Monday, 25 January 2016

Sanctuary Bay Blog Tour: Excerpt and Review

Welcome to my stop on the Sanctuary Bay Blog tour, hosted by St. Martin’s Griffin! Sanctuary Bay was co-written by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, and it is one heck of an awesome and crazy journey to read! I have lots of information to share about Sanctuary Bay, including an excerpt from the book, and further on down the post is my review. I hope you enjoy!

Sanctuary Bay book cover

Title: Sanctuary Bay
Authors: Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genres: Thriller; Mystery; Sci-Fi; Young Adult
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Pages: 320

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Buy on Amazon // B&N // iBooks // IndieBound
Authors Website // Facebook // Twitter

About the Book

When Sarah Merson receives the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the most elite prep school in the country — Sanctuary Bay Academy — it seems almost too good to be true. But, after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home and struggling with the memory of her parent’s murder, escaping to the school’s tranquil setting, nestled deep in Swans Island, couldn't sound more appealing. Swiftly thrown into a world of privilege and secrets, Sarah quickly realizes finding herself noticed by class charmer, Nate, as well as her roommate's dangerously attentive boyfriend, Ethan, are the least of her worries. When her roommate suddenly goes missing, she finds herself in a race against time, not only to find her, but to save herself and discover the dark truth behind Sanctuary Bay's glossy reputation.

About the Authors

Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz have written many books for teens and middle-grade readers, including the Edgar-nominated mystery series Wright and Wong and the YA novels Crave and Sacrifice. They have also written for the TV shows Roswell, 1-800-Missing, and The Dead Zone. Laura lives in New York and Melinda lives in North Carolina, but really they mostly live on email, where they do most of their work together.

Excerpt from Sanctuary Bay

Daddy pressed his finger to his lips, shushing Sarah quiet as he slid the door to the tunnel back on. She wrapped her arms tightly around her knees and pressed her cheek against her arm, trying to pretend she was back in her own room. But it didn’t smell like her room. Even the spicy smell of Daddy’s cologne had faded now that the tunnel was closed. And grayness was all around her. She was almost four, and that was too old to be scared of the dark. But it wasn’t all dark. It was just gray dark.

She tried not to think of monsters crawling toward her. Daddy said there were no monsters. But monsters liked tunnels. They liked little girls.

Sometimes when she was scared she liked to sing the Maggie song. But that was against the rules. She had to be quiet. She had to be still. She had to wait until Daddy or Mommy opened the door and got her.

Thinking about the rules helped. She could almost hear Daddy saying them, as if he was hiding in the tunnel with her. Even though he was way too big. If something bad happens, wait until the room is safe. If you leave the tunnel, put the funny slit- ted door back on. Run fast. Find a lady with kids. Tell her your name is Sarah Merson. Merson. Merson. Merson. Merson. Ask for help.

Her nose started twitching, itching from the thick air. Making her want to sneeze. But she had to be quiet.

Then she heard Mommy screaming. Mommy never screamed. Were the monsters out there and not in the tunnel

On hands and knees she started creeping toward the slits of light, heart pounding.

“Kt85L is our property,” a man said. “You had no right!”

Out there. Mommy on her knees facing the hotel room wall. Someone’s legs. A hand reaching down. A silver bird stared at Sarah from a ring on the finger. Stared with a horrible little black eye. The finger pulled the trigger of a gun. A bang. Her ears filling with bees. Mommy collapsing on the floor. Red spilling out.

Sarah shoved her fingers into her mouth. Quiet. The rule was be quiet.

Shouting. Daddy’s legs running by, out of the room. The bird man chasing. The door banging closed.

Something bad happening.

The room was safe. The bird man was gone. So she had to get out. Mommy was on the floor. Daddy was gone.

She shoved the door and it fell out onto the floor. Near Mommy. Near the red. But the rule was to put the funny door back on. She picked it up and shoved it over the tunnel like Daddy had shown her.

Sarah didn’t want to look at Mommy. She looked out the window instead. The window was always open and there was never a screen. Daddy’s voice came from the hallway, yelling. Screaming.

Another bang.

Sarah pressing her hands over her eyes. Not looking. Not look- ing. Something bad happening.

Daddy was quiet now. Something bad. She had to run fast.

Sarah climbed on the chair under the window. The chair al- ways went under the window. She stuck her legs through the window and jumped down. Now run fast.

She ran fast, looking for a lady with a stroller or a kid her age. A mommy would help her. She would say she was Sarah Merson.

Sarah Merson, and something bad happened.

My Review

What a rollercoaster! Sanctuary Bay was everything I hoped it would be, yet completely different to what I originally expected. When genre-bending was mentioned in the synopsis, I was curious as to how this would be pulled off. I’ve got to say, I completely loved it! It’s a perfect blend of mystery, thriller and science-fiction with a dusting of romance and suspense thrown in to mix things up. It might sound like an awful lot going on, but it was blended seamlessly and each element worked so well together.

I will be honest, though: I was a little worried initially that I wouldn’t like the book. The first 20-ish% has a fairly strong contemporary vibe, and everything seemed to be dragging on a bit too long. Looking back now, everything we learned in these early chapters and all of the build-up that was created is vital to the overall story, but while I was reading, I just wanted things to hurry up and for the action that was promised on the first couple of pages to really kick off! And boy did things kick off! Once two glorious words were casually mentioned in a conversation – secret society – the pacing of the book took off, and it didn’t let up until the very last sentence on the last page. I really wish I could tell you about each and every little detail that occurs from that point on as it was completely mind-blowing, horrific and insane, but I really can’t say anymore without entering spoiler territory.

There’s a large cast of diverse characters, (which is awesome!) and the story is told from Sarah’s perspective throughout. It did take me a while to warm up to some of them, but to Sarah in particular. She witnessed her parents murder when she was four years old, and was frequently moved around the foster system until she was presented with the opportunity to attend Sanctuary Bay Academy. Going back to my slight issues with the first 20-ish% of the book for a second, most of them stemmed from the huge chip Sarah had on her shoulder. I can completely understand why she feels let down by the system and for the sucky things she’s been put through… but it was the way she immediately cast judgement on other characters that didn’t sit well with me. Thankfully, as the book progressed she does have her eyes opened and changes quite a bit. By the end of the book, I loved her character, and I was really rooting for her to come through unscathed. I also loved Ethan and Dr. Diaz, and how the three ended up banding together to figure out what was really going on.

That ending, though! It was amazing! I did pick up on a few clues here and there and had figured out what might happen at the end, but I absolutely love the way it unfolded. We did get the classic bad-guy-speech, and I guess that’s the only slight taint on an otherwise epic conclusion. I really liked that we got the answers we were looking for, and it sets up perfectly for a potential sequel. Overall, I loved Sanctuary Bay and if there’s a sequel, I can’t wait to see what craziness will happen next!

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Reading!


  1. I have a copy of this one for review and I can't wait to get started.

    Majanka @ I Heart Reading.



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