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?

Silenced in Sequins by Debra Sennefelder

Book Two of A Resale Boutique Mystery Series

Silenced in Sequins 4 STARS

Another great novel by Debra Sennefelder!! Her stories have very likable characters in well developed plots and settings. Even while being haunted with murder, the story is very light and fun with moving and emotional aspects.

Kelly Quinn was a fashion buyer in Manhattan before inheriting her grandmother’s outdated consignment shop. Giving up her high fashion life, Kelly returns to her home town of Lucky Cove to turn the consignment shop into an up scale resale boutique. What Kelly didn’t expect was an uncle trying to shut her business down, the sheriff not being her number one fan, and solving murders.

In this installment of the series, Kelly is commissioned to sell some clothing from a reality series celebrity. When one of the reality stars turns up dead, Kelly is pulled in to the case by several different hands but one hand seems to want to cause trouble for Kelly. On top of that, she finds information that may put her business in jeopardy. Can Kelly find out what is really going on with the Long Island Ladies and can she find a way to save her lively hood and keep her grandmother’s legacy afloat before its too late?

I cannot wait to for the next installment of this series.

I received an advanced digital copy of this book from NetGalley and Lyrical Press, a division of Kensington Publishing.

Also by Debra Sennefelder…. The Uninvited Corpse (Food Blogger Mysteries #1)

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.

Theater Nights Are Murder by Libby Klein

Book 4 of the Poppy McAllister Mysteries

Theater Nights Are Murder

If you want a series of shenanigans, this is the series for you. There are several Laugh Out Loud moments. Libby Klein has very detailed plots and characters in her stories. Poppy is a very relatable character for me, as I too have felt her struggles with weight, love, and self esteem issues.

In the start of this series, a widowed Poppy McAllister returns to her home town to attend her high school reunion. While there and staying with her whimsical Aunt Ginny, she learns that social services is investigating Aunt Ginny for more than just being a little whimsical. After reconnecting with her high school best friend and realizing Aunt Ginny really can’t be on her own anymore, Poppy decides to stay.

In this installment of the series, Aunt Ginny’s high school boyfriend has retired from Broadway and is returning home to play the male lead in the senior center’s theater production of Mamma Mia. When one too many accidents start happening in the theater, one has to wonder, is someone trying to put a stop to the play or is someone trying to stop a player. Can Poppy and the Biddies get to the bottom of this case before another accident takes center stage?

It was fun to see the biddies investigate more and to see their romantic troubles too. I am not a huge fan of love triangles, but I understand that it works here. However, I picked my side early on in this series.

I received an advanced digital copy of the book from NetGalley as well as a print copy from the author and Kensington Books in return for my honest review.

I am looking forward to the next … Are Murder shenanigans in the future.

Sell Low, Sweet Harriet By Sherry Harris

Book 8 of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries

Sell Low, Sweet Harriet 5 STARS

This was one of my most anticipated new releases for the new year. However, you may read that many times in my reviews, as this list is quite long. Definitely in my top 10 Cozy Mystery Series, Sherry Harris did not miss a beat with the latest installment. The plot, characters, and even the crimes are so relatable. The books in this series fly by, like a visit with old friends.

In this installment, there is more mystery than any other book yet. There are several unrelated crimes in this book but, of course, Sarah has her hand in all of them. Between a murder on base, a garage sale for former CIA members, and her favorite mobster moving in next door again, Sarah is on super sleuth mode. While the authorities have become more accepting of Sarah’s abilities to solve the crimes, people on and around the Air Force Base are not very welcoming. With multiple tasks on her agenda, can Sarah get to the bottom of everything before she becomes the next victim?

Like I said, reading the new installment is like catching up with old friends. I am delighted that the end of this novel has some joyful news (I won’t spoil it). Although I wish Carol and Stella were more involved in the sleuthing this go around, I enjoyed meeting some of the characters introduced in this book.

I have both the digital and audio versions of this book. Hillary Huber, who is one of my most favorite narrators, does and phenomenal job with this series. I was awarded the digital ARC via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Now to impatiently wait for the next book…..

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020!!

I started my blog with the best of intentions and then life happened. One of my resolutions is to do better and blog more. I am going to have some new things going on starting this year and I am super excited about it.

Do you do Reading Challenges?? I do the annual challenge on Goodreads. I am currently at 128/130. I am reading two books at the moment, so I am pushing forward to finish them tonight to make my goal.

My first book of 2019 was Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend.

My last books of 2019 will be Theater Nights are Murder by Libby Klein and For the Love of Mike by Rhys Bowen.

My first book of 2020 will be Sell Low, Sweet Harriet by Sherry Harris. This is one of my most anticipated book releases. I adore this series and the audio narrator, Hillary Huber, is amazing.

I’ve made some amazing author and reader friends this year and I look forward to continuing these relationships and making more.

This year, I started several new series. Some of my favorite new to me series have been Seaside Cafe Mysteries by Bree Baker (aka Julie Anne Lindsey), Molly Murphy Mysteries by Rhys Bowen, Amish Candy Shop Mysteries by Amanda Flower, The Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries by Sherry Harris… just to name a few.

A few books that have surprised me, either being beyond my expectations or because I just didn’t think they were my tastes, have been Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Southern Sass and Killer Cravings by Kate Young, Apple Cider Slayings by Julie Anne Lindsey, Sadie by Courtney Summers, The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel, I’m Fine and Neither Are You by Camille Pagan, In the Dog House by VM Burns, and Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak.

I would love to list books that I am highly anticipating for 2020 but I feel that would be impossible as there are so many.

I would like to thank some of my online reading and blogging supporters. Karen, Traci, Brandi, Becky, Meg and Francis, what can I say, you guys rock!!!

I would like to give a special shout out to some amazing authors that have befriended me this year and I can’t respect them enough for their amazing craft and dedication to their fans. Julie Anne Lindsey, Ellen Byron, Shari Randall, Sarah Fox, Jenny Kales, Linda Reilly, Debra Senefelder and The Entire Cozy Mystery Crew, Krista Davis, Kimberley O’Malley, Ellery Adams, Tonya Kappes, Dean James, Karen Rose Smith, and so, so many more… You have invited me into your circles and groups and have provided me with the confidence to get out of my comfort zone, blog, host, and be part of an amazing community.

I look forward to the new books and opportunities that 2020 will bring. May everyone have a safe New Year’s Eve and a Successful 2020!!

Thank You!

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.

You Can Thank Me Later by Kelly Harms and Narrated by Lauren Fortgang

“Life may not have the happy ending you planned, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be happy in the end.” –Me

You Can Thank Me Later: A Novella (Audible Audio) 5 STARS

This a free Audible Original listen for the month of November. I picked it solely based on the fact that it had something to do with Thanksgiving and Family. I did not read the synopsis of the plot and went into this blind.

I adored this listen. The emotional roller coaster you take in this just over 3 hour audiobook is intense. I didn’t get out of the first 3 chapters without ugly crying and sobbing. Some ask, why would you want to read, listen, or watch something that is going to make you cry like that? I ask, what is wrong with crying? It is a healthy emotion, just like happy. I like to feel, and feel is exactly what this story made me do. It is packed with real, raw emotions that some have had to deal with in real life.

Although this story is packed with emotion, it also shows that there is life after loss and how to deal with it and in one case, how not to deal with it.

Plain and simple, this story is about love, family, loss, pain, growth, coping, and starting over. Life may not have the happy ending you planned, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be happy in the end.

I plan to look up Kelly Harms, author, as well as the narrator, Lauren Fortgang. I highly recommend.

An Ale of Two Cities by Sarah Fox

Book 2 of A Literary Pub Mystery Series
Release Date is 11/26/19

An Ale of Two Cities (Literary Pub Mystery #2) 4.5 STARS

I love Sarah Fox’s Pancake House Mysteries so I had no doubts that I would enjoy this series, and of course I was correct. How much fun would it be to have a literary pub to hang out in?!?!?! Ms. Fox has a great way of making you fall in love with the characters, the town, and the story.

Sadie leaves her life in Boston with her gambling addicted boyfriend and moves to the small town of Shady Creek, Vermont. She’s bought and redecorated the old grist mill pub, transforming the Inkwell into a cozy spot where tourists and regulars alike can enjoy a pint or a literary-themed cocktail, or join one of several book clubs.

After dealing with a murder and a murderer after her in the first installment, she has settled down in her new life in a great town with great people, including her Aunt Gilda, her friend Shontelle, and the handsome brewery owner Grayson.

Its winter in the town of Shady Creek and what better way to celebrate than with a Winter Carnival and ice sculpture contest? Everything is going perfect until one of the contests is found dead. To make matters worse, Mel, one of Sadie’s employees, has had her tools from the competition stolen and it turns out one of them was the murder weapon. With Mel being Suspect #1, Sadie is out to prove her friend’s innocence. Although the police have their eyes set on Mel, it seems everyone in town had a grudge against Freddy, including his assistant, his mentor, his former flame, and even his half-brother.

With the help up Grayson, who has some interesting secrets and sleuthing skills, Sadie is heating up the search for the killer…. and heating up her emotions for Grayson.

A very fast paced read, I didn’t want to stop. I am totally on board with Sadie and the gang and can’t wait to see what the future holds for Sadie and Grayson. I am highly anticipating book 3.
I was humbly awarded an advanced copy of the book, signed by Sarah Fox, as well as a digital copy from Kensington Publishing and NetGalley.