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What Lies Within

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“You’re going to die”

Shelley Marano is an ordinary, unexceptional high school senior…until the day she receives a cryptic text message, and her world tilts sideways. Now she’s in real danger, although she doesn’t know who would want her dead, or why. As she starts to unravel the mystery, the truth about who she really is proves to be more frightening than she ever imagined. With the lives of her and her friends hanging in the balance, one thing is certain:

Nothing will ever be the same.

Packed with suspense, What Lies Within is a page-turning, plot-driven rollercoaster ride that fans of Stephen King, James Patterson and Rick Yancey will be sure to enjoy.

218 pages, Paperback

First published June 2, 2015

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About the author

James Morris

7 books141 followers
James Morris is a former television writer who now works in digital media. When not writing, you can find him scoping out the latest sushi spot, watching 'House Hunters Renovation', or trying new recipes in the kitchen. He lives with his wife and dog in Los Angeles.

Readers, if you enjoyed one of my books, please feel free to leave a review!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 157 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf).
445 reviews286 followers
October 8, 2015
Here I go again, another Young Adult book. I don’t know exactly why they appeal to me so much. Perhaps because I want to stay young at heart!

Shelley Marano is your typical 17 year old high school student. The most important decision she is facing in life is where to go to college and how to tell her father that she doesn’t want to work in his auto shop for the rest of her life. However when Shelley suddenly gets a text message warning her that she is in danger, her life unexpectedly gets totally turned upside down. Suddenly she doesn’t even know who she is anymore, and has to fight to stay alive!

I think the thing that appeals to me about YA books is the prospect for huge, life changing character development. I enjoy watching the young naïve characters grow. Shelley made some absolutely stupid decisions towards the beginning of the novel that made me cringe, but I soon began to like her and I became invested in finding out what happened to her. I liked her best friend Winston. I enjoyed their relationship and the interactions between them. I also liked the secondary characters and felt they all enhanced the story. Her father was a pivotal character even though he only appeared a few times. Remy was important in his own way, as were Michael and the scary man on the motorbike.

Like the majority of Young Adult novels, it has a love triangle… My ultimate pet hate… But this one isn’t too annoying, especially when one of them is far from worthy. Typically Young Adult, it had a lot of teenage angst. But all the characters were portrayed well. Often in Young Adult books I struggle to empathise with the young female character for some reason. I thought I might have this problem at the start, but things quickly turned around and I enjoyed Shelley’s adventure.

The nurse in me found a few small medical inaccuracies, but they were only minor and didn’t impact my enjoyment of the story.

It was an extremely quick read. The second half of the novel moved so quickly I finished it in one sitting. The first half was only slightly slower. Overall it kept me turning the pages! The ending was exciting. It left quite a few questions, however certainly paved the way for another one.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, I really enjoyed it! What Lies Within is a fast read, full of action, suspense and mystery, I won’t hesitate to read the next one!

With thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

For more reviews visit my blog

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Profile Image for Veronica ⭐️.
970 reviews197 followers
November 6, 2015
4.5 stars
What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Shelley Marano lives the normal life of a 17 year old. She attends the local High School, has a crush on a boy at school and works for her father after school. To her it is boring, that is until she gets an anonymous text telling her that her life is in grave danger. With that one piece of news Shelley feels that she has lost her identity. Who would want her dead? She desperately needs to find out who Shelley Marano is. This is when her life starts to spiral out of control. Is someone following her or is she going crazy?

A chilling coming of age! What makes us who we are and are we completely responsible for our actions in life?
What Lies Within is well targeted for a Young Adult audience with themes of teen-parent relationships, friendship and trust.

Shelley was a very likeable protagonist making the types of decisions one would expect from a 17 year old and it was hard to watch Shelley struggle, seemingly alone, but grow stronger and more mature as the story evolves.

What Lies Within is a thrilling ride with twists and turns and a gripping mystery that once revealed will have you shocked and yearning for a fitting conclusion.

With my thanks to James Morris for my copy to read and review.

Profile Image for Louise Wilson.
2,748 reviews1,616 followers
October 8, 2015
Shelley Marano, a average teenager, starts getting text messages from a stranger and her life is changed completely.

She has nearly finished high school and is looking forward to going to college. She also works part time in her fathers Auto Body Shop.

The text messages start and she gets stalked by someone who tells her he's her brother and pretty soon she finds out her life is in danger.

This is a good debut book by the author James Morris whom I have to thank for gifting me a copy in return for an honest review.

Profile Image for Tabetha.
66 reviews133 followers
September 27, 2015
Rating: 2.5 Fast paced action, but without deep character development...Shelley Marano is an ordinary teenager, but when she receives a random text message, her life is turned upside down. Everything Shelley thought she knew about her life is in question, and now she may be in danger...she needs to solve this mystery, and every second counts!

I received an ebook of "What Lies Within" by James Morris in exchange for an honest review. I was enjoying this thriller until I came across a very jarring scene between Shelley, and her crush Remy Chastain. I felt that this particular scene was very rushed, and very out of character for Shelley...shocking because it did not fit In fact with my perception of her. I realize that it was a symptom of a more rushed pace...and I began to immediately care for the characters less. I tried to ignore this scene, but when there is a second encounter between the two, although Shelley makes better choices, I still feel it was, yet again, unnecessarily graphic. I wish that these exchanges could have been replaced with additional scientific word building, more fitting with the story. It would have provided the reader with more information on nature vs. nurture, an essential element to the story.

There were some shades of "Mara Dyer", but what the "Mara Dyer" series did really well was to deeply develop the characters in the very beginning, and make the reader care about every action happening between Mara Dyer and Noah Shaw throughout. "What Lies Within" did become more thrilling, with some exciting horror-filled moments. I appreciated the development of Shelley's friendship with bright nerd boy Winston, as he obviously cares for Shelley very much. The story leaves off with clues that a sequel may be in the works, but I don't think I will want to read book two.

Profile Image for Janie.
1,061 reviews
July 4, 2015
What Lies Within?

Defining yourself and your identity in high school is hard enough in a normal situation. But Shelley Murano finds that she is not a typical high school student. Informed that she was adopted as a baby by a brother she never knew she had, life begins to spiral out of control. Shelley struggles to find out who her biological parents could be, while finding herself in increasingly dangerous circumstances. Aided by her best friend, Winston, she literally has to fight to find out the secrets of her genesis.

This is a fast-paced novel that pulls the reader immediately into the story. The rollercoaster ride begins and does not let up until the truth is revealed.

I received free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for PattyMacDotComma.
1,433 reviews813 followers
January 25, 2016

Another winner from James Morris whose book Melophobia I enjoyed a lot last year.

Shelley Marano asks herself the same question all seventeen-year-olds ask themselves: Who am I? Her dad is a warm, loving man who dotes on his only child, especially since they’re all on their lonesome now after her mum died in a car crash a few years ago.

She’s finishing up high school with her eccentric best mate, Winston, and waiting impatiently for what she hopes will be an acceptance letter from the college of her choice. She wants to travel, see the world, taste life.

Her dad is terribly proud of her, so proud that he renames his business “Marano and Daughter Auto Body”, much to her dismay. Hasn’t he seen her travel posters? How will she ever escape? Who is she that she’s so different from him? And why has she so often been plagued with terrors and nightmares?

One day at school, she gets a text: “You’re going to die.” She tries to ignore it, but finally she replies: “Who are you?” and gets an answer that she doesn’t believe. Then she gets another message: “You’re in danger.”

She figures it’s a joke and goes back to daydreaming about the cute boy sitting in front of her in class. Later at home that evening, while her dad’s still at work, she gets another, “I’m here.” And then “They’re coming for you.”

Now she’s freaking out. When dad comes home, she goes to bed leaving the lights on. She decides that action is the only way to counteract fear, so she needs to get going and not wait for something to happen. She will make it happen.

But first, she take the fear and put it “in its place. In her mind, she visualized a box, not mere cardboard, but metal, and put a bundle of dark energy into it. She imagined it as a feral cat seeking release, clawing and scratching, and though the box jiggled and shook, the fear trying to emerge, she wrapped the box in chains and a heavy-duty lock and threw it into the ocean, where even Houdini wouldn’t be able to escape.”

Now she’s ready to face whatever it is. Through it all, her doggedly loyal mate Winston appoints himself as her bodyguard—as unlikely a hero as you’re going to find—and after someone’s sudden death, which they’re convinced is murder, the two of them begin to investigate the bit of information they’ve uncovered about the murdered person.

They end up in some deadly and mysterious situations. The pace of the story is quick, and the characters are likeable enough that we really don’t want anything bad to happen to them.

The answer to who she is is intriguing and could possibly lead her to some further searching for even more answers. We’ll have to wait and see!

Meanwhile, this is a good, suspenseful story, and I thank the author and Booklover Catlady Publicity for giving me a copy for review. I think we may see more of Shelley Marano.
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
793 reviews12.4k followers
January 24, 2016
Fast paced YA thriller about a seventeen year old girl, Shelley Marano, trying to discover her identity (both literally and figuratively). I found the characters to be likeable, especially Winston, and the unpredictable events of the story kept me on my toes until the very last page!

Fun and entertaining read!

Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Tori (InToriLex).
460 reviews360 followers
November 6, 2015
Find this and other Reviews at InToriLex
Actual Rating 3.5 Stars

I enjoyed this book, however this short fast paced novel was not without it's flaws. The mystery and science fiction elements were interesting and explained well. However I wanted to know these characters more than the author developed them in the story. Shelley is faced with a literal identity crisis, where she questions who she will be and who she is. We get to know her as she's thrust into danger and faced with growing up faster then she can cope with. Shelley's best friend Winston brings some much needed rational thinking to Shelley's decisions and the dynamic works well.

"She was frightened and confused and no matter how she tried to present herself to the outside world, that's what shone through."

This book includes action, death and danger in healthy doses. But the disbelief and actions of the people who love Shelley brings the story back into the realistic fiction realm. This novel dealt with relationships and the non-fairy tale endings they often take in our lives. Shelley can't wish her way into a new reality, and has to slowly learn to move forward. But the way she moves forward involves violence, inner turmoil and memory lapses, which made this story engaging the whole way through.

If your a fan of thrillers, that can squeeze a little bit in about love and the hard parts of life, definitely give this book a try. At times I was grossed out by some gory descriptions, while other times cheering on violence but for the right reasons. There's also some humor and good visual cues, which keeps it lighthearted. If this book was a bit longer it would have probably been able to focus on the characters more, but the writing with more development could go far.

This ebook was provided to me from the Author in exchange for a honest review. 
Profile Image for Chantal.
7 reviews
September 21, 2015
This is what I call an amazing debut novel!
From the moment I started to read, the story had me in its grip. This really is a rollercoaster that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Shelley is living a normal teenage life. She works in her dad’s auto body shop, and really wants to go to college. But then a text message turns her life upside down. She is in great danger and her mission is now to find out who she is and why she is in danger. Her best friend Winston does everything he can to help her. But maybe he is risking his life by helping her.

Will she find out who is trying to kill her? And why? Is she able to get to know the truth without risking the lives of the people she loves.

You’re going to die

Shelley Marano is an ordinary, unexceptional high school senior…until the day she receives a cryptic text message, and her world tilts sideways. Now she’s in real danger, although she doesn’t know who would want her dead, or why. As she starts to unravel the mystery, the truth about who she really is proves to be more frightening than she ever imagined. With the lives of her and her friends hanging in the balance, one thing is certain:
Nothing will ever be the same

I loved the main characters. Shelley is an ordinary teenager. She made me angry at her some times!
Her sweet dad who just doesn’t know how to read her. He loves her so much!
Winston, her best friend is such a sweet boy. He likes Shelley very much and he would do anything to protect her.

The end was not what I expected and left me hoping for a sequel!

I highly recommend this novel to mysterie and thriller readers

I never heard of James Morris before. But I sure want to read more from his hand.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read this great novel. I totally loved it!

Read my other reviews at: http://readsbychara.blogse.nl/

Profile Image for BookHeroin .
289 reviews351 followers
October 24, 2015

honestly that was such a nice read. I was pleasantly surprised by how everything was set, especially giving the small size of the book. I thought how everything is going to resolve with such size. Everything is built very nicely in this novel to the point where i was picturing everything in my mind as it happened.

Reading this book was really easy and can be read in one setting. It was fast paced and direct although filled with secrets and mysteries.

Shelley Marano is as normal as you can get. She has such an easy, average life. She's a good student, Works for her dad, her mother died while she was young, and all she cares about is choosing a university for next year.

Suddenly, she gets a text message ... "you're going to die" freaky ye?
it seems like a threat but she rules it out as a prank.

With a killer on the loose she started taking things a bit seriously, and when the text messages continued she really has no choice but to investigate the truth behind them.

Were those texts a threat or a warning?
Can she trust the closest people to her?
Is everything a conspiracy in her life?
Or is everything just a lie?

Without knowing what to do or how to act, she's set for a survival chase.

I think that this book would make one hell of a movie! the build up with excellent. I reminded me alot of the TV show "orphan Black". There has to be a sequel though! i neeed to know more!

I highly recommend this to all mystery and thriller lovers. You'll definitely enjoy it.

Thank you for James Morris for sending me a copy of What Lies Within, i'm very excited to read more of his works.
Profile Image for Stefanie.
42 reviews
September 23, 2015
Rating 3.5 Stars

What Lies Within is a debut YA suspense novel by author James Morris. I absolutely loved the premise of this book (having a degree in Neuroscience probably has something to do with that): Nature versus Nurture. When it comes to who we are, are personalities, which side of the debate wins out? Do are genes determine the type of person we are? Or does it have more to do with the environment we are raised in; how we are treated; the experiences we have as a young person?
This is ultimately the question asked by What Lies Within. As our main character Shelley says over and over: Who am I??? Who is Shelley Marano???

The Plot
Shelly Marano is a 17 year old high school student. She appears on the outside to be a normal, everyday American girl. She isn't too popular and has one extremely close friend: Winston (a boy who is deeply in love with Shelley) I thought Winston was a great character. On more than one occasion he had me laughing out loud. Each day Shelley eagerly waits for the arrival of the mail to see if she has been accepted by her dream school UCLA. She can't wait to get out of her hometown and invent herself anew while away at college.
But everything changes when Shelley gets a text while sitting in class: "You're going to die"

From that point on the action begins and doesn't stop.

It is difficult to accurately describe the plot from there on out without giving away key points of the story. So suffice it to say that Shelley, with her buddy Winston's help, attempts to get to the bottom of the mystery of who she is. A mystery that unfolded the day she received that cryptic text message.

My THoughts
Overall I thought this was a very fun read. I devoured it in just a couple of days. I am far from an expert on YA novels, but this one seemed to have all the necessary ingredients: teenage angst, soul-searching/self-discovery, parental conflict, and, of course, a love triangle of sorts.

As I stated above I thought the premise was great. The book was full of almost non-stop action and I found myself reading late into the night (that's always a good sign).

Although a lot of Shelley's behavior stretches the limits of believability and the ending left me with some unanswered questions as far as the science was concerned, on a whole I found What Lies Within to be an enjoyable read.

I would recommend to readers of YA novels or anyone who is enjoys a suspenseful read. I am not an avid reader of YA novels but that didn't negatively impact my view of this book at all. I want to say again that this is a debut novel. I can only see this author's books getting better.

Much thanks to author Jim Morris for sending me a copy of this book to read and review!
Profile Image for Amber.
992 reviews
July 10, 2015
I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Shelley Morano works for her father's auto body shop. She won't be there forever as she is about to graduate high school and go on to college. Her plans get derailed when she gets threatening texts and is stalked by a man claiming to be her brother. Can she survive and be able to live a normal life? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good read. It was action packed and horrifying. If you enjoy horror thrillers, definitely check it out. It is available on Amazon and wherever ebooks are sold.
Profile Image for Noah Nichols.
Author 3 books112 followers
January 21, 2018
Who is Shelley Marano?

Really amazing story. Constant twists and turns throughout; rich and vivid action that was well-written. I consumed this fic quick! At first I thought it'd be a meandering, whinging YA entry...you all know those...but it turned out to be so much more. Thankfully! Shelley was an infinitely interesting MC, and I craved to know just where she'd end up at the thrilling conclusion of What Lies Within. This blistering book was a page-turning pleasure to behold.
Profile Image for Mary Beth .
382 reviews1,654 followers
August 31, 2015
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
What Lies Within is an edge of your seat YA thriller. The story starts out with action and suspense immediately. It is a quick and easy paced read. I enjoyed every minute of it, and finished it in almost one day. If I had more reading time I would of finished it in one day easily.

Shelly Marano is your typical teenager who works for her Dad's auto body shop. She is trying to get her life prepared for college. She is in high school. Shelly does not make very many smart choices or decisions, but seems to learn by them at the near end of the book. She receives a terrifying text message and then texts back asking "Who is this?". She then receives an answer back and is a little relieved when she reads "Its your brother". She laughs a little at this and replies back "I don't have a brother". Later she finds out that she is adopted and her life is in danger. Shelly doesn't know why her life is in danger but she is being chased and people that have a part in what is going on are being murdered. She tries to solve the mystery and the only answer she can come up with is that it may have something to do with her biological father.

I though the characters are drawn out really well. I feel that there may be a second book because of how the book ended. I will definitely be reading more books by this author.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,175 reviews615 followers
October 5, 2015
Shelley Marano is an ordinary high school senior, living with her single Dad and thinking of college next year. She's not popular at school but her best friend Winston more than makes up for that with his easy going friendship and willingness to be involved in her schemes. Life seems pretty normal until one day she gets a strange text message on her phone that leads to her life being turned upside down.

Shelley and Winston take on the evil characters threatening her - a cold power-mad scientist and a sinister man on a motorcycle who loves nothing better than killing people. The tension ramps up to high as Shelley and Winston try to work out why she is being hunted. The answer turns out to be chilling.

This YA novel is sure to appeal to anyone who enjoys a good, fast paced, action packed thriller. The characters were well written. I liked Shelley's spunk and tenacity and Winston made a great side kick as the friend who would do nearly anything for her. Shelley's Dad was sympathetically drawn and I felt sorry that he tried so hard to connect with his daughter. The book ends with the hint of some unfinished business suggesting that there might be a sequel.
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,766 reviews590 followers
September 19, 2015
Which is stronger, nature, nurture or necessity? Isn’t being a teen tough enough? Shelley Marano was pretty normal, just a regular teen girl with a best friend named Winston. Then she received the text that would change her very existence forever and send her down a spiraling path of uncertainty, betrayal, guilt and anger, coming out the other end an entirely reshaped person. Will she like the person she has become? Can she accept the truth of her life, her very beginning and forgive the ones who lied through omission and love?

Someone wants her dead, someone is trying to save her and all she can do is find out the truth of her parentage, her reason for being born and the reason her mother had to die, oh and learn who she can and cannot trust or believe. Birth is to be celebrated, not cataloged, but someone is watching Shelley’s every move and people think she is losing her grasp on reality. Only Winston is in her corner and only Winston knows what she knows as fact, but what can a teenage boy do to convince the adults that Shelley’s tale is true? Will she remain a target for death, helpless as a lamb going to slaughter or will she rise from the ashes of her old life like an avenging phoenix or a raging inferno?

James Morris’ What Lies Within made me question which is stronger, nature, nurture or necessity in shaping a life. Using a fascinating premise, unraveling a twisted plot and filling each scene with vivid descriptions and amazing dialogue, Mr. Morris pulls the reader in holds them captive until well after the end arrives! The desperation feels real, the fear is chilling and the veil of unknown is almost suffocating! Add the dark motorcycle rider as the perfect representation of evil and you have one heck of a ride through a darkened tunnel into the unknown!

Gripping, far too plausible, perfectly timed bombshells of information, peppered with a pinch of humor, a pace that will quicken your heart, James Morris has a suspenseful hit that will appeal to all ages!

I received this copy from James Morris in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: James Morris
ISBN-13: 9781512283198
Genre: Mystery | Thriller | Suspense
Print Length: 219 pages
Available from: AmazonBarnes & Noble
For Reviews & More: http://tometender.blogspot.com

Profile Image for Maria.
77 reviews64 followers
November 12, 2015
You can find this and many more reviews at The Best Book Garden

REVIEW: This ebook was really nice and I really wish I put effort into reading it. I feel like I could’ve read this in 2 or 3 sittings but since it was an ebook, I never found time to read it. I marked it as “currently reading” sometime in early August but I actually started reading it mid-September. I was reading it on my iPod since I have the kindle app on there; I would read it on the bus to school (40 minute ride). However, after like 5 days (just reading on the bus), I would talk with the people on there and now we’re like friends but the thing is, is that I would talk with them and not have a chance to read. I stopped reading the book. I started again on October 30 and finally finished it November 2. So it technically took me 9 days to read it, not 3 months. Anyway, now that I’ve got that covered, time for a real review. This book was really nice and I love the plot. This is a very original book that didn’t seem like it was based off any book; James’ ideas were his own. If there was one thing I didn’t like about it was that the idea of kids doing things police should do made it seem more fantasy. And this wasn’t a fantasy book. I just don’t like it when teenagers decide to go and chance down killers. I guess you can call it a book pet peeve. But I did like the whole science behind it, which made it very interesting and fun. I think the “romance” between the two friends was a bit clique. Like the “You call us best friends but I call us more than that” clique. However, the overall story was really interesting and I did enjoy it.


Age Recommendation:
13 and up

Rating Breakdown:

Cover: 5/10 – worth 0 points
Originality of Plot: 9.5/10 – worth 20 points
Climax(es): 9/10 – worth 20 points
Characters: 7.5/10 – worth 20 points
My Opinion: 8/10 – worth 40 points
Overall: 8.75/10 – in between Pretty good and Amazing!- closer to Amazing!

Genres and Categories: 2015 release, cover color red, fiction, high school, mystery, young adult

Rating (if made into movie) : PG- mild violence

Pages: 226

Originally Published: June 2nd 2015 by Kindle Press

How I obtained book: James Morris contacted me and asked for a honest review in exchange for an ebook version of this book.

Awards: none yet

When I read book: September 12-16 and October 30-November 2
Profile Image for Maxine (Booklover Catlady).
1,305 reviews1,234 followers
December 1, 2015
This is one adrenalin filled novel that just got better and better the further into it I went. By the end I had quite frazzled nerves! It's a YA novel but really even if you don't normally read YA books you would like this one, I don't read a huge amount of YA unless it really appeals and I throughly enjoyed this.

I loved the plot in this book, the more it unraveled and the more truth that came forth, the more fascinating it was and in places quite "in your face". James Morris has written a gritty, powerful novel that will entertain and no doubt stand the test of time. A very strong debut novel.

“You’re going to die”

Shelley Marano is an ordinary, unexceptional high school senior…until the day she receives a cryptic text message, and her world tilts sideways. Now she’s in real danger, although she doesn’t know who would want her dead, or why. As she starts to unravel the mystery, the truth about who she really is proves to be more frightening than she ever imagined. With the lives of her and her friends hanging in the balance, one thing is certain:

Nothing will ever be the same.

The big question in this book is "who is Shelley Marano", you will ask it and Shelley herself asks it of herself often. Her life seems as normal, steady and stable as you can get until one fateful day changes everything and life will NEVER be the same for this 17 year old ever again. She is now walking on quicksand.

I loved the secrets, reveals and intrigue in this book, the action scenes are fantastic and some scenes are just really emotionally raw. Shelley as a character develops as the book rolls out and at times made some choices that totally shocked me but made for stunning reading material. Never judge a book by it's cover right? I could easily see this book being a great movie.

If you like some thrills with your books and some great twists you don't see someone then What Lies Within will be certain to please, this is one of the better YA novels that I have read in 2015 by far. Powerful, emotive, eye-opening, intriguing and highly enjoyable! 5 stars from me for this great book! Happy reading!

NOTE: I have review copies of this fantastic book available! Just message me via Goodreads for a copy.

For more of my reviews, books to win and author features: https://www.facebook.com/BookloverCat...

To follow me on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/promotethatbook

Profile Image for Linda Strong.
3,880 reviews1,635 followers
August 1, 2015
First off, when I was offered the opportunity to read and review this Young Adult thriller, I was not expecting what I got. After all, I have children and I survived their teen years and now I have teenage grandchildren. I've pretty much stayed away from YA because reading about teenagers just wasn't 'my thing'.

When I first started reading, I fell into instant 'like' with the two main protagonists. Shelley and her best friend Winston are normal teenagers, at least until a stranger walks up to Shelley and tells her she's adopted, he is her brother, and she is in danger. He is murdered shortly after.

And so Shelley's life is turned upside down and inside out. Her mantra becomes "who is Shelley Marano". She begins a very dangerous search for who she is.

The book absolutely blew me away! I was hooked from the very beginning and stayed 100% absorbed in the story. There are a few twists and turns that make it all the more engaging. And the last quarter of the book is so explosive, I almost forgot to breathe.

James Morris is a new author to me, but one I will certainly follow in the future.

A very well-deserved 5+ stars from me!

A heartfelt Thank You to the author for allowing me to read and review this amazing book.
Profile Image for Vanessa J..
347 reviews598 followers
Shelved as 'lost-interest'
June 28, 2015
I read the excerpt for this book, and I can tell I'm not going to like it, so I thought I'd better stop. First because he MC was kind of foolish: She got a text from someone telling her she's going to die, and she replies to the person and starts a conversation. Sorry, Shelley, but that is not the appropriate thing to do. Also, there were science inaccuracies, which are unforgivable for me. Worse even, they were about the simplest things in biology (what is metaphase in mitosis). I feel sorry because this could've had potential, but again, I'd rather not continue. I want to avoid a rage.
Profile Image for Tayler Steele.
143 reviews
October 28, 2015
I'm really between a 3 and 4 star rating on this one. I think it would have been a 4 star if I had read it at a better pace (I've been neglecting my books ever since college football season started back...oops) and it was because I was reading it at such a slow, disjointed pace that I was sometimes confused. So that's probably all on me.

I really, really loved the premise of this book. Super creative, fascinating, and very well executed. The author really brought the plot to live; I can't even tell you how many times I ended up curled up in a tense little ball on my couch when I was reading this because I was so riveted. And the suspense, dear God. So well done.

However, there were a few minor scenes that I felt disrupted the flow of the novel and, to me, felt like a car suddenly hitting the brakes at a red light after going 100mph before it took off again.

I was also really shocked by how much the novel seemed to change from the beginning to the end. I never would have expected the way the novel would turn out from the very first few chapters. It started strong and ended strong, but the twists and turns in the middle made for a crazy ride (in a good way, for sure).

Other than the comment about the flow of the novel, the only negative thing about the novel was that I just couldn't connect with the characters all that much. I found Winston endearing, but Shelley drove me crazy sometimes. I think that was somewhat purposefully done, but still. I wanted to slap her on multiple occasions, especially when she was interacting with her father. He was probably my favorite character, to be honest.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely, especially if you're a fan of thrillers, suspense, and a touch of sci-fi (not sure if the author would classify this as sci-fi, but there seemed to be some elements of the genre present).
Profile Image for Dana ****Reads Alot****.
134 reviews73 followers
July 2, 2015
This is the first book that I have read by this author, but I will definitely be reading more. Fast paced and interesting, Thanks to the author for giving me the book for an unbiased review. The story never lagged and kept me very interested.
Profile Image for Foxyreading.
63 reviews38 followers
August 22, 2015

Hello everyone! It´s Foxyreading (@Foxyfangirling on twitter) with my full review of What Lies Within!

4 out of 5 stars
I recieved a free kindle-edition copy from the author in return for an honest review! This fact does not influence my thoughts whatsoever. I do want to thank the author for granting me the opportunity to read his book!

I really liked the premise of this book! I thought it was a bit short and vague, but now I've read the book I understand why. So much happens in this book and if the premise was any longer it would spoil a lot of plot twists. And the fun part about reading fast paced mystery thrillers is figuring out what will happen next! The book's really action packed, there are so many twists and turns! This book just keeps you on the edge of your seat! If I would've had enough time I would've read it in one sitting! This book is just brilliantly and maturely written!

The book starts of really exciting, insane things already happen in the prologue! It just sucks you in from the start!

I did have some small problems with the characters so that's why I didn't give it 5 stars. They were really complex and interesting, but there were just some things that put me off a little.

Shelley, even though she is a teenager, she was REALLY insecure and desperate in the beginning. I liked how her character developped to a strong kick ass independent woman. But I feel like you only really saw that at the end of the book. Because throughout the book she was making some, let's call it: illogical sexual decisions. And that put me off. Luckily she got it kind of right the second time she had to make such a decision.. I guess.. So I grew to like her.

And that brings me onto the next character: Remy. I think he was intentionally made to be a douche, and that's fine because I feel like in some weird way this made Shelley's character develop some more. But I think overall he was kind of irrelevant to the story.

Winston was the best. I loved his character. He's basically everything I want to be in life. A loyal genuine kind friend to Shelley. He was so nice and sweet. I even caught myself laughing out loud because of his sarcasm. He really stood by Shelley until the end. I loved their friendship so much, I feel like their friendship is one of the aspects that really made this book!

I also liked her dad and the whole family aspect of the story. Even though her dad did one questionable thing, I could empathize because of the sad and tragic background story.

"They may not know my name, but they know who I am."

I also really liked the ending, it satisfied me. Allthough there were some questions left unanswered. If there comes a sequel I would definitely like to read it! That's why it's nice that there's kind of an open ending. This book reminded me of a lot of things, the one that stood out the most was: the TV series Orphan Black. So if you like that series you'd probably like this book!

If you like the genres mystery/thriller/contemporary/action this book is probably something for you! And I definitely recommend it! It's a fast and exciting read!
Profile Image for Laurence R..
617 reviews87 followers
September 1, 2016

First of all, I need to say that I have excuses to make to the author, James Morris, because I received this book ages ago and I promised that I would read and review really quickly, which I didn't do (I had to say it, I feel really bad about it).

I truly should have picked this book up earlier, because it made me realize that I could truly enjoy thrillers. I'm kind of scared of everything, so I usually pick up the least scary novels I can find, which excludes thrillers, obviously. When I started reading this, I got so lost in the story that I even forgot to feel scared. It's also not the scariest thriller, which I think helped me.

I really liked Shelley, the main character. She was easy to relate to and she became more and more interesting as the story progressed. I also liked her best friend, Winston, even though I wasn't sure if I liked their friendship as much as I liked them separately.

As for the plot, I won't even mention it, because it's something that I wasn't expecting at all and that no one would expect, in my opinion, so I'd rather not spoil anyone. I was pleasantly surprised, even though I believe the book could have had more elements and been longer.

I recommend this novel to anyone, because it made me question myself a lot and I opened up to this genre.
Profile Image for Mary Books and Cookies.
551 reviews406 followers
August 21, 2015
What Lies Within is a fast paced, well written, intense thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I finished this book in about a day and a half and that attests to the fact that it's such a wild ride from start to finish.

Shelley is your regular high school student, up until one day she receives a text from someone, with the words "You are going to die". This sends her spiralling into a conspiracy that's much bigger than she thought and Shelley starts fighting for her life.

I loved the premise of this book. I'm usually drawn to thrillers and mystery books, because I love trying to figure out the plot twist before it's actually revealed. I didn't even have time to think while reading this book. It intrigued me from the very beginning and I just kept going, wanting to see how it will all pan out. The writing is really good, it's paced perfectly with the tone of the book, it's engrossing and easy to go through.

I wasn't too sold on the characters. While I could relate to some of Shelley's reactions and feelings, there were times when I just shook my head at her, not really understanding why she chose a certain course of action. But, on the other hand, Shelley is a teenager still, and I'm a bit past that part in my life, so it's no wonder that I couldn't see eye to eye with her on a lot of things. So this wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

what did lower the rating of this book for me was that in the end, I felt a bit unsatisfied. And I couldn't quite put the finger on the feeling I had. It was a good ending, but I just felt there was something missing from it, although I can't really say what. I did like the fact that it's a bit open ended, leaving room for a possible sequel, which, if it does come out, I would definitely pick up.

If you're a fan of mystery books, thrillers, this is a must read for you. It delivers and it's satisfy your need for adrenaline.

Favourite quote:

“Wouldn’t you agree that we are all ‘created’ and all of our lives are . . . ‘experiments’ to some degree?”

3.5 stars

I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Profile Image for Cassandra (Thebookishcrypt).
570 reviews52 followers
November 3, 2015
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
"There was nothing like danger to make life worth living."
I really liked this book! The beginning was intriguing and definitely set the mood for the rest of the book. The intensity and suspense was constant from cover to cover. It had me on the edge of my seat and I couldn't read fast enough!
My favorite character has to be Winston. His friendship with Shelley is so real and he's incredibly hilarious! A guy like him is definitely a must for every girl out there. He's willing to do anything for the girl he loves and well, who wouldn't admire that?!
Shelley's character development was immensely satisfying. I was in awe of her after I read the last word. I seriously NEED to know what happens next!!! I am having withdrawals!
Profile Image for Mizuki.
2,971 reviews1,176 followers
January 21, 2018
Since I'd received a pdf from the author, so I feel so sorry for taking forever to review this book.

So I will review it now.

I printed out the first half of the story and read them from chapter to chapter, the mystery is well set and I'm curious about what the heroine will encounter in the later part of the story. Therefore I'll see what I can do with the rest of the book.

3 stars for the writing and the well set mystery, the rating might be changed after I finish the whole book.
Profile Image for Ioana.
51 reviews24 followers
July 15, 2015
I received this book from the author to review, but that does not in any way influence my opinion.

There are parts I liked, and parts I didn't.

I liked that it was fast paced, didn't feel boring or dragged at any point but sometimes that made everything seem a bit rushed or superficial. It would jump from one thing to another pretty fast.
The story/concept altogether was interesting, but I found myself wanting for more. In my opinion there wasn't really a mystery aspect, everything was pretty straightforward and as expected, no real element of surprise. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, just a thing to look out for if you're expecting a more intricate story.

The main character, Shelley, was likable enough and pretty realistic for the most part. She could be a little too melodramatic at points but nothing that I couldn't get over.

The writing was good, not spectacular. Sometimes it felt a little awkward or cliche (The famously spread "She released a breath she didn't realize she was holding"-or something along those lines- made an appearance)

I don't know if this is supposed to have a continuation, if not I feel that there are a lot of "sciency" things left unanswered and also what was the deal with her dreams and blackouts. From the ending, it seemed to hint at a continuation. If so, I will definitely pick it up as I am curious what will happen next.

All in all, I think it was a solid debut, and I would recommend it if you want a light, interesting and pleasant read. Don't expect this big twists and mysteries and to be blown away and you should be fine.
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,566 reviews259 followers
September 3, 2015
I received a free ecopy of What Lies Within from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Shelley's life turns on it's head when she receives a mysterious text message that says she's going to die. It looks like she's in real danger although she has no idea where the threat is coming from and no idea why. As she begins to learn what's going on, the more she begins to realize that she's not exactly the person she thought she was. If she makes it through this, one thing is for certain: nothing will ever be the same.

What Lies Within is a fast, edge-of-your-seat thriller. It hooked me right from the beginning. It provides enough answers to make it satisfying, but it leaves just enough unanswered to make me have to come back for more if there's another installment.

Shelley starts off pretty insecure, but I grew to like Shelley more over the course of the story as she learns more about herself. That being said she makes some really illogical decisions (see: Remy). When I got to their "interactions", I was stunned. But, then again, I'm not a teen anymore. On the other hand, Winston is a real scene stealer and he has some of the best parts. He's a great friend and has sense of humor I could appreciate.

If you enjoy mysteries and thrillers, you can't miss What Lies Within by James Morris.

This review is also on my blog.
Profile Image for Rajalakshmi Prithviraj.
Author 2 books31 followers
January 21, 2016
Sometimes, it is by chance that one discovers what truly lies within oneself. Call it serendipity, it was an SMS that triggered off Shelley Marano's journey into self discovery.

Was she somebody else's child? Adopted? Discarded? An experiment? Conceived for money? Hunted and followed? Stalked to be killed? What is up next? These are a few of the questions that will cross your mind as you continue to share the twists and turns is Shelley's life.

James Morris truly writes in a style which would hold your attention till you reach the end of the book. The way he has told the story through a female protagonist is really appreciable.

Through Shelley, the writer is probably bringing out the power of what lies within. Its not about the genes or the environment around us, but it is valuable sense of judgement of our inner world, a perfect reflection of the statement made by Ralph Waldo Emerson quoted at the beginning.

P.S - I received a free copy in exchange of an honest review from Booklover Catlady Publicity. Thank you Maxine
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