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 (#23): THE BOOK OF COLD CASES • MRS. MARCH • A LESSON IN VENGEANCE

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” ― Lauren DeStefano


The Book of Cold Cases
The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

★ Publication date on March 15, 2022 ★

True crime podcasts are popular themes in thrillers these days, and in this book we have a cold cases blogger named Shea who lands an interview with Beth, the woman acquitted of murdering two men 40 years earlier. Shea has been long obsessed with this case, partly because it happened in her home town of Claire Lake, Oregon. If Beth didn’t kill those men, then who did? Beth has been reclusive for decades, hiding alone in her family’s creepy mansion, and also hiding the truth.

Usually I’m a huge fan of Simone St. James’ ghostly elements, but this time the paranormal didn’t fit particularly well. THE BOOK OF COLD CASES was more of a dysfunctional family drama with a murder mystery mixed in, and unfortunately the mystery gets solved too quickly! While I enjoyed the premise and characters, I thought the story moved slowly overall, and I kind of questioned the point of including the woo-woo. Liked this one, but didn’t love it.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Mrs. March
Mrs. March
by Virginia Feito
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

A wealthy New York housewife is horrified to learn that the pitiful protagonist of her husband’s latest novel might be based on her.

This book was a strange experience! I’m not exactly sure when the the story is set, probably mid-20th century. I would describe MRS. MARCH as literary suspense, or maybe a character study of a woman’s descent into madness. There’s even a murder mystery mixed in.

We only know the main character as “Mrs. March” until the very last sentence when her first name is revealed. I’m not sure I get the significance of that, still thinking it over. She’s definitely unreliable and filled with inner turmoil, and her husband’s new book sets her on a downward spiral.

The writing was good, and I enjoyed the Shirley Jackson/Daphne du Maurier influence throughout. It’s not exactly a fun read, but it did keep me glued to the pages. Borrowed from the library.


A Lesson in Vengeance
A Lesson in Vengeance
by Victoria Lee
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Felicity Morrow returns to the prestigious Dalloway School a year after her girlfriend’s death, but finds she’s still haunted by Alex’s memory and the school’s dark history of witchcraft and murder.

I enjoyed the gothic atmosphere, but that’s about it. For most of the book, I just didn’t get the point. Weak plot, pretentious characters. Had some intriguing twists near the end, but kind of boring overall. Borrowed from the library.

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT INDIANS BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK (Young Readers Edition) by Anton Treuer


Publisher: Levine Querido
Release Date: April 6, 2021

“Why are Indians so often imagined rather than understood?”

Ojibwe author and professor Dr. Anton Treuer tackles this question and dozens more in this engaging and informative book, perfect for young readers and adults alike. I learned so much from this book, including Indigenous history and the lives of Natives today. The Q&A format makes the information easily accessible, while the author’s personal writing style will keep readers interested.

There were so many eye-opening parts to this book, covering topics like mascots, stereotypes, sovereignty, blood quantum, and residential boarding schools. A personal story the author shared about his treatment by police after being stopped while driving with his wife really stuck with me. Also, I went to the University of Kansas, and I had no idea about the cemetery and its history at Haskell Indian Nations University, which was just down the street.

I borrowed this book from the library, but I’m planning to get a copy of my own. This would make a wonderful reference guide for social studies classrooms too. — 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪