JANE ANONYMOUS by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz’s thrilling novel Jane Anonymous is a revelatory confessional of a seventeen-year-old girl’s fight to escape a kidnapper—and her struggles to connect with loved ones and a life that no longer exists.

Seven months.

That’s how long I was kept captive.

Locked in a room with a bed, refrigerator, and adjoining bathroom, I was instructed to eat, bathe, and behave. I received meals, laundered clothes, and toiletries through a cat door, never knowing if it was day or night. The last time I saw the face of my abductor was when he dragged me fighting from the trunk of his car. And when I finally escaped, I prayed I’d never see him again.

Now that I’m home, my parents and friends want everything to be like it was before I left. But they don’t understand that dining out and shopping trips can’t heal what’s broken inside me. I barely leave my bedroom. Therapists are clueless and condescending. So I start my own form of therapy—but writing about my experience awakens uncomfortable memories, ones that should’ve stayed buried. How far will I have to go to uncover the truth of what happened—and will it break me forever?


Title : Jane Anonymous
Author : Laurie Faria Stolarz
Format : eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : YA thriller/suspense
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : January 7, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

I loved the idea of this book from the blurb and I think that YA thrillers and suspense are in shorter supply, so I was all anticipation over reading it. This was a story of a 17 year old teen, Jane who was kidnapped and held by a mysterious young monster of a man. There is so much more to this story than meets the eye.

JANE ANONYMOUS was a fast-paced and tense read. My heart was beating and in my mouth at various junctures. Jane’s capture and imprisonment were told in the ‘then’ time frame but much of the story was also told in the ‘now’ post-escape and her difficulties to return to life. The kidnapper was not at all what I expected, which led to unfurling of later events with her captor. I did see some of the twists that came before they were revealed.

I was engaged throughout this book, I read quickly and avidly. I felt anger, sadness and frustration, often all at once. I felt such sorrow for Jane obviously around her time in captivity, but even more for her time afterwards, I think. I really appreciated the parental perspective, those small insights were heartbreaking and felt so tangible.

I would have loved to have rated this book higher but as more was revealed about her kidnapper and certain events that were hazy, there was a lack of clarity that was frustrating. Even more so, being left with unanswered questions in the end left me unsatisfied overall. This book had masses of potential but it didn’t quite realise all of the possibility. All that said, this author wrote in a very engaging style and I would definitely read her work again.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and netgalley for the early review copy.

ANTICIPATED JANUARY 2020 RELEASES

Each month, we’ll be putting together a list of our top most anticipated releases; from romance, to sci-fi, to fantasy, and everything in between. These releases might be ones we’re counting down the days for or ones we’ve already read and want you to read (and love!), too.

What you do need to bear in mind is that living on different continents we have different release dates. So as a general rule there might be some repeats from one month to the next.. it’s not that we’re just being weird. Though we can’t dismiss that totally out of turn.


For January, our hotly anticipated titles, in chronological order, are :


If you’re missing the vibes from To All The Boys I Loved Before series, then LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI by Abigail Hing Wen has something to offer to fill that hole. It’s definitely more mature and set in Taipei. The Taiwanese summer camp makes for a memorable read but amidst the fun there are some serious topics. Micky will have a review coming for this. It’s out on January 7, 2020 and it is also the first in a series.

JANE ANONYMOUS by Laurie Faria Stolarz is a most unusual contemporary YA that features a kidnapping of a teen and life afterwards as she tries to reintegrate into society. If you seek tension and a thriller ride, this should be a compelling read. It releases on January 7, 2020.

TOUGH GUY by Rachel Reid is book three in the author’s Game Changers series. HEATED RIVALRY, book two, was one of Hollis’ favourite reads of 2019. This particular match up isn’t a coming out story and, like book one, features a hockey player and a non-hockey player romance. Look for this one out January 13, 2020, and stay turned for a review from the blog!

LUCKY CALLER by Emma Mills is a much anticipated release for anyone who loves Millsy. This release heralds a change in format for the author’s covers, and she’s since revamped all her releases, but nevermind the packaging, what about the insides? You can find out about those on January 14, 2020, and expect another review from us.

LOVE HER OR LOSE HER by Tessa Bailey is book two in her Hot and Hammered series. Neither of us loved book one, FIX HER UP, but this one surprised and delighted us both! We’ll also have a review for this one but keep an eye out on this one if you either loved or didn’t love book one. We think this’ll work for you either way! You can pick it up on January 14, 2020.

If you know either of us at all, you know we are huge Lucy Parker fans. So colour us happy as piglets in shit (sorry, Micky) when we got news there was more to come for her London Celebrities series. HEADLINERS was a huge hit for us and we hope you’ll love it, too. It comes out on January 20, 2020, and you know there’ll be a review coming your way.

TWEET CUTE by Emma Lord is a YA contemporary debut and oh man was it charming, full of feels, snark, and cheese. Literal cheese of the grilled variety. We’re on the blog tour for this one and we’ll have a review for you, too. Twice the love because this book was so great. You can fall in love with it, too, on January 21, 2020.

WHITEOUT by Adriana Anders has Micky shouting from the antarctic about this grumpy male researcher and peppy chef stranded and in a dangerous set of circumstances. If you enjoy a romantic suspense, like the idea of antarctic context and a chase across the white stuff (you should all be shouting yes to this), then do not fear, January 28, 2020 will sort you out.


What titles are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments below!

MONTHLY WRAP UP – DECEMBER 2019

To close out each month, we’ll be posting a break down of everything we reviewed, beginning with the reads we loved.. and ending with the reads we didn’t. Not only does this compile all our reviews in one handy summary for you to peruse, or catch up on, it also gives us an interesting birds eye view of the month and our reads. And maybe, even, our moods.


☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

CLOCKWORK ANGEL by Cassandra Clare — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

LOVE LETTERING by Kate Clayborn — see Hollis’ review here
WILDFIRE by Ilona Andrews — see Micky’s review here
THE ONE FOR YOU by Roni Loren — see Micky’s review here (!)
WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens — see Micky’s review here
ONE YEAR HOME by Marie Force — see Micky’s review here
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by BA Paris — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

REGRETTING YOU by Colleen Hoover – – see Micky’s review here
WOULD LIKE TO MEET by Rachel Winters — see Hollis’ review here
THE ONE FOR YOU by Roni Loren — see Hollis’ review here (!)
A SCARCITY OF CONDORS by Suanne Laqueur — see Hollis and Micky’s reviews here
THE PLACES I’VE CRIED IN PUBLIC by Holly Bourne — see Micky’s review here
FIX HER UP by Tessa Bailey — see Micky’s review here
AURORA RISING by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff — see Hollis’ and Micky’s review here
ANNIE’S SONG by Catherine Anderson — see Micky’s review here
THE QUEEN OF NOTHING by Holly Black — see Micky’s review here (!)
INSTACRUSH by Kate Meader — see Hollis’ review here
A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY by Brigid Kemmerer — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ star reads

SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY by Emma Scott — see Hollis’ review here


star reads


unrated

THE QUEEN OF NOTHING by Holly Black — see Hollis’ review here (!)



additional reads not reviewed for blog : two
total reads by Micky : fourteen
favourite read of the month : CLOCKWORK ANGEL by Cassandra Clare
least favourite read of the month : THE PLACES I’VE CRIED IN PUBLIC by Holly Bourne
most read genre : fantasy

total reviews by Hollis : eight
favourite read of the month : LOVE LETTERING by Kate Clayborn
least favourite read of the month : SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY by Emma Scott
most read genre : contemporary romance

PAPER AVALANCHE by Lisa Williamson

‘Bonnie. Never Mum or Mummy or Mother. Just Bonnie.’

When it comes to flying under the radar, Ro Snow is an expert.

No friends.

No boys.

No parties.

And strictly NO VISITORS.

It may be lonely, but at least this way the truth remains where it should – hidden.

Then Tanvi Shah, the girl who almost died, comes tumbling back into her life, and Ro finds herself losing control of her carefully constructed lies.

But if Ro’s walls come crumbling down, who’s going to take care of Bonnie…


Title : Paper Avalanche
Author : Lisa Williamson
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 384
Genre : YA Contemporary
Publisher : David Fickling Books
Release Date : January 2, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

If you know me, you know that YA contemporary is a bit of a sweet spot but none more than those set in the UK. I find it so identifiable, the language, the nuances, the culture. Sarcasm abounds, no-one is ‘awesome’ and life is generally a bit grittier than we see in the average YA set in the US.

PAPER AVALANCHE was all those things from the first few pages, utterly engaging and heartachingly provoking. The protagonist, Ro was 14 years old, so in some ways, this was a young YA; but it wasn’t. Ro was a carer, certainly a caretaker and a provider in her house. She was an old soul, but a jaded old soul. She wasn’t experiencing a childhood, she hadn’t for a long time and it hurt to read sometimes.

The story of living in the house of a hoarder was certainly unique to my reading experiences. The whole context and narrative voice felt incredibly fresh. Ro’s reluctant maturity and survivor mode had my own parenting instincts on full alert. I hated both her parents with a passion and I think I hated the father more.

Bonnie’s hoard no longer encroaches on my space, but I still feel the weight of it all around me.

In the midst of this mess (excuse the pun), some new experiences were waiting for Ro in the form of friendships, a crush and self-belief. It felt so good to cheer for Ro as she navigated a little good along with the bad.

This is a book worth reading and not only that, it is a book worth shouting about. The writing had such an ease to it, that I slipped into the story and the characters which were rich and unusual. I loved everything about the reading experience with PAPER AVALANCHE and I’m wondering why I never picked up the heralded first book by this author; I will do now.

I highly recommend this contemporary YA set in Brit-land for a slice of the grim and a lack of cookie-cutter. Lisa Williamson keeps it real, advocating with her story for some of the difficult lives that young people navigate with integrity and bravery. I’m a fan.

Thank you to David Fickling Books and Ed PR for this review copy.