Deb’s Top YA Thriller Recommendations


I am a sucker for YA Mystery/Thrillers with diabolical teenagers. I am not sure exactly what that says about me.

Every now and again, you need a good thriller. If you are like me, you may not enjoy novels that are too graphic in a violent or sexual nature. That is the good thing about YA (young adult) Thrillers. You get all the suspense and chills without the “details”.

I have many YA Thrillers on my Read List; however when readers ask for recommendations, these are my usual go to recommendations.

To date, Kara Thomas has not let me down. She can do no wrong with her amazing books that keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing until the end. I have read all three of her YA Thrillers; Little Monsters, The Cheerleaders, and The Darkest Corners (which was my favorite so far). Her books are very gripping. I could not wait to see what happened next. Although you knew certain things, stories, and characters were sketchy, you never expect the end!!!!!

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger was both Impressive and Disturbing. I do not have a vast understanding of Twitter. That does not take away anything from the subject matter. The main point of this novel, You don’t always know who you are talking to on the internet. There is both light and dark in this novel… mental illness, romance, heartache, fame, paranoia, true crime, and more. The main focus was predictable but the END, I didn’t see that coming. The ending was a complete blindside and makes the entire novel worth reading.

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas is one of the first books I will recommend when asked for a YA Thriller. I hate comparing books but I would have to say that this reminded me of Mean Girls meets Single White Female. This book has Lifetime Movie status. I immediately got sucked in and couldn’t put the book down until I was finished. I actually GASPED at the end.

Sadie by Courtney Summers was very interesting to me. Not many books leave me speechless. I listened to the audiobook and I HIGHLY recommend it. Although its an excellent book, I feel like the audio version gives it that extra boost to smack it out of the park. Especially for those who enjoy pod casts, this is a must for you. This book touches on addiction, mental illness, love and loss, regret, molestation, poverty, and predators. I have read a few novels in the past by Courtney Summers and have enjoyed them, but this, this one just had IT. I felt like I was with Sadie every step of the way and felt every figurative and literal punch in the gut she did. This is one of those books that will stick with you for a long, long time.

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout was probably one of the books that started my obsession with YA Thrillers. Fabulous!!! This book, while I had my suspicions, had me on the edge of my seat. From start to finish, I was captivated by the story. It was suspenseful, creepy, a little scary and just very well written.

While my book genre of choice is Cozy Mysteries, I do enjoy many other genres. Non Cozy Mysteries, Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Fantasy, and Suspense/Thrillers are all in my library. However; when I occasionally hit that reading funk, a good YA Thriller always does the trick for me.

Do you enjoy YA Thrillers? Have you read any of these books? Do you have a go to author or genre of books?

Psychological Thrillers and Its Okay To Love Them…

Have you ever read a book that is so disturbing that you felt wrong for enjoying it? Do you watch Investigative Discovery and wonder, why am I so interested in watching stories about killers and psychopaths?

You are not alone.

This past Saturday afternoon, I got sucked into the ID Channel for a few hours. I had to consciously tell myself to get up, get dressed, and get out of the house. Where did I go, Barnes and Noble of course.

With the new year starting, one of my goals is be more social. Another one of my goals is to get back to reading other genres of books that I enjoy (as I have become a reader of Cozy Mysteries primarily).

While at Barnes and Noble, I noticed the sign for their monthly book club this upcoming week. The book is a thriller, The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell. Although familiar with the author, I have never read any of her work. I thought, “how perfect!! A way to get in 2 of my goals!!”

The Family Upstairs
5 STARS

I downloaded the book on Audible and started to listen. I was hooked by chapter 4! The narrative cast is amazing. They really brought this story to life. The plot and the characters felt so real and gripping. I knew the book was a Thriller/Suspense Novel, but I really didn’t go into it knowing much more than that. I found myself almost becoming obsessed with the need to know what the heck was going to happen and how this would all play out in the end. Just when I thought I would have something figured out, a new plot or character twist would come to light and shock and some horror would overtake me.

I love a novel that has multiple story lines that eventually tie in together. This novel is told from multiple POVs and both past and present time frames. I can remember a few times where I audibly gasped at connections made.

I will not give out any specifics on the plot or characters as I feel reading this book with little knowledge of the plot was better for me, so I am granting you the same courtesy.

I had to sit after finishing it and just stare for a few moments. I honestly feel like need a shower or maybe even go to church, LOL. I haven’t read a psychological thriller in a while and this one has definitely reminded me that I love them.

I am not a fan of graphic and gratuitous violence and/or sex in my books and I am pleased to say that there is not much in this story. There is one semi descriptive scene that is necessary to plot, the rest is just alluded to or implied, thank goodness.

I will tell you that I will definitely pick up another Lisa Jewell book and I am going to research the narrating cast to see what other novels they do.

Three Widows and a Corpse by Debra Sennefelder

Book Three of the Food Blogger Mysteries

Three Widows and a Corpse 4 STARS

Another great mystery set off by a great cast of characters.

This series begins with Hope Early leaving her magazine editing career, a not so sweet stint on a baking reality show, and a failed marriage, all behind to focus on her Food Blogging career. Little did she know, she was going to become an amateur murder sleuth.

The third installment of The Food Blogger Mysteries starts off with a bang, literally

While competing in the town’s annual scavenger hunt, Hope finds the body of shady real estate developer, Lionel Whitcomb, shot in a parking lot. Lionel had been in the news a lot lately, pending the trial for his unsavory business dealings. Finding him shot isn’t as shocking as the fact that are three women there, claiming to be a Mrs. Whitcomb.

With so many possible murder suspects on the list, despite hunky Chief Ethan asking Hope to please stay out of the case, she finds herself smack in the middle, again.

This installment had a lot of plot twists to throw you way off; however, I pretty much had this one pegged early on. I also enjoy that the recipes for the blog aren’t the only thing heating up for Hope.

I received an advanced digital copy of this novel from NetGalley. I also purchased the audio version of the previous two. The narrator, Callie Beaulieu, is amazing. I highly recommend both.

I also recommend, Murder Wears a Little Black Dress, book one in the Resale Boutique series, by Debra Sennefelder, that was released in January 2019. Book two, Silenced in Sequins, will be released January 7, 2020 and is available for preorder.

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab

Book Two of the Cassidy Blake Series

Tunnel of Bones (Cassidy Blake, #2) 4 STARS

I found this series by chance and felt like I just needed a break from my regular reads. It was exactly what I needed. The books are short, one sitting reads but jam packed with entertainment.

Cassidy Blake is just your everyday teenager, well except that her parents are paranormal inspectors who have actually never seen a ghost, they just write about them. The irony of the situation is that ever since her near death experience, Cassidy has been able to not only see ghosts, but communicate with them. As a matter of fact, her best friend Jacob is the ghost that saved her life.

In the first installment of the series, The Blakes have been offered a television deal to visit and report on the most haunted cities in the world. Their first stop, Scotland. While there, Cassidy meets someone with the same abilities who teaches her why she has them and what to do with them.

In this, book two, The Blakes travel to Paris. While exploring the catacombs, Cassidy seems to have inadvertently released a ghost, well not just any ghost, a poltergeist. With the poltergeist getting stronger and causing mayhem throughout the city, she has to find out what she can do to get this ghost to respond to her and move it along.

Very entertaining story. This was written for a younger age group but there is enough history and suspense to keep you entertained at any age.

I enjoyed this story through audiobook format. I am looking forward to wherever Bridge of Souls, book 3, brings us. Expected publication is some time in 2020.

Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott

Book One of the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mysteries

Murder by the Book (Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery, #1) 4 STARS

Great way to start off this series. I will start by saying, I love books about books, mysteries, new friendships and budding romance. Yes, you guessed it, this book has it all.

Addie loved her job at the Boston Public Library, where she did some biblio-sleuthing by tracking down old and rare books. This was something that was in her blood as she soon finds out.

After receiving an unexpected inheritance from a great aunt, Addie leaves the big city and painful memories behind when she moves to a small seaside town in New England. Moving into Greyborne Manor, her family’s home, she finds that her aunt also left her countless first editions and other treasures—providing an inventory to start her own store.

When Addie’s store is broken into as well as her home, she starts to wonder if her tragic past, aunt’s death, and the current situations are all connected somehow. With the help of hunky detective Marc and his sister Serena, Addie’s new bff, will they be able to put this mystery together before its too late?

I have this book in both digital (NetGalley) and audio versions. The narrator, Karen White, does an amazing job.

Bark If It’s Murder by V.M. Burns

Book 3 of A Dog Club Mystery

Bark If It’s Murder (Dog Club Mystery #3) 5-STARS

I cannot say enough about this series. It is sweet with a slight romantic element, family oriented, female empowering and of course, MURDER!!

Lilly has put her past behind her and started a new life in Chattanooga. With the help of her best friend, Dixie, she is settling in well in her new surrounding. Looking to purchase a new home and doing well at her job, everything seems to be falling into place.

In this installments of the series, Lilly is helping Dixie out at Dog Show. While there, she meets the owner of Pet Haven, a posh doggie daycare and boarding facility. A last-minute opportunity arises to accompany her boss to an art auction, so Lilly decides to leave Aggie in the hands of Pet Haven. While watching the live feed of the facility to check in on Aggie, Lilly witnesses something that she surely believes is a murder in progress. Upon investigation, there is no crime scene and no body. Lilly, determined not to be deemed crazy, sets off to find out what happened and to whom.

What I love most about this series is that the protagonist, Lilly, is a middle aged woman with real life problems that we can relate to. She does her investigating but unlike many mystery protagonists, she doesn’t throw herself into extremely dangerous situations. In my opinion, these would be realistic if it was realistic for middle aged women to go around solving crimes.

I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I highly recommend this series, and cannot wait for an announcement on book 4.

A Midwinter’s Tail by Bethany Blake

A Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery

A Midwinter’s Tail (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery #4) 5 STARS

If I could go on a winter holiday, it would be to the pet-friendly Pocono Mountains town of Sylvan Creek. I love everything about the people and the place. The author makes the town seem so warm and inviting, well I mean yeah they have murders, but they are usually targeted. I wouldn’t feel unsafe there lol.

Daphne Templeton is a free-spirited pet sitter, armed only with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and a stubborn Basset Hound, who has become an amateur sleuth.

In this installment of the series, a former classmate and nemesis returns to Sylvan Creek. She plans on opening a big box discount pet store from her chain that she runs. In a town full of small business owners, especially pet shops, everyone is none to happy about this news. When her body is found soon after, the list of suspects seem vast, but someone has an obvious motive. However, it is very obvious that the suspect did not do it. Daphne, working better with Detective Jonathan Black, is hell bent on solving this murder and clearing her friend’s name.

This novel is just oozing with Christmas and Winter Bliss. As cold as it is in Sylvan Creek, relationships are heating up, both human and canine. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I adore the series but this was my favorite thus far. I am a Christmas enthusiast, so I am quite certain that aspect of the book helped.

This series is a fun way to escape the day or intrigue those who love a good “who dunnit” series. I swear, I have yet to figure it out in this series. I really enjoyed the detail of the story and character development, even all the dogs have great character development. A lot of cozies that I read, I describe as quick and fun, I would not describe this one as such. Ms. Blake is very detailed in her plot and characters, so you really get to dive into the story. I would not say one style is better than the other because I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to continuing on with the series.

I have this book in both digital (NetGalley) and audio versions. The narrator, Elise Arsenault, does an amazing job.