Monday, April 16, 2018

Reviews: The Eleanor Ames Series

I became a Julie Cross fan via her Juniper Falls series (book 1, book 2), and I finally got around to reading her Eleanor Ames series. I sort of thought I would enjoy them, since I like Cross' writing, but I didn't expect to like them as much as I did.


Chasing Truth
Julie Cross
Series: Eleanor Ames, #1
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Suspense
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
At Holden Prep, the rich and powerful rule the school—and they’ll do just about anything to keep their dirty little secrets hidden.

When former con artist Eleanor Ames’s homecoming date commits suicide, she’s positive there’s something more going on. The more questions she asks, though, the more she crosses paths with Miles Beckett. He’s sexy, mysterious, arrogant…and he’s asking all the same questions.

Eleanor might not trust him—she doesn’t even like him—but they can’t keep their hands off of each other. Fighting the infuriating attraction is almost as hard as ignoring the fact that Miles isn’t telling her the truth…and that there’s a good chance he thinks she’s the killer.
Eleanor had recently abandoned her past as a con artist to reunite with her sister. Just when she seemed to be settling into her new life, her only friend allegedly committed suicide. I say allegedly, because Ellie doesn't believe Simon would kill himself, and she was determined to get to the bottom of his death.

At first glance, I thought I was getting a simple prep school murder mystery, but there was a lot more going on in this book, and I loved every delicious moment of it.

From the very beginning of this book, I got a Veronica Mars vibe, and incase you're wondering, that's a very good thing. Eleanor had this fabulous voice. I loved her snark and wit, and couldn't get enough of the banter between her and the other characters. But I also really liked getting inside Ellie's head. She was quite a complicated character. She struggled with many things, and one thing she had trouble with was leaving her past in the past. As she was searching for answers to Simon's death, she would often leverage some of those skills she acquired as a con artist, and that would lead to these flashbacks, which gave us some insight into Ellie's past life. It was quite a fascinating world she left, and I really enjoyed those peeks into her past.

I also enjoyed the side characters. Harper, Ellie's sister, and Aiden, her sister's boyfriend, were both quite wonderful. They undoubtedly loved Ellie, and I enjoyed all the time they shared together on page. But the character, who won my heart was Miles. You know the author did the romance well, when you fall for the hero, and I fell pretty hard for Miles. He was quite mysterious, and I really liked how Ellie chipped away at him, layer by layer, piece by piece.

Speaking of Miles, I was all about the romance in this book. There was a lot of push and pull, hate to love sort of stuff going on, but once it got going, it was all sorts of swoony. Cross did a great job blending the romance into this story without it distracting me from the mystery, and as far as I'm concerned, every story could use a little romance.

As for the story, I loved the way each reveal gave way to something bigger, and enjoyed sitting back as Miles and Ellie worked to untangle all the lies as they searched for the truth. And who doesn't enjoy spending time with the young and rich prep school crowd? Prep school on of my favorite settings, and I really appreciated all the peeks into this world that Cross gave us. We went to parties, a dance, and even to class, which was a lot of fun. And the ending! I was pleased.

Overall: A fabulous mystery filled with action, suspense, intrigue, and swoons.



Hiding Lies
Julie Cross
Series: Eleanor Ames, #2
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Suspense
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
Fans of Veronica Mars or Ally Carter will love the snarky, whip-smart former con artist Eleanor, in this sequel to Chasing Truth.

At Holden Prep, dirty little secrets always have a way of coming to the surface.

Eleanor Ames has never been what she seems. Average high school student on the outside, but reformed con artist trying to break free of her past on the inside. When Eleanor receives startling news about someone from her previous criminal life, plans for a new operation coinciding with her school’s upcoming field trip quickly consume her.

But operations rarely go according to plan. And this is one her irresistible teen FBI agent boyfriend, Miles, would never approve of.

Now, more than just Ellie’s reputation is at stake. If she fails, it could be her life.
I was really excited to catch up with Ellie and Miles, and I was not disappointed. This installment takes us to the Big Apple as Holden Prep takes over New York. Ellie, however, wasn't there for the enrichment the program had to offer, but rather, as a way to slip back into her old con artist ways. Once again, digging in one direction revealed many other secrets, and Ellie risked losing everything she has been working for.

Honestly, I enjoyed this one just as much as the first book, which means I really liked it. Some of the things I enjoyed:
  • You all know I love being in NYC. It's always a treat to read a story set in my hometown, and I enjoyed traipsing around the boroughs with Ellie and the gang from Holden Prep. 
  • Though I missed spending time with Aiden and Harper, I enjoyed all the quality time spent with Justice and Dominic. Dominic and Ellie grow a lot closer on this trip, and I learned that there's so much more to Dominic than meets the eye. 
  • Ellie's "family" played a big role in this book. We learned a lot more about Ellie's life before, as well as what happened to her parents after the FBI raid. It was really interesting getting that first hand look at her life before, as well as revisiting her memories of her previous life.
  • I was pretty shocked to discover what Miles was doing on his Christmas vacation, and it added an extra level of intrigue to the story for me. 
  • Miles little excursion was only one of many twists Cross threw at me, and I enjoy following those twists and turns throughout the book. 
  • The romance ramped up in this one, and you know I was happy about that. I ship these two hard and just want to see them in a solid relationship with each other. 
  • I am a fan of this kind of series. Where there is a shorter story arc completed in the book, while also adding to plot of the entire series. 
  • That ending made my heart sing. It was all sorts of wonderful. 
Overall: Another great Eleanor Ames story, which left me all sorts of satisfied. If this is the last book, Cross gave us a great ending, but I must say, I would love to read more of Eleanor and Miles' adventures.

** ARC received in exchange for an honest review.









Do you like prep school books?
Let us know in the comments!

28 comments:

  1. Ooh this series sounds right up my alley! I love books that have mystery-solving couples in it. I can just imagine how good all the chemistry is between them. I love Julie Cross' writing so no doubt I'll have fun with these!
    Great reviews!

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    1. I was surprised by how much I liked it. I don't read a lot of suspense romance, but this was such an interesting blend of things, that I found myself totally absorbed int it all.

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  2. I do enjoy this author and I like mysteries to solve, con artist novels, and I love how you describe the characters and romance! I'll have to make sure this series is on my tbr!

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    1. I thought Cross did a great job combining all these elements. I was hooked immediately.

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  3. I’m so glad these were such hits for you! It’s so awesome when a second books is every bit as strong as the first, and it sounds like that was the case here. Ellie and Miles sound like great main characters. As much as I like Julie Cross - both her new adult and YA books - this particular series just didn’t appeal. I’ll just enjoy it vicariously through you. 😉

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    1. I always worry about second books, especially if I really loved the first one. I put this on my TBR back in 2016, just because it was an Entangled book, and I usually enjoy their books. I totally forgot about it, read the Juniper Falls books, and then when I saw the sequel on NG, I thought, why not. No regrets.

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  4. Ah I have never read this author and these are totally new to me! They sound awesome though and I love a mystery. Must add now!! Great reviews!

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    1. I am a fan of the Juniper Falls books, because me and hockey romances are a solid thing. I was surprised how much I liked these books. I think it was because the combination was just so well done.

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  5. I enjoyed the Veronica Mars series so anything that is in line with that I love to read. I haven't heard of Chasing Truth, but I will need to check it out. Great reviews!

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    1. I actually had to agree with that reference. Ellie had that wit that rivaled VMars, and I really enjoyed her.

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  6. I really like the idea of a mystery duo that also has romantic interests at stake!

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    1. I like the romance and the complications and high stakes attached to it, but there was a lot of "story" outside of the romance, which took it up a notch.

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  7. I love these covers. Definitely sounds interesting

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    1. I think the cover art vibes well with the story.

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  8. I saw the second book when I added into Friday Forecast. I didn’t know much about the series, but after reading your reviews, I think I need to give it a go.

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    1. I am really happy I took a chance, and I even purchased the first book myself (though, a "wish" from I guess 2016 came through after I already read and reviewed the book. lol)

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  9. Isn't it great when books manage to surprise us? Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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    1. I am a fan of surprises when they surprise me in a good way.

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  10. I love when a book surprises you. This sounds real good. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It was a great duology, and I would be up for reading more Eleanor Ames books if Cross wrote them.

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  11. I haven't read Julie Cross but this series does sound great. I am so glad that you ended up as much as you did.

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    1. Her YA hockey romance series is great. That's what pushed me to read this series.

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  12. You had me at Veronica Mars vibe. This sounds like it has the potential to be a pretty great series!

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    1. Ellie really lived up to that description too

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  13. I used to really like books that had a boarding school setting, but it has been a while since I've read one! I do love Veronica Mars... this one sounds so fun! I love trying to solve a mystery while I read.

    I thought I was before, but following you via Bloglovin'!
    Also, where did you find the counter widget? I've seen them around, but the widgets on Bloglovin' don't look like that.

    Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. This is just a day school book, but because it is an elite prep school, you sort of get a similar feel with the characters. My co-blogger did the page, and I think she only used the widgets available via blogger.

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  14. I saw you say Veronica Mars vibe and I was sold. It's all I need to know but then your reviews made them sound so good! I totally want to buy them now. High school mysteries can be really hit or miss but if it has a Veronica Mars vibe then I imagine it was done well so I will have to buy ASAP.

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    1. These books were such a good combo of suspense and romance, and Ellie was a great VMars type, if you ask me. It's a high school mystery, but they are mixed up with the CIA and FBI, and then there is Ellie's past with her crime family. It's a lot, but for some reason, it really worked for me.

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