Reviews: The Dark Side of the Truth and Venture Untamed

The Dark Side of the Truth by Gary Caruso

The Dark Side of Truth

Publication date: September 27th 2013
Publisher: Inertia Publishing
Number of pages: 310
Series: Will Reed
Genre: YA mystery
Source: From the author for review. This is my honest opinion.
Date finished reading: January 4th 2014

Goodreads synopsis:

Soon after fifteen-year-old Will Reed and his friend Mason stumble over a corpse in the woods, Will’s ex-con father is arrested for the murder—and it’s Will’s fault. With the police about to close their investigation, Will must discover the identity of the ruthless killer before his father wrongfully goes back to prison.

In the spirit of City of Ember and The Goonies, it’s the discovery of a coded message that starts Will and Mason on an unexpected path of mystery and danger. Will hopes finding an ancient relic will guide him to the truth and prove his father’s innocence. Unfortunately, Will soon learns he isn’t the only one searching for this valuable object. It’s a race to follow hidden clues until Will is confronted with a harsh reality. His determination to help his father has jeopardized the lives of the people he cares for. With a cold-blooded killer on his trail, Will must choose between the safety of his friends and family or freedom for his father.


I am absolutely astounded that I liked The Dark Side of the Truth better than Gary Caruso’s other book, Our Souls to Keep. Astounded. You know why? Because I LOVED that book and fantasy is more my style. I had never really taken to mystery books prior to this book (bad experiences) but this book proved otherwise.

The story was really gripping and which made it perfect for a readathon. I estimated it would take me maybe 2 days to read it but really, I read it in a couple of hours. Even the best of books take me a good 3 days. I just couldn’t stop reading!

The main character, Will, was likeable, brave and determined, which are all very important character qualities. Then there was Mason and Mason’s dad, whose likeliness made me laugh at times, as did the name of chapter 9 (Chem-mystery is my Favourite Subject).

Admittedly I did not predict everything about the end. Although there is no way you can compare The Dark Side of the Truth with Our Souls to Keep, in terms of unpredictability. That ending will never leave me. It was a nice ending in general and a good conclusion to the story. Although I am a little unsure of what happened to one of the characters.

I liked the way that The Dark Side of the Truth was not too gruesome because it means it would be appropriate and enjoyable for any older middle-grade readers as well as any YA readers.

There were some really cool ideas involved in the story, which I won’t reveal in fear of spoiling some parts of the book but it’s clear that Gary Caruso put some thought into that.

If you’re looking for a lighter mystery, I highly recommend The Dark Side of the Truth. It was entertaining and not too gory which contributed to making such a great book.

The Dark Side of the Truth was an entertaining and captivating mystery that made for a challenge to put down.

 5/5 comets – Bye, bye Earth. Out of this world!

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 Goodreads author bio:

Gary A. CarusoGary Caruso lives in northern Virginia with his wife Jill, but their favorite place is in Ohio with their three beautiful grandchildren. Although Gary is exhilarated when he sits down to write, teaching middle school science is his first love. He’s passionate about empowering students to make thoughtful decisions and positive choices in life. Gary enjoys reading, especially fiction that blurs the line between what’s real and what’s fantasy. He never imagined becoming a writer until an ordinary car ride on a spring day jolted an unlikely thought into his head. Gary’s early experience writing is a reminder that no matter how intimidating the challenge, action and determination are the foundations for fulfilling any dream. Gary has an insatiable love for writing, a blessing he’s excited to share with his readers.


 Venture Untamed by R. H. Russell

Venture Untamed (Book 1)

Publication date: September 24th 2011
Publisher: Morning Gate Press
Series: The Venture Books (1#)
Genre: YA fantasy
Source: From the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest review.
Date finished reading: January 5th 2014

Goodreads synopsis:

Venture Delving is a bonded servant, a member of the lowest class in the world. Already fatherless, when he loses his mother, he veers from energetic to out of control. But when Venture’s rage saves the life of Jade, his best friend and his master’s daughter, Venture finds himself in the last place he ever expected—a center renowned for training young boys to be professional fighters.

When Venture realizes he’s fallen in love with Jade, he knows that the only way he’ll ever have her, the only way he’ll ever be free to live the life he’s meant to live, is to defy convention, common sense, the trust of those he cares about most—and sometimes the law—and become the best fighter in the world, the Champion of All Richland. Venture must battle not only rival fighters, but the ghosts of his past and the members of a privileged warrior class who stand between him and his dream.


This one was good. I didn’t form much of an opinion again while reading, so here is what I liked and disliked:

– easy reading
– Vent was a good guy
– never read a book about fighting before
– Jade was nice

– the beginning. I think that is the reason I couldn’t get into it.
– I was a bit confused character-wise. I think I needed more of an introduction to them.

This would be a nice, quick read for high fantasy readers. I am left a bit curious after the ending but otherwise I liked this book.

 2 comets – Just scapred past Earth. A couple of Band-Aids would fix it up.

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 Goodreads author bio:

R.H. Russell has been on the mat with talented young fighters since 1993. Their ambitions, struggles, and triumphs inspired her to write the Venture books. She hopes to share the fascinating world of fighters with readers in a unique way—a way anyone can identify with, because she truly believes there’s a fighter in all of us.

She’s having a great time letting Venture and his friends loose to play on the page, writing about brawls and big dreams, betrayal and camaraderie, and of course, Venture and Jade’s forbidden love.

The author also writes the Unicorns of the Mist series as R.R. Russell. Wonder Light (Sourcebooks 2013), the first of these novels for young readers, is out now. Look for The Unicorn Thief in 2014!


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