‘Beast’ spoiler-free review!

Hi lovelies! Today, I’m on the blog tour for Beast by Matt Wesolowski, the latest instalment in the Six Stories series. I haven’t read the previous books but this one totally worked as a standalone and I’m sure the others would too. But I’m definitely interested in going back now and reading the earlier instalments after how much I enjoyed this one!

beast


synopsis

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’. However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire’…


my thoughts

First of all, it was delightful to read about the North East of England, where I grew up! It’s always a weirdly awesome feeling, reading about somewhere you know – or is that just me? Not only that but having lived through the ‘Beast from the East’, there was a great sense of reality to this book. It made me feel even more invested.

This sense of place is one of Beast‘s biggest strengths. Wesolowski really captures the bleakness of the rugged coastal village of Ergarth and it worked so perfectly for the story he was telling. I could visualise everything so clearly and could almost feel the biting cold of that snowstorm all over again.

Beast has a fantastic conversational tone, being written in the format of podcast episodes. I thought this was a really clever framing device to keep the reader hooked.  You can’t possibly put the book down in the middle of an episode! The style makes for a fast-paced read with great flow. I think it would translate so well to audiobook!

I really enjoyed all the different perspectives that were presented and the slow piecing together of what happened. As a reader, you begin to question things and doubt what you thought you knew until the ending totally blows you away.

Overall, I thought this was a unique thriller that kept me gripped from start to finish. Beast takes an important look at society’s obsession with social media and the need to be ‘liked’, and I’m sure it will make many readers uncomfortable at times. But I highly recommend it!

beast


 Have you read any of the Six Stories books? Do you like the sound of this one? Check out the other stops on the blog tour for more information and reviews!

FINAL Beast BT Poster

‘The Alibi Girl’ spoiler-free review!

Hello everyone! Today, I’m reviewing The Alibi Girl which released in the UK on February 6th! This book was very kindly sent to me by HQ; I was delighted to receive an ARC of this one because it is written by the author of Sweet Pea/In Bloom which were some of the most original and hilarious thrillers I read last year! While this book was slightly different in tone, I enjoyed it just as much and would definitely recommend it. Read on to find out why… 😀

alibi girl


synopsis

Joanne Haynes has a secret: that is not her real name.

And there’s more. Her flat’s not hers. Her cats aren’t hers. Even her hair isn’t really hers.

Nor is she any of the other women she pretends to be. Not the bestselling romance novelist who gets her morning snack from the doughnut van on the seafront. Nor the pregnant woman in the dental surgery. Nor the chemo patient in the supermarket for whom the cashier feels ever so sorry. They’re all just alibis.

In fact, the only thing that’s real about Joanne is that nobody can know who she really is.

But someone has got too close. It looks like her alibis have begun to run out….


my thoughts

The Alibi Girl had the same great writing style as the previous books I’ve read by C. J. Skuse. I always feel bad saying a book is ‘easy’ to read as it almost seems to diminish the effort that went into writing it, but that’s really the best word I have for it. There’s just a supremely readable quality to Skuse’s books, a sense of flow and effortlessness that make them difficult to put down.

And I genuinely was gripped from start to finish. Although this book is quite different from the Sweet Pea series, there are hints at the same sense of humour and the author behind the work. I love when you can catch glimpses of an author’s personality and recognise a book as distinctly theirs.

This book wasn’t what I had expected when I first picked it up. I was particularly surprised when the point of view changed halfway through; it threw me for a loop and I wasn’t sure where things were going to go. But I ended up loving the direction the story took. Skuse is great at writing characters who have flaws but who you can’t help liking, and I felt genuinely invested in the protagonist’s story.

I also appreciated the way snippets of truth were slowly revealed. The childhood flashback scenes were particularly effective and enjoyable to read; Skuse brilliantly captured that sense of magic you feel in the school holidays and it made me so nostalgic.

Overall, this was another success from C. J. Skuse! If you haven’t read any of her books yet, you are missing out!

alibi girl


Have you read any of this author’s books? What books make you feel nostalgic about your childhood? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

‘The Sisters Grimm’ spoiler-free review!

Hi lovelies! Today, I’m wishing the happiest of book birthdays to Menna van Praag and The Sisters Grimm ❤ I’ve been a fan of Menna’s books since my very early bookstagram days so I was thrilled to be sent an ARC of her newest book – and I’m thrilled to say, I loved this one as well!

sisters grimm


synopsis

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.


my thoughts

I’ve been reading a lot of books about magical doors and alternative worlds recently and I’m loving each and every one. This one had the added bonus of being grounded in the very real world of Cambridge, which is a fabulous setting in itself. But add in magical gates that only open at a certain time on a certain day each month, and I was captivated.

Right from the prologue, I had a feeling this book would be something special. And I was not wrong. I loved the entire concept – of four sisters, each with a different elemental magic, who need to find their way back to each other. It felt so unique.

And van Praag’s writing was superb. It was a perfect fit for this sumptuous, magical story she was telling, with that lyrical quality I always love in books. I felt totally transported by this book and whenever I wasn’t reading it, I wanted to be.

The book is written from a number of different perspectives and I have to say, these are done SO well. Each narrative voice was so distinctive and made each character stand out so strongly in my mind. Sometimes, when I read books with multiple perspectives, it can take me a moment after switching to catch up and remember which character I’m reading about. I had no such issues here; the switches in perspective were seamless and I never once got confused. I think this is a real testament to van Praag’s skill as a writer.

Naturally, there were some characters I preferred over others but I think that’s only natural in a book with so many perspectives. The important thing is that I still felt invested in each character’s individual story as well as the overarching plot. And just like the original Grimm fairytales, this book could be DARK in places. These girls face very real issues and I loved seeing how they coped with everything.

I’m saying nothing more – just go read this one! And try not to do what I did and keep saying “Neverwhere” instead of “Everwhere” 😉

sisters grimm


Are you a fan of magical realism? I know it’s not for everyone but I love it! Let me know in the comments if you have any favourites! xsignature (2)

 

‘White Stag’ spoiler-free review!

Hello all! Today, I’m reviewing White Stag by Kara Barbieri which was one of my anticipated releases in 2019! Sadly, I felt a bit let down by it. Want to know why? Keep reading… 😉

white stag


synopsis

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.


my thoughts

First things first, I love a good goblin story. Tell me a book has goblins in it and I will immediately be interested. Add in a frozen wilderness and you can understand why I was so eager to read this one. And while I did like aspects of it, it didn’t work for me as a whole.

The setting was pretty good but didn’t feel 100% realised. I felt as if the random Norse elements were kind of thrown in and didn’t add anything to my enjoyment of the story; if anything, they felt jarring and unnecessary.

There was a quality to this book that I can’t quite put my finger on but it was one which held me back from giving a higher rating. It was a kind of immaturity? I don’t want to come across as judgemental but I could definitely tell that this book started out in life on Wattpad. I feel like it needed even more editing than what it would have received. The writing was very repetitive and juvenile.

But listen. It wasn’t all bad. I did appreciate the mental health themes (particularly as these are still pretty rare in fantasy novels). The exploration of Janneke’s PTSD and her journey of healing from that trauma were nicely done and it’s just a shame that the writing quality detracted from what could have been a very powerful book.

I feel like this review was so harsh! And I didn’t mean it to be. I always hate to criticise a book knowing someone put their heart and soul into it. But hey, maybe this one will work for you where it didn’t work for me – I know plenty of readers who loved it. We can’t enjoy them all!

white stag


What are you all reading these days? Are you enjoying it? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

 

January 2020 Wrap-Up!

Hello my lovelies! I can’t believe we’re already looking at the first wrap-up of 2020! January has simultaneously felt a million years long but also over in the blink of an eye?!

From the quality of books I’ve read this month, I’m feeling good about what’s to come this year. Last year felt very ‘meh’ in reading terms and I didn’t discover many new all-time favourites but I have a feeling 2020 is going to be amazing!

january 2020 wrapup


Review Books

Magpie by Sophie Draper

This is the second book I’ve read by Sophie Draper and while I loved the first, I was disappointed by this one. I found it dull and meandering but I’m hoping the author’s next book will be more like her debut.

 

Pine by Francine Toon

I loved this Gothic debut with its atmospheric setting and eerie mythological ties. I questioned the ending slightly but on the whole, this was a very enjoyable read!

 

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

I loved everything about this one. It had me giggling before the end of the first page and it has stayed with me long after finishing it. I definitely recommend this one for fans of great characters.

All The Rage by Cara Hunter

My first Cara Hunter did not disappoint. I found this to be a compelling and original thriller, which addressed important and timely issues.

 

Bad Island by Stanley Donwood

This graphic novel was a fast read but one which was stark and haunting. I’ll be reviewing it soon so keep your eyes open!


Books from my TBR

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

My first read of the year was one which I was highly anticipating and which didn’t let me down. This gorgeous book was an incredible reading experience and one that I recommend to all fantasy fans.

 

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

This middle grade was a Christmas gift from one of my besties and I really enjoyed it. You know me by now, wintery aesthetics are my jam 😉

White Stag by Kara Barbieri

I had been anticipating this one for a good while but sadly, it was a bit of a let-down. I found it very repetitive and there was an immaturity to the tone that I didn’t enjoy. Full review coming soon!

 

A Storm of Ice and Stars by Lisa Lueddecke

Oh look, we’re back with that winter aesthetic. This was a prequel to A Shiver of Snow and Sky which I read a few years ago and loved. While this one didn’t grab me as much as that one did, I still really enjoyed it. Lueddecke’s writing is lovely.


Rereads

No rereads yet this year but I have a few planned for the coming months!


Stats

Total pages: 3147

Average pages per day: 101.5

Longest book: The Starless Sea (498 pages)

Shortest book: Bad Island (144 pages)

Favourite read of the month: Not So Pure and Simple/The Starless Sea (for very different reasons!)

Biggest disappointment of the month: Magpie

Male authors: 2

Female authors: 7

Multiple authors: 0

january 2020 wrapup


How many books did you read in January? Which was your favourite? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

February 2020 Anticipated Releases!

Hey everyone! January is finally over after what feels like a million years so it’s time for the year to go into overdrive as it always does! There are more amazing books coming out this month so let’s take a look, shall we?

[As always, all covers and synopses are taken from Goodreads, and I have used UK release dates that are correct as far as I’m aware. It always upsets me when I post these and then book releases get pushed back haha.]

February


Blood Countess by Lana Popovic

Release date: February 3rd

blood countess

A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula

In 16th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.

Why I’m interested: I loved Popovic’s debut, Wicked Like A Wildfire, with its gorgeous writing and sensory detail. I’m ashamed to say I still haven’t read the sequel because I suck. But I’m still excited to see that Popovic is releasing a new book, this one a reimagining of the life of Elizabeth Bathory!


The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne

Release date: February 4th

the stars we steal

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself failing for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

Why I’m interested: This was the first ARC I received from Titan Books this year and they have been spoiling me ever since! This sounds like it could be a little bit cheesy but a lot of fun.


Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland

Release date: February 4th

deathless divide

After the fall of Summerland, Jane McKeene hoped her life would get simpler: Get out of town, stay alive, and head west to California to find her mother.

But nothing is easy when you’re a girl trained in putting down the restless dead, and a devastating loss on the road to a protected village called Nicodermus has Jane questioning everything she thought she knew about surviving in 1880’s America.

What’s more, this safe haven is not what it appears – as Jane discovers when she sees familiar faces from Summerland amid this new society. Caught between mysteries and lies, the undead, and her own inner demons, Jane soon finds herself on a dark path of blood and violence that threatens to consume her.

But she won’t be in it alone.

Katherine Deveraux never expected to be allied with Jane McKeene. But after the hell she has endured, she knows friends are hard to come by – and that Jane needs her, too, whether Jane wants to admit it or not.

Watching Jane’s back, however, is more than she bargained for, and when they both reach a breaking point, it’s up to Katherine to keep hope alive – even as she begins to fear that there is no happily-ever-after for girls like her.

Why I’m interested: I’ve tried not to read that blurb because the first book, Dread Nation, is still unread on my shelf and I don’t want spoilers. Now that Titan Books have provided me with a free copy of this sequel, I’m absolutely determined to get to this series. It sounds awesome!


Below by Alexandria Warwick

Release date: February 4th

below alexandria warwick

In the heart of the frigid North, there lives a demon known as the Face Stealer. Eyes, nose, mouth—nothing and no one is safe. Once he returns to his lair, or wherever it is he dwells, no one ever sees those faces again.

When tragedy strikes, Apaay embarks on a perilous journey to find her sister’s face—yet becomes trapped in a labyrinth ruled by a sinister girl named Yuki. The girl offers Apaay a deal: find her sister’s face hidden within the labyrinth, and she will be set free. But the labyrinth, and those who inhabit it, is not as it seems. Especially Numiak: darkly beautiful, powerful, whose motives are not yet clear.

With time slipping, Apaay is determined to escape the deadly labyrinth with her sister’s face in hand. But in Yuki’s harsh world, Apaay will need all her strength to survive.

Yuki only plays the games she wins.

Why I’m interested: What initially drew me to this one was the fact that I share a first name with the author. That’s always weirdly exciting for me 😀 But the more I learn about this one, the more interested I become; it’s based on Innuit mythology! And it fits my aesthetic perfectly.


Heartstopper: Volume 3 by Alice Oseman

Release date: February 6th

heartstopper volume 3

In this volume we’ll see the Heartstopper gang go on a school trip to Paris! Not only are Nick and Charlie navigating a new city, but also telling more people about their relationship AND learning more about the challenges each other are facing in private…

Meanwhile Tao and Elle will face their feelings for each other, Tara and Darcy share more about their relationship origin story, and the teachers supervising the trip seem… rather close…?

Why I’m interested: Nick and Charlie, my precious boys. I’m not sure a cuter graphic novel series exists.


What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel

Release date: February 6th

what kind of girl

The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides. It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But the students have questions: Why did she go to the principal and not the police? Why did she stay so long if he was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should be expelled. But is it true? Some girls want to rally for his expulsion – and some want to rally around Mike. The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out.

Why I’m interested: I’ve been keeping an eye on Alyssa Sheinmel ever since reading Faceless (way back before my bookstagram days!) Her books always seem to tackle important subjects and this one sounds no different.


Glass Town by Isabel Greenberg

Release date: February 6th

glass town

The entrancing story of the Brontë sisters’ childhood imaginary world, from the New York Times bestselling graphic novelist

Four children: Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne have invented a world so real and vivid that they can step right into it. But can reality be enough, when fiction is so enticing? And what happens to an imaginary world when its creators grow up?

Plots are spiralling, characters are getting wildly out of hand, and a great deal of ink is being spilt…

Welcome to Glass Town.

Why I’m interested: I loved The Encyclopaedia of Early Earth by this author and now she’s created a graphic novel about the Brontes?! I’m in.


The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Release date: February 6th

the mercies kiran millwood hargrave

Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves.

Three years later, a sinister figure arrives. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty evil.

As Maren and Ursa are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them, with Absalom’s iron rule threatening Vardø’s very existence.

Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials, The Mercies is a story of love, evil, and obsession, set at the edge of civilization.

Why I’m interested: Here’s another book that is perfectly my aesthetic. Witches and frozen settings? Yes please. Plus I’ve enjoyed Hargrave’s writing previously.


Turtle Under Ice by Juleah del Rosario

Release date: February 11th

turtle under ice

Rowena feels like her family is a frayed string of lights that someone needs to fix with electrical tape. After her mother died a few years ago, she and her sister, Ariana, drifted into their own corners of the world, each figuring out in their own separate ways how to exist in a world in which their mother is no longer alive.

But then Ariana disappears under the cover of night in the middle of a snowstorm, leaving no trace or tracks. When Row wakes up to a world of snow and her sister’s empty bedroom, she is left to piece together the mystery behind where Ariana went and why, realizing along the way that she might be part of the reason Ariana is gone.

Haunting and evocative—and told in dual perspectives—Turtle Under Ice examines two sisters frozen by grief as they search for a way to unthaw.

Why I’m interested: As you know, I’m always on the look-out for books that address mental health issues. This sounds like it could be a difficult but amazing read.


The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

Release date: February 11th

library of the unwritten

Join the library and raise hell in the first book of a stunning new fantasy series, where books unfinished by their authors reside within the Unwritten Wing of the devil’s own library, and restless characters will emerge from out of their pages…

Every book left unfinished by its author is filed away in the Unwritten Wing, a neutral space in Hell presided over by Claire, its head librarian. Along with repairing and organizing books, her job consists of keeping an eye on restless stories whose characters risk materialising and escaping the library.

When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto. But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong, in a chase that threatens to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell… and Earth.

Why I’m interested: As far as I’m aware, this book already came out in America last year. I’m so glad it has come to the UK because it sounds incrdible. Any book about books is already well on its way to a win with me.


The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Release date: February 20th

sun down motel

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

Why I’m interested: I remember being interested in The Broken Girls when it came out but I’m yet to obtain a copy. This sounds like another great read from Simone St. James with a potentially great setting.


The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

Release date: February 25th

the sound of stars

Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.

Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.

Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.

Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favourite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.

Why I’m interested: First of all, have you seen that cover? Secondly, talk of a secret library, an AI/alien who loves human music, and a road trip sound like ingredients for a fun read.



What books are you looking forward to this month? Are any of these on your radar? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

‘Magpie’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! I totally thought I’d already reviewed this book which was gifted to me by Avon Books, oops! But better late than never, right?! This book may not be as fresh in my mind as I would like it to be for writing a review but I’ll give it my shot nonetheless!

magpie


synopsis

Claire lives with her family in a beautiful house overlooking the water. But she feels as if she’s married to a stranger – one who is leading a double life. As soon as she can get their son Joe away from him, she’s determined to leave Duncan.

But finding out the truth about Duncan’s secret life leads to consequences Claire never planned for. Now Joe is missing, and she’s struggling to piece together the events of the night that tore them all apart.

Alone in an isolated cottage, hiding from Duncan, Claire tries to unravel the lies they’ve told each other, and themselves. Something happened to her family… But can she face the truth?


my thoughts

It was a struggle to not compare this book to its predecessor, Cuckoo, even though they are unrelated. I loved Draper’s debut and found it to be hugely atmospheric, even referring to it as “one of the best thrillers I’ve read”. So you can imagine how excited I was to read this follow-up. Sadly, Draper’s sophomore novel didn’t work for me quite so well.

I found the plot of this novel to be very disjointed and I never felt fully invested. Even when the disparate story fragments eventually came together, I was never completely convinced.

I also found this book to be a bit too slow-paced for me. I feel like a bit of a hypocrite saying that because the slow-burning tension was one of the things that worked most for me in Cuckoo but in Magpie, it was just a tad too slow to hold my attention. I also found it to be quite repetitive so, ultimately, I struggled to remain interested.

In terms of the characters, Claire and Duncan’s narrative perspectives were not overly distinctive, making it a struggle to remember who was meant to be speaking. I felt held at a constant distance and never really warmed to any of the characters. The book also switches between first person and third person, and past and present tense, all of which made for a read which didn’t flow overly well.

Overall, I’m disappointed by Draper’s second novel but I still hugely recommend Cuckoo and I haven’t written the author off yet. I will keep an eye out for what she writes next in the hope that it can recapture the qualities I loved in her debut.

magpie


What was the last book you read that disappointed you? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

 

Down The TBR Hole [#3]

Hello lovelies! I’m really enjoying the ‘Down the TBR Hole’ meme. It feels great to be cleaning up my online shelves 😀 I’ve had a slight break from it due to the festive period and new year but the time has come for round three!

down the tbr hole.png

‘Down The TBR Hole’ is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story, though she now blogs @ Sunflowers and Wonder!

Here are the rules:-

  1. Go to your Goodreads want-to-read shelf.
  2. Order on ascending date added.
  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. 
  4. Read the synopses of the books
  5. Decide: keep it or should it go?
  6. Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!

The Underground Man by Mick Jackson

underground man

The Underground Man offers a humorous portrait of the fifth Duke of Portland, a wealthy, eccentric nineteenth-century nobleman who constructed a vast network of underground tunnels from which he could escape to the world outside.

Short and sweet blurb there. I’m not at all sure what made me add this one – especially considering it was first released in 1997?! I can’t genuinely say I’m interested based on so little information so…

Verdict: Remove


Blankets by Craig Thompson

blankets.jpg

Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith.

I actually started to read graphic novels last year and I’ve been enjoying them, so this one can definitely stick around!

Verdict: Keep


 The Secret History by Donna Tartt

the secret history.jpg

Truly deserving of the accolade Modern Classic, Donna Tartt’s cult bestseller The Secret History is a remarkable achievement – both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.

Shock and horror. I know. I feel like this might be a good candidate for my ’30 before 30′ list? I really would like to get to it at some point.

Verdict: Keep


The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett

bookman's tale

Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn’t sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn’t really her. The watercolor is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins.

As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare’s time, Peter communes with Amanda’s spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.

So this does sound interesting. Especially with that mention of Hay-on-Wye, a place of pilgrimage for many bookstagrammers these days 😉 However, reviews are very mixed and I don’t think I’m intrigued enough to want to find out for myself. So many books, so little time!

Verdict: Remove


Room by Emma Donoghue

room

To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.

This is another of those books I’ve owned for far too long. I know it’s probably old news by this point but I still do want to read it.

Verdict: Keep


Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

heart shaped box.jpg

When Judas Coyne heard someone was selling a ghost on the internet, there was no question. It was perfect for his collection of the macabre: the cannibal’s cookbook, the witch’s confession, the authentic snuff movie. As an ageing death-metal rock-god, buying a poltergeist almost qualifies as a business expense.

Besides, Jude thinks he knows all about ghosts. Jude has been haunted for years… by the spirits of bandmates dead and gone, the spectre of the abusive father he fled as a child, and the memory of the suicidal girl he abandoned. But this ghost, delivered to his doorstep in a black heart-shaped box, is different. It makes the house feel cold. It makes the dogs bark. And it means to chase Jude from his home and make him run for his life.

Back in the day, I read a short story collection called 20th Century Ghosts and wanted to pursue the author’s work further. So I’m fairly sure I have a copy of this one somewhere on my shelves? I just never seem to get round to it. *hangs head in shame*

Verdict: Keep


The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin

axeman's jazz.jpg

New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer – The Axeman – stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him…

Though every citizen of the ‘Big Easy’ thinks they know who could be behind the terrifying murders, Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot, heading up the official investigation, is struggling to find leads. But Michael has a grave secret – and if he doesn’t find himself on the right track fast – it could be exposed…

Former detective Luca d’Andrea has spent the last six years in Angola state penitentiary, after Michael, his protégée, blew the whistle on his corrupt behaviour. Now a newly freed man, Luca finds himself working with the mafia, whose need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as the authorities’.

Meanwhile, Ida is a secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, Ida stumbles across a clue which lures her and her trumpet-playing friend, Lewis ‘Louis’ Armstrong, to the case and into terrible danger…

As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer’s identity, the Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim. And as the case builds to its crescendo, the sky will darken and a great storm will loom over the city…

I feel really torn about this one. It sounds intriguing and like it could be fun. And I do own a copy. But it’s just not one that I ever gravitate towards. I feel like I should unhaul it but I don’t want to then acknowledge that I wasted money on it. I’ll let it stay for now but I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read this one!

Verdict: Keep


The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey

girl with all the gifts

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favourite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.

Yet another one I’m ashamed to have not read yet. I think because I got spoiled a long time ago so now I feel like what’s the point, you know? Someone please convince me to give this one a chance sometime soon!

Verdict: Keep


What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

what alice forgot

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.

So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, , she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.

I must have been in the habit of adding books I’d bought to Goodreads because I seem to already own a lot of these. This is another one that I’m not sure I’m interested in any longer but as I have a physical copy, it can stay for now.

Verdict: Keep


The Accident by C. L. Taylor

the accident

Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.

Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.

There is a lot that Sue doesn’t know about Charlotte’s life. But then there’s a lot that Charlotte doesn’t know about Sue’s …

I’ve read quite a few books by this author now but I’m not really bothered about going back to this very early one.

Verdict: Remove


Those Above by Daniel Polansky

those above daniel polansky

They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword.

Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.

Those Above is the first of an extraordinary new fantasy epic by the author of the acclaimed Low Town series that will sweep the reader into a wholly alien, wholly recognizable world of rebellion and revenge, of love and of death, of intrigue and pitiless war.

I must have been interested in this when I added it but, to be honest, it no longer sounds like my kind of book. I struggle with sci-fi books and though I do try now and then to push myself out of my comfort zone, I don’t feel like I would be inclined to pick this one up.

Verdict: Remove


How Can I Help? A Week in My Life as a Psychiatrist by David Goldbloom & Pier Bryden

how can i help

A humane behind-the-scenes account of a week in the life of a psychiatrist at one of Canada’s leading mental health hospitals. How Can I Help? takes us to the frontlines of modern psychiatric care.

How Can I Help? portrays a week in the life of Dr. David Goldbloom as he treats patients, communicates with families, and trains staff at CAMH, the largest psychiatric facility in Canada. This highly readable and touching behind-the-scenes account of his daily encounters with a wide range of psychiatric concerns—from his own patients and their families to Emergency Department arrivals—puts a human face on an often misunderstood area of medical expertise. From schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder to post-traumatic stress syndrome and autism, How Can I Help? investigates a range of mental issues.

What is it like to work as a psychiatrist now? What are the rewards and challenges? What is the impact of the suffering—and the recovery—of people with mental illness on families and the clinicians who treat them? What does the future hold for psychiatric care?

How Can I Help? demystifies a profession that has undergone profound change over the past twenty-five years, a profession that is often misunderstood by the public and the media, and even by doctors themselves. It offers a compassionate, realistic picture of a branch of medicine that is entering a new phase, as increasingly we are able to decode the mysteries of the brain and offer new hope for sufferers of mental illness.

This still sounds like an interesting read but I’m unlikely to buy it for myself and unless I found it at the library, I’d probably not go out of my way to get it.

Verdict: Remove


Jakob’s Colours by Lindsay Hawdon

jakobs colours

This heartbreaking and tender novel will appeal to readers who loved Sophie’s Choice, Schindler’s Ark, and The Book Thief.

Austria, 1944: Jakob, a gypsy boy—half Roma, half Yenish—runs, as he has been told to do. With shoes of sack cloth, still bloodstained with another’s blood, a stone clutched in one hand, a small wooden box in the other. He runs blindly, full of fear, empty of hope. For hope lies behind him in a green field with a tree that stands shaped like a Y. He knows how to read the land, the sky. When to seek shelter, when not. He has grown up directing himself with the wind and the shadows. They are familiar to him. It is the loneliness that is not. He has never, until this time, been so alone. “Don’t be afraid, Jakob,” his father has told him, his voice weak and wavering. “See the colours, my boy,” he has whispered. So he does. Rusted ochre from a mossy bough. Steely white from the sap of the youngest tree. On and on, Jakob runs. Spanning from one world war to another, taking us across England, Switzerland, and Austria, Jakob’s Colours is about the painful legacies passed down from one generation to another, finding hope where there is no hope, and colour where there is no colour.

I love WWII fiction and this sounds heart-breaking and beautiful. Definitely a keeper.

Verdict: Keep


My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal

my name is leon

It’s 1981, a year of riots and royal weddings. The Dukes of Hazzard is on TV and Curly Wurlys are in the shops. And trying to find a place in it all is young Leon.

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, a belly like Father Christmas, and mutters swearwords under her breath when she thinks can’t hear. Maureen feeds and looks after them, and claims everything will be okay.

But will they ever see their mother again? Who are the couple who secretly visit Jake? The adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing pretend faces. They are threatening to take Jake away and give him to strangers. Because Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile – like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.

Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how – just when we least expect it – we somehow manage to find our way home.

I still really like the sound of this one. I’d love to grab a copy and try it some day.

Verdict: Keep


Movie Game by Michael Ebner

movie game

It’s been three years since Joe’s father vanished. Now seventeen, he is unaware that government agents are watching him in case his dad makes contact. Joe is too distracted by his secret girlfriend, midnight swims in the pools of strangers, free drinks from his buddies at the movie game and the glamorous college student, Felicity. But his movie-esque existence and addiction to fiction is set to collide with a heavy dose of reality this summer when he discovers everything is not what it seems: his secret girlfriend wants to be the real thing. His college fling may have ulterior motives. And the government agents want co-operation to catch his missing father. All this and the three year old death of Joe’s first girlfriend Alice are going to cause him to face some dark truths.

It’s no longer a movie game. This is his life and he wants to win.

I’ve seen mixed reviews for this one and I feel like it could go either way for me. But the mentions of an unlikeable protagonist put me off a little. I think there are many more books that are a higher priority for me to read, so I might as well get rid of this one!

Verdict: Remove


The Other Side of the River: Stories of Women, Water & the World by Eila Kundrie Carrico

the other side of the river

The Other Side of the River: Stories of Women, Water and the World is a deep searching into the ways we become dammed and how we recover fluidity. It is a journey through memory and time, personal and shared landscapes to discover the source, the flow and the deltas of women and water.

Rooted in rivers, inspired by wetlands, sources and tributaries, this book weaves its path between the banks of memory and story, from Florida to Kyoto, storm-ravaged New Orleans to London, via San Francisco and Ghana. We navigate through flood and drought to confront the place of wildness in the age of technology. Part memoir, part manifesto, part travelogue and part love letter to myth and ecology, The Other Side of the River is an intricately woven tale of finding your flow…and your roots.

This sounds utterly stunning. Definitely appeals to the Nature Girl in me.

Verdict: Keep


Down Station by Simon Morden

down station

A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through…and find themselves on a wild shore backed by cliffs and rolling grassland. The way back is blocked. Making their way inland they meet a man dressed in a wolf’s cloak and with wolves by his side. He speaks English and has heard of a place called London – other people have arrived here down the ages – all escaping from a London that is burning. None of them have returned. Except one – who travels between the two worlds at will. The group begin a quest to find this one survivor; the one who holds the key to their return and to the safety of London.

And as they travel this world, meeting mythical and legendary creatures,split between North and South by a mighty river and bordered by The White City and The Crystal Palace, they realise they are in a world defined by all the London’s there have ever been.

Reminiscent of Michael Moorcock and Julian May this is a grand and sweeping science fantasy built on the ideas, the legends, the memories of every London there has ever been.

I actually love the sound of this. I have always enjoyed books about other worlds and have read many about alternative Londons in particular. I would still be happy to read this.

Verdict: Keep


Nettle Blackthorn and the Three Wicked Sisters: Part One by Winter Woodlark

Book Cover Paper Back SAFE

Blackthorn Cottage dwells within the dark and sinister forest of the Forgotten Wilds; a forest inhabited by fanciful folk, kept hidden from the rest of the world. When Nettle’s family return to the cottage her father makes the children promise to never, ever enter the forest, but Nettle’s not the type of girl to heed those types of warnings.

Quite soon, Nettle embarks on a grand adventure that leads her to Olde Town, a strange village set at the top of a very odd hill. When she meets Claudine Balfrey, she knows she’ll be the perfect new wife for her father. Claudine and her sisters own the Three Wicked Sisters’ Tea House where a black cat sleeps by a cauldron, visitors gather to eat strange delectables and children nibble on faerie candy.

But is Olde Town all it appears to be? And just who are the Balfrey sisters? Soon enough Nettle finds herself embroiled in a mystery that began several centuries ago with the Accursed Lysette.

It’s a shame because this one sounds like it could be awesome but it has hardly any ratings on Goodreads and it seems part two never arrived. So I wouldn’t want to read part one and be left without answers!

Verdict: Remove


The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

diary of a young girl anne frank

Anne Frank’s extraordinary diary, written in the Amsterdam attic where she and her family hid from the Nazis for two years, has become a world classic and a timeless testament to the human spirit. Now, in a new edition enriched by many passages originally withheld by her father, we meet an Anne more real, more human, and more vital than ever. Here she is first and foremost a teenage girl—stubbornly honest, touchingly vulnerable, in love with life. She imparts her deeply secret world of soul-searching and hungering for affection, rebellious clashes with her mother, romance and newly discovered sexuality, and wry, candid observations of her companions. Facing hunger, fear of discovery and death, and the petty frustrations of such confined quarters, Anne writes with adult wisdom and views beyond her years. Her story is that of every teenager, lived out in conditions few teenagers have ever known.

I know, I know. Feel free to shout at me. I realise what an important book this is and I’m ashamed I haven’t read it yet. But I do own a copy and I’m determined to make the effort! I think I’m just holding off because I know how emotional it will make me.

Verdict: Keep


Animal Farm by George Orwell

animal farm

A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned—a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.

When Animal Farm was first published, Stalinist Russia was seen as its target. Today it is devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell’s masterpiece have a meaning and message still ferociously fresh.

I read and enjoyed 1984 a few years ago and have been meaning to read more Orwell ever since. I definitely need to see what this one is all about.

Verdict: Keep



Books removed in this post: 7

Books removed in total: 24

Total books analysed: 62

Do you participate in ‘Down The TBR Hole’? What do you think of my decisions? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! xsignature (2)

‘All The Rage’ spoiler-free review and giveaway!

Hi everyone! Today, I’m on the HUGE blog tour for All The Rage, which is out in paperback today! This is the first Cara Hunter book I’ve read and I’m pleased to say I enjoyed it 😀 And I’m delighted to be able to offer one of YOU a copy of your very own because I accidentally ended up with two! So if you enjoy my review and like the sound of this one, make sure you leave me a comment saying you’d like to be entered in the giveaway! ❤

all the rage


synopsis

A teenage girl is found wandering the outskirts of Oxford, dazed and distressed. The story she tells is terrifying. Grabbed off the street, a plastic bag pulled over her face, then driven to an isolated location where she was subjected to what sounds like an assault. Yet she refuses to press charges.

DI Fawley investigates, but there’s little he can do without the girl’s co-operation. Is she hiding something, and if so, what? And why does Fawley keep getting the feeling he’s seen a case like this before?

And then another girl disappears, and Adam no longer has a choice: he has to face up to his past. Because unless he does, this victim may not be coming back…


my thoughts

As I mentioned previously, this was the first book I’ve read by Cara Hunter and I wasn’t disappointed! All The Rage was extremely compelling. I found it effective the way scenes would chop and change quite quickly, giving short bursts of information; this made for a very fast-paced read and made sure I couldn’t put the book down before finding out the next snippet! The book includes a range of formats, with social media conversations, courtroom transcripts and psychiatric reports all adding a sense of realness to the story and further heightening its gripping nature. It’s certainly a very readable book that will keep you up long into the night!

I will be completely honest and say that it took me a short while to get into the book. Normally, I like my thrillers to grab me within the first few pages and not let go. With All The Rage, it took a little longer for me to become invested. There were a lot of characters to try and keep track of in my head and I was mixing people up quite a bit because I’m silly like that. But then something was revealed around page 50 (which I can’t even hint at because SPOILERS) that got me hooked! From then on, my brain was ALL ABOUT this book.

As I said, there are quite a few characters in All The Rage. I didn’t realise before I picked it up that it’s actually the fourth book in a series so maybe I wouldn’t have struggled so much if I’d been on board from the beginning. That said, I still wholeheartedly believe that this book can be read as a standalone without the prior knowledge! I enjoyed getting to learn the dynamics of this particular police team and following the various subplots which were set up. Everyone felt realistically human, though my favourite character was definitely DC Somer who brought a slightly softer edge to a very masculine-feeling group.

Overall, I found this to be a complex and compelling read with a unique angle which I’ve not seen done before in a thriller. I truly appreciated the important issues which this book addressed while still managing to stand as an entertaining piece of fiction. It’s hard for a book to be original in this saturated genre but I think this one has managed it well.

all the rage


All The Rage is out today, January 23rd! Will you be reading it? Check out the other stops on this huge blog tour for more information and reviews! You can also sign up to Cara’s newsletter here!

And if you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a brand new paperback copy of the book, leave me a comment below! (UK entrants only, sorry!)

ATR final blog banner 1ATR final blog banner 2

‘Not So Pure and Simple’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! Today, I’m wishing a happy book birthday to Lamar Giles and Not So Pure and Simple! I was kindly sent an ARC of this one by Harper 360 YA and I loved every second of it 😀 Read on to find out why…

not so pure and simple

 


synopsis

Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.

His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed.

With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?


my thoughts

I genuinely loved everything about this book! When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it which I always think is a sign of a great read. There were aspects of it that reminded me of the movie Easy A so if you enjoyed that, this is definitely a book for you 😉

The characters are one of this novel’s biggest strengths. If I’m being honest, protagonist Del comes across as a bit of a jerk at first but as the author says in his opening note, you will genuinely come to like him. The more you read, the more you see Del’s true nature and it really is quite lovely. You can’t help but root for him. The novel also features some wonderful side characters, particularly Jameer who is an absolute cinnamon roll and one of my new favourites.

Another huge strength of this one is its humour. I was giggling before the end of the first page and continued to enjoy the author’s fun style for the duration of the novel. I laughed out loud so many times and then the ending had me grinning like an absolute goofball 😀 It’s a great feel-good story!

Though there were moments in the story that were slightly predictable, I didn’t mind at all because the book was so genuinely fantastic. This is a book that will be helpful to so many young people growing up and I only wish it had been around when I was going through puberty myself!

I really do recommend this one highly and I’ll be looking out for more of this author’s work!

not so pure and simple


Does this sound like the kind of book you’d enjoy? Let me know in the comments if you like the sound of it! xsignature (2)