenagers hanging out around an old cemetery, telling one another horror tales. But that’s not just about that. One of these kids, the main character of this story Seth, has the ability to kill anyone who listens to his story. Sounds scary? You have no idea how my spine basically tingled! As Seth’s story went on, I discovered yet another more scary story about a couple who went to a strange town where they experienced an unforgettable real-life nightmare.

For a young adult horror book, this is not a typical fare because it’s basically unique and really effective. The writing style, once again, impressed me. And those scenes– especially the ending, made me want to hurl. I’ve actually read it around 3:00 A.M. and I was scared as shit!

So if you are a horror fan, this book is for you. I highly recommend you to read the first novella of this series if you haven’t read it yet. 🙂

Rating: 4 Stars


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