February 19, 2013

Dual Review of Shadowlands by Kate Brian

It’s been a couple of months since we’ve done dual review.
With the awesomeness that is Shadowlands by Kate Brian,
how could we not both review this one!!



Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived… and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as a goodbye.

Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children, but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. But just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?

add to goodreadsShadowlands (Shadowlands #1) by Kate Brian
Publication Date:  January 8, 2013
Publisher:  Hyperion

Available for Purchase:
Chapter-Indigo | amazon |  B&N | TBD | indiebound

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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

MaryAnn NewShadowlands by Kate Brian was such an amazing book!  I mean, I knew it was going to a really great read, but to actually experience it was ah-mazing!  From the very first page, when we’re introduced to the evil Mr. Nell to the very last page, I was hooked and there was no way that I was going to be able to put this book down.

The story opens up with the reader witnessing the crazy mind of a serial killer.  Seeing how his demented mind strategically hunted his prey.  Unfortunately, he has his eyes set on Rory Miller.  While taking a short cut through the woods, Mr. Nell takes hold of his opportunity to go after Rory and claim her as his next victim.  He is so good at what he does, that he has alluded the authorities for the past ten years.

In this life or death situation put before her, Rory fights for her life and with a stroke of luck, manages to thwart Mr. Nell and escape.  But safe is not a feeling that Rory feels at all.  Mr. Nell still has his sights set on her, and he will stop at nothing to finish what he has started.

Under the direction of the FBI, Rory and her family are uprooted to Juniper Landing in the witness protection program until this serial killer is apprehended.  Starting over in a vacation town is something Rory, her sister Darcy, and her father need to get used to.  With the local kids staring at Rory for some unknown reason, and everyone wanting to get to know Rory more, rather than her more popular sister, it seems as though they’ve stepped through some bizzaro world.

That is, until Rory starts to hear Mr. Nell’s favorite song being hummed, gets the feeling of being watched, and starts to find little things that seem to indicate that her stalker may have found her.

Completely and totally full of suspense, Shadowlands by Kate Brian had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.  And take into account that the majority of the reading that I did was done at night, I was kind of freaking myself out.  Little noises in the house, shadows from the windows…I was creeped out beyond belief!  Shadowlands was like a murder mystery movie unfolding in my mind.  Kate Brian’s writing style is so addictive and she certainly has a gift in writing a suspenseful, thrilling read.

I mean, the whole truck on the highway scene.  Reading that part of the book had my heart halfway up my throat and beating like I was Rory herself!  I could clearly picture the events unfold and I was terrified.  Mr. Nell was a perfectly written villain.  To have been able to see what was going on in his twisted mind made the events unfolding even more real.

My one complaint would have to be the sister, Darcy.  I mean, her sister was almost abducted and killed and she’s still harping on about boys and clothes and partying.  Whenever she opened her mouth I was shaking my head and seething at her attitude.  And I guess it was because of this annoyance that I had with this character that had me feel more towards Rory.  Not only did I feel sorry for this kid who was attacked by someone she was supposed to trust, but she was getting no love from her family.

If you’re in the mood for an edge of your seat read where you’ll most likely read it in one sitting, I absolutely recommend Shadowlands by Kate Brian.  Your eyes will be glued to the pages and the ending will have you WTFing all over the place!  I need book 2 like, yesterday!  I really hope this book becomes a movie!  The images that were flipping through my mind would be so epic on the big screen.  What a thrill ride and what a twist!


Gabby NewThe one thing that I’m really shocked with is how much I liked Shadowlands by author Kate Brian. Scratch that, I didn’t like it—I loved it.  I’ll admit that at a first glance I thought that Shadowlands would just be like every other story, you read it, you like it and then you finish it and prepare for the next plot the universe sends to you. Oh my god, Shadowlands is one of those novels that can stand apart from the rest. It was addictive right from the first page and by the time it finished I felt empty inside and didn’t know what to do with my emotions.  Shadowlands took me for a thrilling ride and totally blew my freaking mind completely messed with my head.

Shadowlands is the story of main character Rory Miller who is put into the witness protection program to be kept safe from her serial killer match teacher Steven Nell. Steven Nell that has murdered fourteen girls and is obsessed with finally getting to kill Rory, however what makes Rory his most unique victim is that she escaped from him. The last girl to survive an attack from Steven Nell had her entire family murdered before she was killed and now that Rory is being kept away from him, it’s obvious that he will try to get to her by any means necessary. When the FBI sends Rory to Juniper Landing her terrifying reality continues when Steven Nell begins to stalk her on the supposedly safe island. Something about the perfect island is wrong and Rory can’t seem to put her finger on what it is that makes the town and its citizens seem so suspicious. As things seem to finally get normal, one of Rory and her sister Darcy’s new friends, Olive, goes missing and every fibre of Rory’s being believes that Steven Nell has something to do with it…

The number one thing that had me hooked on Shadowlands was the very first chapter. If the novel had started any other way I probably wouldn’t be as in love with it as I am now. It begins with the killer himself, Steven Nell, following Rory in the woods when he decides to attack her in a predator vs. prey manor. Rory manages to hit him with a branch and gets away from him, she later finds out his real identity and if I were to go on any further I’d pretty much ruin the awesome beginning. My point is that it starts out in a way that immediately grabs the readers’ attention. Not only was I dying to see if Rory would survive, but I was also going crazy with how suspenseful the first four chapters of the story were. Each one just screamed: Go, go, go! And set a pretty fast pace for the novel.

I found myself thinking a lot of I Hunt Killers by author Barry Lyga when it came to the chapters in the POV (point of view) of Steven Nell. They were so creepy and I adored how each one of his chapters gave me goose bumps and had my eyes widened at some of his insane thoughts. Being in the mind of the killer not only changes the mood of the novel drastically but it also did some foreshadowing as to what Nell planned to do to Rory. Every single time I assumed something about Nell, it would be one of his chapters that would confirm my thoughts and the way he constantly whistles or plays The Long & Winding Road by the Beatles, just added to how creepy he is.

The author’s writing style not only gave me vivid ideas of the setting and characters, but also really managed to get to my mind. What I mean by that is how the story is being told from Rory’s POV which means that the reader is reading Rory’s thoughts and as the novel progresses she does get more and more paranoid about Steven Nell. I’ll admit that when Rory got freaked out in the novel, I got freaked out and when Rory’s fight or flight instincts kicked in mine did too. The more suspenseful scenes that we experience with Rory really start to feel real and add to the experience.

To be honest about the novel, I have no complaints about it. It was a novel that I couldn’t stop reading and I mean that literally since I spent a few hours just reading away at it until suddenly it was done. What has left me dying about the novel is the ending. The very last bit of dialogue literally had me staring wide eyed at the words before my eyes as everything suddenly clicked together. Young adults who are still in a school setting will probably be creeped out more by the novel just because it leaves you wondering if you really know your teacher and if maybe that one teacher who favors you plans to set up cameras in your room and MURDER YOU IN THE WOODS  has a dark motive behind their actions. Do I want the next book? Hell yeah. Would I pull a Nell on somebody to see what happens next? Probably.

I would recommend Shadowlands to fans of suspense novels, readers who want a story that grabs your mind and takes it for a ride will also love the story. I personally think that readers who enjoyed author Brenna Yovanoff’s Paper Valentine will die hard (was that a pun?) for the plot.

About the Author:

Kate Brian is the prolific author of many books for teens including the Private series, the new Privilege series, and Sweet 16. She lives with her husband in New Jersey. She writes under the pseudonym Kate Brian, instead of using her real name: Kieran Scott.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


  1. Now I’m incredibly excited to read this because I just borrowed it from the library! I didn’t know that this was a sort of mystery, suspense and thriller type of story so I’m really pleased because I’ve been looking for a book like this. Great review from both of you, really can’t wait to dive into this book :D

  2. Chapter by Chapter

    You need to drop whatever your reading and get on this one asap! You’re gonna totally love this one. You’re totally gonna be watching your back after you read this book!

  3. Brooke

    I loved this book. so different. I got to meet Kate at a signing a few weeks ago. She was awesome!

  4. Chapter by Chapter

    OMG jealous! You’re so lucky!

  5. I absolutely loved this book too. Wonderful reviews. I will most certainly look for more for Brian’s work.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  6. Chapter by Chapter

    We are looking forward to more from her too!

  7. Michelle Chew

    The reviews here are telling me “Go, go, go!”. This book sounds really good!

  8. Chapter by Chapter

    You def. need to go go go and read this one!!

  9. kimbacaffeinate

    I really loved this book and the sense of being of kilter, one of my favorites this year and I love your duel review! you need to do this more often :)

  10. lyy

    i didnt understand the ending!!””)-: so were all the teenagers escaping from murderers as well?!?! pls explain this story to me)-:

  11. Chapter by Chapter

    Me and Gabby both have our theory about what’s going on at the end, but we can’t really disclose it here due to spoilery stuff! You can contact us via the contact form and we can tell you what we think if you want :)

  12. brandi

    I just really want to know why all the locals stare at Rory and they knew about Mr. Nell. I also want to know how her family died!-_-(spoiler alert) I was completely thrown off and upset at the ending right now lol and also at the end the author described a sharp and excruciating pain that pierced Rory and Mr. Nell when they were together at the lighthouse which made him release her from his grip? I didn’t understand what happened because the author didn’t explain it. you can delete this comment if you want when you’re done reading it

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