Book Review: Sadie – Courtney Summers

When Sadie’s younger sister Mattie is found dead, her world is shattered. After spending the last 13 years raising her the only thing on her mind is revenge. She’s going to hunt down her sisters killer and he’s next. Told through the perspective of Sadie herself and a Podcast host trying to solve the mystery of Mattie’s death and Sadie’s own disappearance.

This is a novel that has taken the book world by storm I have seen it over countless blogs, Bookstagram, Booktube (yeah, I really like books). I finally found a copy in London and had to buy it to see what all the fuss was about. It’s been a really long time since I’ve read a good YA suspense novel so why not?

I really enjoyed the way in which the novel was set out, switching between Sadie herself and Podcaster Matt gave an extra something to it. I’ve also been told that Macmillen recorded an actual podcast to go along with the book. From the two perspectives, you get to learn a lot more about Sadie and her life without it being forced on you. I don’t know if this would work time and time again, however, in this instance it did.

It was a real page-turner, I couldn’t put it down. When I had that book in my hand I was racing through with questions. What happened to Mattie? Is Sadie going to find the killer? Does Sadie know what she’s getting herself into here? I needed to know what was happening and for the majority of the novel, I felt like this.

There were some points within the novel that I felt things were just a little too coincidental and some of the twists and turns were a little predictable. That said, I really do understand how it got the attention it did. This is a fast-paced novel that has an interesting way of telling a story. For that reason, I really do think it is worth a look if this sounds interesting to you.

I feel that this is a 3.5 star read. I really, really, wanted to love it as much as every else has but the end just ruined it for me. Without spoilers, I just felt like it could have ended better. I still had so many questions and felt a little irritated by it. I wish I could say more but I don’t want to spoil it for you!

Book Tour – Tales of Ramion by Frank Hinks

Ramion. A magical place full of creatures, colour and stories that will excite your imagination.

When I was contacted and asked if I’d like to read these books I jumped at the chance. Now, I might not be the target audience exactly. No, I am not a child and I don’t have any myself BUT that only amplifies the magic of these books. I’m a 24 year old woman that was completely and utterly drawn in.

For this tour, I was sent 2 of the 4 books in the series The Dream Thief and Creatures of the Forrest. am I going to have to go and buy the other two? You bet I will be!

Firstly I read The Dream Thief where three young boys, Julius, Alexander and Benjimin and their cast Snuggles (who is also a Dream Lord) go on a quest to save their mothers dream. For me, this was reminiscent of a mix between the types of stories I read growing  by Roald Dahl and the magic world of Alice in Wonderland.

The story itself had a good balance of adventure and heart, which I think we all need more of in modern times! What is more impressive is that author Frank Hinks, created these stories from tales he would tell his own three sons.

Next up was Creatures of the Forest this time encountering more of the creatures that inhabit Ramion such as Venomous Vampires, Scary Scots and Mystic Mummies! This time, however, they are accompanied by Scrooey-Looey the rabbit.

This was a little darker I think, but in a way that children would find cool rather than terrifying. The magic and mischief these boys get up to would be a fantastic story for children and adults alike!

I will be honest and say that, initially, the drawing style wasn’t to my taste, it felt a bit messy. That said, as I carried on reading it grew on me and seemed to match the style of the way the stories were told, a little different and a little wild!

I absolutely adored these books and cannot wait to read the next two! I loved them so much I plan on getting them for my Godchildren as they get a little older…mostly because I don’t want to lend out my copies!

Thank you to Frank Hinks, Perronet Press and Midas PR for this opportunity in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G Thompson

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Two girls are kidnapped, after six years Amy returns to her mother’s doorstep. What happened to her best friend and cousin, Dee? Is she alive? And why won’t Amy tell anyone what happened in those six years?

I have no doubt this was a difficult novel to write because it is an uncomfortable read. The girls are kidnapped and as you can imagine it’s not sweetness and light. There is kidnap, violence and abuse. The nightmare that 16-year-old Amy has endured hasn’t ended. She must keep quiet or those she loves most will suffer.

Wow, this novel is dark but incredibly gripping. I picked this up at YALC earlier in the year and it did not disappoint. There’s an element of mystery, thriller and heartbreak. This is a page turner, I read this within 24 hours and between that, I slept and went to see a musical so that should give you an inclination of how much of a pageturner it was.

It was also interesting to see the perspective of someone who is still bound by their captor and not in a traditional sense. The character of Amy is incredibly complex and this shows throughout the novel. The idea of someone returning to the world after losing the majority of their childhood is interesting, particularly how they navigate the outside world.

I gave this 4 stars. It feels wrong to say I enjoyed it? This is, of course, a tough subject matter but the novel is incredibly well written. The pacing is perfect for the novel and there is the right amount of information and mystery. That said it didn’t get the full 5 stars because there were certain points I didn’t feel were completely realistic to the situation such as lack of medical. I did enjoy it but there were some things I’d like to have seen. Either way, I’d highly recommend this novel.

Book Review: One of us is lying – Karen M McManus

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The Brain. The Beauty. The Criminal. The Athlete. The Outcast. A Murder. 

Six students enter detention, all claiming that they are innocent of what lead them there. What appears to be a seemingly normal day ends in murder, suspicion and a bond that can never be broken.

Now, before I start, does that line remind you of anything, anything in particular? If you’re a fan of anything eighties related, like me, it will. Yes, part of the draw for me was that this was reminiscent of The Breakfast Club, one of my favourites. I was lucky enough to be approved by the publishers to get this as an early release and I’m glad I did.

The novel is very much aware of the fact it has all the ingredients for a YA cliché and gets that out of the way pretty early. Each chapter is from the perspective of one of the group, alternating and showing varying perspectives. I did feel, towards the end, that the story focused more on two particular characters and evolved more into their story, which wasn’t a bad thing but I wanted more info on all of them rather than just two.

In terms of the actual mystery itself, I actually found it really clever when it was all pieced together and didn’t see it coming. Obviously, I’m not going to spoil it for you, what kind of reviewer would I be?! I’m not going to lie there were some elements that I worked out before they happened but they were done in such a way that I enjoyed reading them.

Overall, I gave this four stars. I actually read it within a mere few hours, it has a perfect pace and interesting plot. I was genuinely invested in the characters and just wanted to know who the murder was, who was lying? There were some points were I felt it was a little close to The Breakfast Club, however, I’d definitely recommend this novel.

Review by Chloe Metzger

Book Review: The One – John Marrs

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If you could meet your perfect DNA match, why wouldn’t you do it?

A new relationship revolution is happening. After a gene is discovered to match you to ‘the one’ thousands find unimaginable happiness with the person they’re meant to be with, but the path of true love never runs smooth.

Now, personally, I just found the idea of this super creepy, which instantly makes it a novel I want to read. The idea that there is one person who shares a DNA match, in my head it made you sound like you were related. Nevertheless, it is a great idea for a novel. This is what made me originally request a copy for review. I’m always hopeful for a good thriller.

I really wanted to enjoy this novel, and I did to a point. There are a lot of twists and turns, quite a few I didn’t see coming and that made the novel move faster. It also did a great job of making you want to read on, for the last quarter I needed to finish it and find out what happened. I did care more about what happened to some characters more than others.

The main gripe I had with this is that there were just too many characters and it wasn’t until I was more than halfway through that I could remember who was with who and what their backstory was. There was so much going on it almost felt like a collection of short stories, which maybe it should have been. It seemed like because there were so many characters, by the end, the endings became a little disappointing and some big holes appeared.

Marrs clearly has a talent for suspense and writing violence, that was one of the most well crafted parts of the novel I believe. Each character had been given their own flair, however, it was slightly disappointing that I did see some stereotypes playing out which was quite frustrating because it didn’t really fit with the rest of the novel.

I gave The One 3 stars. Overall this was a good read but ultimately the ending just really let it down for me. That said I would still recommend it but make sure you have time to concentrate because it does get confusing and can be hard to remember exactly that is going on. I would still like to read some of Marr’s other work as he clearly has a talent for writing.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to give an honest review.

Book Review: One Step Too Far – Tina Seskis

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‘They’ll be better off without me’ 

Heartbroken and pushed to her limit Emily makes a decision that many of us only dream of, she walks out of her life.

Have you ever looked at the departures board at a train station and just thought Why don’t I just go, leave all of this behind me and just leave? The answer? You have. You can lie to yourself all you want but each and every one of us at some point have just wanted to leave and start a fresh. At the start of the novel we don’t understand Emily’s motives but we are deeply aware something has gone wrong. Leaving with the memories of her husband and son Emily gets on a train to London and attempts not to look back. As she quickly learns the ways of a London runaway Emily, now reinvented as Cat, tries desperately to shake off her past although it always comes back to haunt her…

The novel is intertwined between a mix of characters, Emily, Cat, Ben, Caroline, Frances and Angel to name a few. While this makes One Step Too Far interesting and puts together the pieces of the puzzle it is also a little confusing at times. You generally know  who is speaking but there are always questions, where are they? What is the time period that this part is set in?  For example the novel starts from Emily’s perspective and it appears to be pretty straight forward, we are then transported to the birth of twin girls and a mother who simply does not have enough love for two. That quick change is very important to the novel later on but doesn’t seem to make much sense initially. I’m quite used to novels like this however I think that for some readers this may become pretty complicated. I don’t say this lightly, even I had to go back sometimes and re read to make sure I actually understood what was going on. There were some important things towards the end that I missed and others that didn’t make sense to me until a much later point, although I do believe this was Seskis’ intention.  This is true of the ending of the novel, about 90% of the way though I got very confused and a little frustrated because of a significant change. As my regular readers know I don’t like spoiling things for you so I can’t reveal why I was so irritated at one point.

Despite any irritation I felt towards the end (although may I add this was resolved by the last page), the character of Emily/Cat fascinated me. I feel that Seskis has tapped into a gold mine after creating this plot in the sense that anyone can relate to Emily. She relates to our wildest desires of simply uprooting and getting away with it. I’m not saying I want to just dispensary but everyone’s had days where they wish they could reinvent themselves or just start over. That said I feel that Emily was made into a real person, it’s impossible to like her all the time. I sat with book in hand feeling so many emotions, I smiled at the happy times, I despaired at her lowest, I absolutely loathed her at times, I laughed occasionally and I gasped as I finally got to her darkest secret (although I’ll admit I was a little confused too).

I would generally recommend this novel to friends as I do think it is a good read, that said I do feel that sometimes there are too many twists and turns (especially at the end). I’ll give the novel 3 stars because it reflects my feelings of being right in the middle. I do like the plot and the characters but at the same time I struggled at times with quite important aspects and even now after finishing feel I may need to go back and re read some parts. I also felt that the ending kind of took away from some of the realism of the novel as a whole, however I would still recommend this to a friend as a good read.

Book Review: Before We Met – Lucie Whitehouse

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While Hannah waits for her husband’s flight to come in, she is none the wiser that her life is about to change. What begins as Mark missing his flight steadily spirals into something much more. As Hannah begins to investigate it appears that she has indeed become too complacent in the role of dutiful wife. As she goes deeper she starts to wonder how much can you really know about a person before you met them?

I’d heard great things about this novel, it had been compared to others such as Before I Go To Sleep. If it had such rave reviews and a hint of mystery surely I would absolutely love and devour it within a few hours? Well one part was true, I did read it within two days but found myself struggling along for at least the first few chapters. I wanted Hannah to take back the independence and the fiery attitude of a young girl who’s survived New York alone! Come on Hannah, where are you? I found her to be easily influenced and not what I would expect from the little I knew about her character.

As other reviews have mentioned Whitehouse is very keen on description, however, the majority of the time it just seemed a little bit like cotton wool. I felt like the story was just being fluffed up by endless description when I was hungrily pawing through trying to find more action within the novel and more depth to Hannah’s character. It was almost as if she was wrapped up in so much description that we couldn’t build a relationship with her. Also, the character of Mark left a lot to the imagination. I wanted to know more about him, about what kind of a man he is it all seemed a little too positive and too innocent for my liking for a large part of the novel.

Overall I’ll admit this wasn’t one of my favourite novels. I found myself rushing to the end only to be quite disappointed and in my view the majority of moments where there could have been gripping suspense were glossed over quite easily and left something lacking within the novel. I’m going to give it three stars *** I generally have mixed feelings. I doubt I would read it again but if you’re not looking for something that will keep you up all night, but still want a little bit of mystery then this novel might be for you. Sadly it wasn’t my cup of tea.