Monday, April 28, 2014

REVIEW - DON'T LOOK BACK by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Don't Look Back 
by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date - April 10th 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository 

My breath caught and I dropped the letter, scuttling back on the bed. Heart racing, I closed my eyes, but I could still see the words…

Samantha Franco has the perfect life. Until, that is, she and her best friend Cassie disappear and only
Samantha resurfaces… with no knowledge of what happened.

And Cassie stays missing. Gradually, Samantha begins to piece together her memories of that night. If she can do that, she may yet be able to save her friend. And, little by little, something begins to emerge…

Then she gets the note.

Don't look back. You won't like what you find.
Jennifer has a unique way of writing and you can certainly see why she is New York Times's #1 Bestselling Author. I was a little afraid because of the diverse and different change to the subject of her writing. I guess I'm used to her paranormal romances of the Lux series and The Dark Elements series, but a suspense thriller was another genre that I can say passes with flying colours.

Previously I've read thrillers like Fracture by Megan Miranda or The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher, and for me this isn't a genre that I rarely read. It happens to be one that I have to have my detective cap on and get those little grey cells working. Don't Look Back, immerses you immediately into the adrenaline fuelled mind of  a young girl named Samantha forced to realise that she doesn't know who she, where she is and above all what has happened to her or her 'best friend' Cassie. Despite it being about the mystery of losing her memory and only regaining feelings and partial flashbacks, I felt this book held another ulterior motive...a second chance.

Samantha was a right b**** (I'm being very polite... but yes she was one) she was brought up on money and she should act, wear and be the money whether she's at school, dating the latest baseball champion or having followers (friends) of her very nature. Personally if I knew her, I doubt I would like her very much. But this Samantha 2.0 lets say, is a lot to be forgiven for. It's a new chance, a new life and furthermore a chance to rekindle old flames and friends of her childhood. As you progressed through the novel at first it was Sammy's mind and how it worked in mysterious natures, one minute she was fine and the next she seeing herself in a whole new darkness rather than light. The fascination that she is learning to fix her mistakes with friends and family and to be able to be the person that this new Samantha wants her to be.

The other half of the novel works with the man (talking hypothetically, of course) behind the murder of Cassie and the attempted murder and suspense over Sammy's condition. I mean it really kick's off and I'm forever turning the pages trying to solve the culprit... The ending or the last 100 pages is crazy and one of a deeply shocking nature. I can say that I had a hunch and at the end I said 'I KNEW IT' when you put all the pieces together. What was clever of JLA was that she hinted it in the beginning which nagged at me for like 5 minutes before other aspects of the novel stole my attention instead.

It's hard not to mention the characters, because despite the thrill of the chase, the undercurrent of romance was most definitely in the air, let just say old flames re-connecting... Scott, the macho, protecting brother that we should all love, Julie, her true friend since the age of 11, Carson, her childhood best friend and *cough* other elements of a growing friendship. The only element of her family that I truly detested with a passion was her mother, I mean if she thinks an alcoholic stay-at-home mom, alongside being the hierarchy of her fellowship of her friends, and thinking her own daughter is crazy, then she needs her head to be tested.

Despite being a rather, long review even by my standards, this mystery novel surly deserves. I didn't think JLA could possibly prevail from her other novels/series. A perfect standalone, and I think she could possibly do a e-novella from Carson's POV. I think that would be rather interesting to read. A wonderful, adrenaline fueled novel from a first class author.

Rating - 5

25 comments:

  1. Like you, Emma, I don't venture into this genre too often but all the positive reviews for this have made me consider picking it up rather soon. Lovely review, dear!

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    1. I urge you to read it Keertana. It's brilliant as you can see from my review! :) It's not something I read very rarely so this novel has definitely made me want to keep my options open! Thank you! :)

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  2. Yay Emma! So glad you enjoyed this one too! I definitely was not a fan of pre-accident Samantha, she was a miserable excuse for a human being, but I so love the steps she took to not be that person anymore when she came back. SO GOOD. And I agree, I would love a novella from Carson's POV!!!

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    1. Exactly! pro-Samantha was awful and I would've hated to meet her. Only seeing glimpses of her and the way her friends acted was proof enough. I agree too, I'd like to see what he was like, pro and post Sammy! Loved Carson! Thank you, Jenny! :)

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  3. Wonderful review, Emma! I love mystery and suspense and I've enjoyed JLA's writing so I'll have to read this. I like the UK cover displayed here better than our US cover. To me, it fits the story better. :)

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    1. Thank you, Rachel. That's very true, I get the symbolism of the US cover now when you read it. But before it's not very fitting. I hope you get to read this soon, Rachel! :)

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  4. Yay, I'm glad that you enjoyed this book because I am super curious! I can't wait to read this one Emma, thank you for your indepth review. I love how Samantha seems to get some character development throughout the novel and the mystery sounds intriguing. Lovely review!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. I think what I enjoyed the most was the character development and how she changed so much between before and after the memory loss. I really hope you get to read this one soon, Jeann! Thank you. :)

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  5. This book seems sooo interesting! :) Glad you enjoyed it. Now I want to read it too! I'm definitely adding this to my reading list because it looks like a really interesting read. :)

    PS. New follower! You have a pretty blog. :)

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

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    1. Thanks Jillian and Thank you for stopping by. I look forward to reading and talking about books with you. I hope you get to read this one soon! :)

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  6. I totally agree with your review, Emma!
    I was quite wary to read this one at first, cause I've read a lot of JLA's series and I felt like "another JLA book?" but I really shouldn't have doubted her! I read some early reviews and they were so positive that I ended up preorder the book and loving it once I read it!
    Unlike you, I didn't have any right hunches at all! I was completely shocked and surprise when the culprit was revealed!
    Great review, Emma!

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    1. Thank you, Pili! I'm so glad you loved this one just as much as me. I know what you mean, she has written a lot of books and it looks so many to read. But JLA is a brilliant writer. I had a nagging feeling for like 5 minutes and then it just went. Thank you for stopping by. :)

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  7. I really like her writing. I am going to have to check this one out if they have an American version on amazon.

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    1. Yes I do think this is available in america so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you Lily!

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  8. I loved her paranormal books and well hate her NA books so I'm really scared to read this one. It sounds like a great read and yeah JLA's writing is a category on its own. Great review, Emma :)

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    1. Me too! Loved them that what pulled me to her mystery/suspense novels. They are something different. I don't think I've ever encountered a writer like it! I hope you get to read it soon. :) Thank you, Tanja.

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  9. I've read so many great reviews for this book so far, so I'm a little gutted that I passed up on this one, as it sounds like a great mystery read! Fab review as always Emma!

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    1. Oh that's a shame, Jasprit. I really hope you get to read it in the future, it well worth a read! Thank you for stopping by! :)

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  10. I keep reading amazing reviews of this book, and even though I'd passed on a review copy because of time I think I absolutely must buy a copy now! I think I'm going to dislike Samantha but be very impressed with Samantha 2.0, and I can't wait to find out how the mystery turns out. Lovely review!

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    1. It really is. I truly loved it! One of her novels to date I think. Yes Samantha 2.0 was my favourite, she got a second chance and I think the character growth throughout the novel was brilliant. I hope you get to read this one soon, Lauren. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  11. Wow great review! New follower :) I was on the fence about whether or not I should read this. You've won me over ;)

    Miss Perfection @A Perfection Called Books

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad my review swayed you to read it. I hope you enjoy this one when you read it and Thank you for stopping by! :)

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  13. I finished this a few days ago and Jennifer L. Armenturout officially became one of my favorite authors. She can write amazing contemporary romances (Wait for You), paranormal books (Obsidian) and now I see how good she's in mystery too.
    I didn't like how Samantha acted but in some ways I can get how all the pressure of being perfect weighed on her and made her something like that. I feel so bad because throughout the novel I suspected Scott, he acted strange.
    Really good review by the way. :)

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  14. I agree! I was a little worried since this is a genre that JLA hasn't written about but wow.. she owned it. I also read a ton of mystery YA novels.. it is one of my favorite genres but this one totally blew me away.. and you're right.. the secondary characters <3 everything was done so well with this book. I can't wait for more contemporaries or mysteries by JLA.

    p.s: I LOVE your blog! just stumbled upon it! new follower

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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