The cover of Mystery Falls fits the story perfectly. The woods is an important part of Samantha’s life. She spends a lot of time escaping and reflecting while lost among the trees, and it is were she meets Shadow. As mysterious as his name, Shadow saves Samantha’s life and enrolls in her school so he can repeatedly show up just when he is needed. While his actions would make him seem like a d0-gooder, Shadow’s arrogance and ability to mess with Samantha’s emotions show that he is more of a bad boy. Dating Samantha’s arch enemy–her cousin Claire–while implying that he care about Samantha doesn’t give me much good-guy creds either. But as Samantha tries to figure out Shadow’s massive mood swings, she discovers a single feather (like the one on the cover) and knows that there is more to this elusive character than meets the eye.
It takes a while to get to the point where Samantha is ready to really talk to Shadow, however, which can get a little frustrating. She goes back and forth about whether she can resist him and her best friend, Mia, is constantly harping at her to date him. While some of Samantha’s objections to Shadow are obviously valid (dating your cousin’s new boy friend is rarely a good idea), it would have been nice if we would have gotten through them faster or had a couple less.
Oddly enough, I got a Forks-y vibe from this story even though vampires are in no way, shape, or form mentioned. There isn’t even a lot of rain. I think it is because of the woods, which, based on its descriptions, seems to be rather dense, and the protective/we’re-so-attracted-to-each-other-but-I’m-no-good-for-you attitude Shadow has with Samantha. He’s no Edward however. Actually, he’s probably Edward Cullen’s complete opposite.
Mystery Falls is Marilyn Phillips’ first published work and is a solid debut. Even though I would have liked the pacing slightly quicker, it still worked within this story and the element of mystery carried over from Shadow to what really happened to Samantha’s family. The urgency between Samantha and Shadow builds excitement for the moment when they finally come to terms with their feelings for one another. Once Shadow’s secrets are revealed (some of them were a little easy to guess), Phillips keeps you wanting to know more even as you receive answers to your questions.
Genre: YA romance, paranormal, mystery
About Mystery Falls
Secrets. Lies. Deception. For the past six years, Samantha Hunt has lived with the belief that the untimely death of her parents was the result of an unfortunate accident—that by the cruel hand of fate, she had been left an orphan. But it was a lie, a terrible lie told to her by those who wanted to keep her in the dark. And the truth… when revealed, will change her life and haunt her forever.
Suddenly plagued by a series of events which find her in danger and in need of a savior, Samantha is repeatedly rescued by the mysterious and elusive Shadow—a stranger who seems to know more about her past and the tragedy which befell her family, than she does. Drawn to him despite the antagonism she feels whenever in his presence, Samantha soon discovers that Shadow is not what he appears to be. Determined to learn his true identity and why he has come to Mystery Falls, the small town in which she has spent all of her seventeen years, Samantha not only uncovers the secrets he refuses to share, but also the truth about her own past. A truth which forces her to acknowledge that things are not always as they seem, and sometimes, not even those close to you can be trusted.
Resolved to seek justice for the unwarranted death of her parents, Samantha embarks on a journey which brings her perilously close to her own demise. Can Shadow use his angel powers to save her yet again, or this time, will he be too late?
About the Author
Marilyn lives on the outskirts of Melbourne (Australia) with her wonderfully supportive husband and two beautiful children. When not writing, she likes spending time with her family, taking long walks in dark forests and reading (anything involving paranormal romance/urban fantasy). Her favorite authors include Becca Fitzpatrick, Stephenie Meyer, Claudia Gray and Amanda Hocking. Mystery Falls is her debut novel and the first in a series.