DARK AND SHALLOW LIES by Ginny Myers Sain

A teen girl disappears from her small town deep in the bayou, where magic festers beneath the surface of the swamp like water rot, in this chilling debut supernatural thriller for fans of Natasha Preston, Karen McManus, and Rory Power.

La Cachette, Louisiana, is the worst place to be if you have something to hide.

This tiny town, where seventeen-year-old Grey spends her summers, is the self-proclaimed Psychic Capital of the World — and the place where Elora Pellerin, Grey’s best friend, disappeared six months earlier.

Grey can’t believe that Elora vanished into thin air any more than she can believe that nobody in a town full of psychics knows what happened. But as she digs into the night that Elora went missing, she begins to realize that everybody in town is hiding something — her grandmother Honey; her childhood crush Hart; and even her late mother, whose secrets continue to call to Grey from beyond the grave.

When a mysterious stranger emerges from the bayou — a stormy-eyed boy with links to Elora and the town’s bloody history — Grey realizes that La Cachette’s past is far more present and dangerous than she’d ever understood. Suddenly, she doesn’t know who she can trust. In a town where secrets lurk just below the surface, and where a murderer is on the loose, nobody can be presumed innocent — and La Cachette’s dark and shallow lies may just rip the town apart.

Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: September 7, 2021
Source: Borrowed from the library

★★★

• YA Paranormal Mystery •

I started reading DARK AND SHALLOW LIES late last fall, but decided to stop to read some Christmas books. Six months later, I re-checked out the library eBook to finish, and the app actually remembered where I’d stopped reading. I thought returning it deleted bookmarks? Anyway!

The thing I loved most about this book was the setting. La Cachette, Louisiana, was a dark and complex character on its own. This is bayou country, surrounded by water, with its oppressive heat and eerie atmosphere. Psychic powers abound. Storms are threatening. And a teen girl is searching for her friend who went missing in the swamp months earlier.

The beginning grabbed my attention, and the ending was a wild, unexpected ride, but the middle part moved slowly. There was a big group of characters, none of whom I was all that invested in. I would’ve liked to have seen more character development and more action to move the plot ahead.

FAMILY OF LIARS by E. Lockhart

The thrilling prequel to the…New York Times bestseller WE WERE LIARS takes readers back to the story of another summer, another generation, and the secrets that will haunt them for decades to come.

A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts.
A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow.
A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy.
A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes.

Welcome back to the Sinclair family.
They were always liars.

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: May 3, 2022
Source: Purchased from B&N

★★★★★

I read WE WERE LIARS eight years ago and absolutely loved it. It was devastating, but also amazing. FAMILY OF LIARS is the prequel, but please read the original first to avoid any spoilers. The prequel is all about the previous generation of Sinclairs during their teen years (set in the 1980s), and we get a glimpse of why they are the way they are, and how their grief, guilt, and family dynamics affected their children years later. The writing is gorgeous. I do think the prequel is different in that it’s more of an atmospheric family drama rather than a mystery/thriller, though there are a few surprising twists along the way. I loved this book and didn’t want it to end!

See also: WE WERE LIARS [review]

Thoughts on Books (#26): A SECRET SHARED • BURIED IN A GOOD BOOK • THE SHADOW HOUSE

Hello! The school year is wrapping up this week, so hopefully I’ll have more time to post and blog hop very soon. I know I’ve missed a lot, and I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone! Do you have your summer reading list ready?


A Secret Shared
A Secret Shared
by Patricia MacLachlan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A SECRET SHARED is a sweet middle grade story about adoption and the meaning of family. Twins Nora and Ben discover that their little sister Birdy has different ancestry than they do from a secret DNA test. If Birdy isn’t their biological sister, then where did she come from, and why are their parents hiding the truth?

I liked the message that family goes beyond DNA, and it’s best to be upfront about things because the truth has a way of coming to light. I wish there had been more character development and more emotion given the situation. I also thought the parent/child dynamic was a little odd. I just can’t believe Gen Alpha kids would interact with their parents like they do in this book. They seemed rather old-fashioned? This book would probably be best for the youngest middle grade readers as it’s written pretty simply and straightforward. Nice message but felt lacking in depth.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.


Buried in a Good Book (By the Book #1)
Buried in a Good Book
by Tamara Berry
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

After a messy divorce, successful thriller writer Tess brings her teen daughter Gertie to a cabin in the woods that she inherited from her grandfather. Tess is hoping some rustic living — no internet, electricity, or running water — will get Gertie’s mind off the fact that her dad doesn’t seem to want her in his life anymore. Instead of peace and quiet, they find themselves wrapped up in a murder investigation when body parts are found in the pond behind the cabin.

I enjoyed the dynamics between characters, especially with Tess and Sheriff Boyd, who reminds her very much of her own fictional character Detective Gonzales from her hit thriller series. There were parts of the book I found silly (Bigfoot?) and the culprit was a big surprise, didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Overall though, BURIED IN A BOOK is a fun start this new cozy series.


The Shadow House
The Shadow House
by Anna Downes
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Ultimately I liked how the mystery played out, but it took a long time to get there. The eco-village was an odd setting to me. For some reason it took away from the creep-factor. Surprising twists toward the end, but I struggled to stay interested for a lot of the book. Borrowed from the library.

☆ Click on the book title to read the synopsis on Goodreads ☆

WHAT LIVES IN THE WOODS by Lindsay Currie

For fans of Small Spaces and the Goosebumps series by R.L Stine comes a chilling ghost story about a girl living in the decrepit and creepy mansion, who discovers something in the woods is after her.

All Ginny Anderson wants from her summer is to sleep in, attend a mystery writing workshop, and spend time with her best friend. But when Ginny’s father ― a respected restoration expert in Chicago ― surprises the family with a month-long trip to Michigan, everything changes. They aren’t staying in a hotel like most families would. No, they’re staying in a mansion. A twenty-six room, century-old building surrounded by dense forest. Woodmoor Manor.

But unfortunately, the mansion has more problems than a little peeling wallpaper. Locals claim the surrounding woods are inhabited by mutated creatures with glowing eyes. And some say campers routinely disappear in the woods, never to be seen again.

As terrifying as it sounds, Ginny can’t shake the feeling that there’s something darker… another story she hasn’t been told. When the creaky floors and shadowy corners of the mansion seem to take on a life of their own, Ginny uncovers the wildest mystery of all: There’s more than one legend roaming Saugatuck, Michigan, and they definitely aren’t after campers.

It’s after her.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Young Readers
Release Date: September 14, 2021
Source: Borrowed from the library

★★★¾

Main character Ginny Anderson is a Chicago tween obsessed with Agatha Christie novels, and she dreams of publishing her own mysteries someday. She feels her summer has been ruined when her dad gets a job renovating a spooky old mansion in Michigan. Instead of attending a fun summer writing class with her bestie, she has to spend a month stuck at Woodmoor Manor. When some creepy unexplained occurrences start happening in the house, Ginny finds herself immersed in her own mystery to solve.

What lives in the woods? I’m not sure, because the title & blurb of this book are a bit misleading. I enjoyed the mystery and the creepy atmosphere of Woodmoor Manor. If I were Ginny, I would’ve loved to spend the summer exploring an old mansion with Agatha Christie vibes, but she was focused on a way to get back to Chicago. She’s a clever and brave character who wouldn’t let ghosts get in her way. This book is a great pick for fans of middle grade horror.