Shadowlands | Kate Brian | Book Review

Look, I tried, I genuinely tried to like Shadowlands by Kate Brian, but apparently I am the worst at suspending disbelief because I ended up actually laughing out loud at serious and suspenseful sections. Don’t get me twisted, Shadowlands is mostly entertaining and it’s got a snappy pace, however, I just wasn’t entirely invested and for most of the time my brain was shouting that THIS IS RIDICULOUS.

Shadowlands by Kate Brian | Good Books And Good Wine

So main character Rory Miller has been stalked by her math teacher, and she’s cutting home through the woods when he comes after her. She’s like oh it’s cool, it’s my teacher. BUT THEN he tries to kill her and she fights back and gets away. This leads to Rory and her family having to enter witness protection. They get sent to this island that’s totally cute. However, Rory is understandably still scared and nervous, but she ends up meeting a boy, but he’s weird and stares all the time. OH and people keep ending up missing on the island.

Rory Miller is kind of a nerd. She wears sweatshirts with physics equations, has blonde hair, enjoys running and does not go to parties. She always feels a bit second best compared to her sister Darcy who is outgoing and popular. Yet, on the island, Rory ends up fitting in much better than Darcy. Regardless, I wasn’t entirely attached to Rory. She’s nice and all, but kind of a wet blanket. I never really rooted all that strongly for her. Sure, she’s brave and it is so awesome that she fights back against her attacker, but she never really impressed me.

The romance is pretty boring. Like, the guy she is into basically is mysterious and creepy and just stares at her. It’s weird. Sorry, I just don’t see the sexual tension in that. On the upside there is no love triangle. However, I really think Shadowlands could have used a healthy injection of swoons and kissing, just to make me as a reader a little bit more invested in the story.

I will admit, the writing was not terrible. In fact, I think this would be a strong book to give reluctant readers. Shadowlands is a very fast paced read and it’s not like there are many boring moments. Plus, it is fairly suspensful — what with a seriel killer on the loose and all.

I do have to put it out there that I hated the ending, it ruined the story for me, yet it fits in with how ridiculous some of the book is. For example, in the beginning when the Miller house is under FBI surveillance, the killer manages to get in and leave a note. And then the law enforcement officer was all oh by the way I neglected to mention this but the last time someone escaped the killer, he murdered the victim’s whole family two weeks later. YO  THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU SIT ON FOR OVER A WEEK. You straight up tell what happened so the latest victim knows how to safety plan and prepare. Then, there was this part where I just started laughing because it’s one bad thing after another, in the beginning. I won’t spoil it though.

Okay, so back to my thoughts on the end after that side ramble. The ending totally changes Shadowlands. Like there is this big red herring reveal and you guys I hate those. Like, okay sometimes I like when my mind is messed with by a book. But this was one of those ones that made me so mad, I was like UGH WHAT A CHEAP GIMMICK, because I tend to feel that way about endings. I won’t tell you the twist in the interest of not spoiling, but if you’ve read it, let me know in the comments if you liked the twist or not — but don’t be explict, I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone.

Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley

Other reviews of Shadowlands by Kate Brian:

The Book Rat – “I spent the first half of this book being really frustrated with damn near everything

Mundie Moms – “pick up Shadowlands when you’re in the mood for a tense mystery

Fiction Folio – “oozes a creepy vibe from the very first page.”

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I agree with your “side ramble” as well as the CHEAP GIMMICK, and voiced much the same thoughts in my review. Just seemed like the easy way out….

    I do agree about the fast pace for reluctant readers, but I’m afraid the book might be too “thick” for them to consider. I’ve seen that happen way too many time’s.

    • Yes. Like, it didn’t make any sense to me — the ending. I just thought it was such a throwaway and the logic also didn’t seem to work.

      I think I understand what you are saying with it being ‘too thick’ – like too long or convoluted? That does suck, because I think the writing and syntax are easy to understand and make this a quick read.

  2. Oh man, I have totally been in your shoes. There are so many times that something super serious has happened, but I just ended up laughing my freaking head off. That totes happened in Amelia Anne during one really dramatic scene. Also, pretty much all the way through Red Rain. One bit made me laugh out loud longer than any humor book ever has, but it totes was not supposed to.

    • Story of my life. Like, I know we’re supposed to be very serious during dramatic scenes and such, but honestly — some of it comes off as overdramatic and I just can’t take it seriously.

      I kind of want to read Red Rain now, for the LOLz.

  3. yeah, my thoughts on basically every aspect of this story is “well, that could have been done better.”

    AND MAJOR DITTO ON THE CREEPER. Like, if you want me to fall for the bad boy creepy dude – I’m down with that. But seriously, he needs to have a personality…or at least talk once in awhile. Fail.

    Every single aspect of the “police” investigations was crazy ridiculous, from the very beginning on through. Totally inept.

    • I love that ‘that could have been done better’ because it’s so true. There’s so much potential, but it just seemed so underdeveloped.

      To be honest, I never fall for the creepy dude ever, and yeah this was one love interest I didn’t get.

      Sigh. Yeah, as someone who has interaction with law enforcement I couldn’t take my rational cap off while reading Shadowlands. I was all, NO that is not how they do it. NO NO NO.

  4. Ewwww. The guy just stares at her? Do. Not. Want.

    Cheap gimmicky ending. nooooo. I have this on my Kindle from NG ages ago, but I’m probably never going to get to it tbh. I’ve seen reviews from 2-4 stars, but I’m not a huge mystery fan anyway, so it’d probably be the lower end of the spectrum for me.

  5. I’m cracking up at this review, April! So, I had this book on my list of ones to check out once they were released, and I then came across it in the library last week. I was all excited at first but then I read a few pages while standing there and legit just put it back and walked away. I had a feeling it might give me feelings like this. Glad to have confirmation that my thoughts on the first few pages were right on.

  6. I got this one in the mail unexpectedly and this review makes me SO GLAD that I didn’t drop everything and read it. I really sounds like something I wouldn’t like as well. Guys that stare aren’t attractive. 🙂

  7. I’ve read so many similar reviews, especially complaints about the ending. I think this one has a great premise, it sounds like it could be kind of thrilling, but knowing the ending sort of sucks… not making me want to read it. Also, what is it with love interests who stare? This is totally creepy.

    P.S. I would totally wear a physics sweatshirt. Well, maybe not physics; I nearly failed that in HS!

  8. Haha, thanks for weeding this one out for me! Way to take one for the team, April! It’s a bummer when a book doesn’t work out but I love an honest review.

  9. So she wears nerdy sweat shirts and has blonde hair… who’s the prissy girl on the cover then? lol I love her cupcake dress though. Mmmm, cupcakes.

    lol at being followed by her match teacher. I would have been totally into that back when I was a freshman. My math teacher was hot. he probably would have tried kill me had he seen some of the stuff I would say about him in my “pull me” notes. I have no desire to read this, I had seen the description a while back, but meh. but now I’m kinda curious about this twist.

    Oh and I agree, you example of the FBI stuff. I prob would have laughed too. Very dumb