ARC Review: An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

An Unwanted Guest
An Unwanted Guest
by Shari Lapena

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

An edge of the seat who dunnit that’s reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. It kept me guessing until the very end and had just the right amount of creepiness and tension to keep me reading late into the night.


THE BLURB

We can’t choose the strangers we meet.

As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell’s Inn, they’re all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance.

Usually we can avoid the people who make us nervous, make us afraid.

With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in – or out. And then the first body is found . . . and the horrifying truth comes to light. There’s a killer among them – and nowhere to run.

Until we find ourselves in a situation we can’t escape. Trapped.


MY REVIEW

Oooh I liked this. A story with a group of strangers trapped together, isolated from the outside world and a killer on the loose is always my idea of a great read and Lapena does a brilliant job with it. It’s packed full of tension, has some genuinely creepy moments (which I probably shouldn’t have read while on my own on a dark and stormy night) and there are enough twists and reveals to keep you guessing till the very end.

It’s a classic who dunnit that reminded me a lot of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None but brought right up to date. I do love a good who dunnit and I had so much fun trying to figure out which of the guests (or staff) was the murderer and what their motive could be (or if in fact there was someone else behind it all). There are lots of hints and clues along the way but with lots of red herrings thrown in and a mix of characters who all seem to have some kind of secret it’s almost impossible to figure out. I did have an inkling but considering I guessed pretty much everyone at some point or another I don’t think I can really say I had it sussed.

The story is told from the pov of almost every one of the characters which I have to admit I’m not sure was a wise decision in this story. I do like how it showed the reader the events from various different perspectives and helped you to get to know each of them better but I think the author made her job of keeping it a mystery harder than it needed to be.

With the necessarily fast paced nature of the story there’s not a lot of depth given to the characters and I can’t say I really connected with any of them but it didn’t spoil any of my enjoyment of the story which had me completely gripped until the very end. There are quite a good mix of different personalities and while some are a little stereotyped and some are not very nice I did love watching them under pressure and trying to guess who would do something stupid, who would get themselves killed and who would be the killer.

I’m obviously not going to say how it does end or who the killer is but I will say that I felt a little bit disappointed in the big reveal. It’s not that it wasn’t good or that I disagreed just that with the build up I was expecting something more. It was over a little too quickly for me.

The writing throughout however is wonderful and the author does create a very tense and atmospheric setting. I loved the sense of isolation, the bleakness and threatening nature of the environment and the very primal fear it creates in both the characters and the reader. I read a lot of it late at night and can honestly say it was giving me the creeps. I wanted to put it down and hide under the covers but my need to find out what happened next overrode this.

There were a couple of sections, mostly giving characters backstories which were a little clunky but otherwise it’s pitched just right.

This was an edge of the seat (or hide under the covers) read that I found incredibly difficult to put down. Would definitely recommend to anyone who loves a good who dunnit in a creepy setting.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance reader copy. As always all thoughts are my own.

An Unwanted Guest will be out on the 26th July

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WWW Wednesday: 18th July 2018

The WWW Wednesday meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingIn Bloom

I started reading In Bloom by C.J. Skuse on Monday but haven’t made a lot of progress as I haven’t had much reading time. Skuse is one of my fave authors and I’ve been looking forward to this one as it’s the sequel to Sweetpea which I read and very much enjoyed last year. Hopefully I’ll manage to find a bit more time to really get into it.

As well as In Bloom I’m still dipping in and out of Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig and I also picked up Why We Sleep by Matthew P. Walker from the library and have been reading bits of it too. Both are fascinating reads but I do tend to be a little slower with non fiction.


Recently FinishedThe Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)

Technically I finished The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang last week but as I had it still sitting in my currently reading I think it’s fine to put it here this week (plus this section’s looking a bit thin). It also gives me another chance to talk about how much I loved this gender switched version of Pretty Woman (I really need to write a proper review at some point). It’s just funny, sweet, very enlightening and also one of those books that make you smile. It’s not perfect but I found the very few flaws easy to overlook.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)The other book finished this week was The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. I’m going to see Becky Chambers on the 24th so thought it was probably a good idea to read at least one of her books before then 🙂 I have a general wariness of all things sci fi but I ended up absolutely loving this. It reminded me a bit of my fave sci fi TV shows Firefly or Star Trek as it follows a mixed species crew as they make their way across the galaxy on a job. They have a few incidents along the way but I felt this book was less about the story and more about the characters.


Reading Next

I kind of want to keep going with the Wayfarers series so I think I’ll probably be picking up A Closed and Common Orbit next, I just need to buy it first. I also need to make a start on The Falconer by Elizabeth May and To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo as there’s another author event I’m going to on the 25th where both authors are appearing.

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2)To Kill a KingdomThe Falconer (The Falconer, #1)

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤

Teaser Tuesday: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker. If you want to join in grab your current read, flick to a random page, select two sentences (without spoilers) and share them in a blog post or in the comments of The Purple Booker.


This week my teaser comes from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. I finished this late yesterday and very much enjoyed it. I often struggle with sci fi but loved this story of a mixed species crew on a long haul trip. There’s not a huge amount of story but this is more than made up for with some wonderfully different and extremely likeable characters.


My Teaser

The truth is, Rosemary, that you are capable of anything. Good or bad. You always have been, and you always will be. Given the right push, you, too, could do horrible things. That darkness exists within all of us.

~ pg266 The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers


BlurbThe Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

Summer TBR Wipeout – Update (1)

Doesn’t time fly when you’re taking part in a reading challenge 🙂 It seems like only yesterday I posted my introductory post for Candid Cover’s Summer TBR Wipeout  but it seems we’re already more than two weeks into the 7 week challenge so it’s time for a progress update.

Wipeout


Read / Currently Reading

Time does seem to have gotten away from me a bit so I haven’t finished as many books as I’d hoped by this stage (note to self: don’t sign up for a reading challenge when you’re trying to sell & buy a house) but on the positive side I have at least managed to stick to the list. The following books I’ve either finished or have made a good start on.

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)The End We Start FromReasons to Stay AliveThe Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

  • Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence4.75 Stars – I absolutely loved this sequel to Red Sister. There’s lots of action, a few unexpected twists and some fantastic character development. I especially love the relationships between the characters in this story, they’re just wonderful. Not sure what’s holding me back from giving it the full five stars but there’s something I can’t quite put my finger on (maybe just that the author keeps killing off my fave characters or that I’m going to have to wait almost a year for the next book even though it’s already written)
  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang4.5 Stars – A funny and wonderfully sweet romance with a main character who has autism. It’s kind of a gender switched Pretty Woman with our MC hiring an escort to teach her how to be in a relationship. I loved both leads and the relationship between them but did get a little frustrated with the lack of communication at times. For a debut though it’s pretty impressive and I certainly learned a lot about autism.
  • The End We Start From by Megan Hunter4 Stars – This was a very short but completely unique read about a woman trying to keep herself and her newborn baby alive when the southern parts of the UK flood. It has a very quirky style to it, it’s very much inside the head of the MC, with very little in the way of descriptions, detail or dialogue (the other characters are referred to by their initials only) but there’s something about it that made it difficult to put down.
  • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers In Progress – I’m currently around half way through as I’m writing this post and really enjoying this story of a mixed species spaceship crew making a long and dangerous journey. The characters are incredibly likeable and even though there’s not much in the way of story it’s pretty addictive reading.
  • Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig – In Progress – I started this about a week ago and am currently about a quarter of the way through. Haig’s a great writer but this real story of his battle against depression and anxiety is a challenging read for me so I’m dipping in and out.

Books Added/Removed

I know it’s not been long but yep, I think I need to switch some books around on the list.

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2)The PowerZenith (The Androma Saga #1)Surprise Me

  • A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2) by Becky ChambersAdded – Given I’m going to see Becky Chambers on the 24th July for the launch of the third book in the Wayfarers series I think it’s probably a good idea for me to read the second book. Plus I’m really enjoying the first book 🙂
  • The Power by Naomi AldermanRemoved – I was planning on reading this as part of a buddy read starting today but as I’m midway through another couple of books and have quite a few others to read in the next 9 days I don’t think I’ll have time. It’s staying on my TBR but probably won’t be read as part of this challenge.
  • Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings Removed – The negative reviews for this are really putting me off reading it so with all of the other books on my TBR I’m really excited about I’m going to knock it off the list. I may change my mind if loads of people tell me it’s brilliant but that seems unlikely.
  • Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella – Added – I meant to include this in my original list but felt like the 21 books I already had on it were more than enough. Kinsella is however one of my fave authors and I managed to snag a copy from the library so I’ll definitely be reading this at some point. And I need a bit more romance on this list 😉

So that’s my progress to date, it’s actually kind of freaking me out that I haven’t read more (I blame the weather). Hopefully I’ll have made a bit more progress by my next update around the end of the month.

Have you read any of the books on the list? What did you think of them? Have I made the right decisions to drop a couple off the list or would you recommend I keep them on there? Feel free to leave comments and links to your summer TBR below.

Happy reading everyone ❤

WWW Wednesday: 11th July 2018

The WWW Wednesday meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingReasons to Stay Alive

I started reading Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig at the weekend and am making fairly steady progress with it. As it’s the true story of how Haig managed to get his depression and anxiety under control, I’ve been a bit wary about reading it in case it triggers my anxiety (sometimes just thinking about a panic attack can cause one for me). I’ve therefore just been reading a chapter or two at a time before switching to fiction. It is very good though and I’m loving both how open and honest Haig is and the way he works facts and science in throughout.

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)As I’ve only been dipping in and out of Reasons To Stay Alive I’ve also been reading The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. It’s kind of a gender switched version of Pretty Woman where main character Stella hires a male escort to help her figure out how to do a relationship as she is autistic. I have to confess I finished this late last night as I loved it so much I couldn’t put it down. The relationship between Stella and Michael was just the sweetest thing ever.


Recently Finished

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)

Another slower reading week as I’ve been trying to get my flat cleared so I can put it on the market. I did however manage to finish a couple of books, the first of which was Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence and OMG I loved this book. It’s the second in the trilogy but there’s definitely no middle book syndrome going on as I thought it was so much better than Red Sister. It’s absolutely packed with action and so many twists and turns but what I loved the most is the way it moved the story forward. There is so much character development and a few of the minor characters are really given the chance to shine.

The End We Start FromThe second book finished this week was The End We Start From by Megan Hunter. I don’t know what it was about this book but ever since I heard about it I wanted to read it, despite seeing some rather mixed reviews. At not much over 100 pages it is a very quick read and there isn’t much in the way of details or description but it still somehow manages to make a big impact. The prose is very lyrical and just beautiful to read, even if it’s so sparse it becomes frustrating at times trying to work out what’s going on in the wider world.


Reading Next

Despite a lot of temptation in the form of Ilona Andrews new book I’m trying really hard to stick to my Summer TBR. I have a buddy read of The Power starting on the 15th so that will definitely be up soon. I also have a couple of author events in a couple of weeks, the first being Becky Chambers and the other a YA fantasy panel discussion, so I should probably read some of their books. I read a few pages of The Falconer at the weekend so think it’ll be up first followed by The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)The PowerThe Falconer (The Falconer, #1)

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤

Teaser Tuesday – Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker. If you want to join in grab your current read, flick to a random page, select two sentences (without spoilers) and share them in a blog post or in the comments of The Purple Booker.


This week my teaser comes from Grey Sister, the second book in Mark Lawrence’s Book of the Ancestor trilogy. I finished this at the end of last week and absolutely loved it. So much happened in it and that ending!!!! I honestly don’t know how I’m going to manage the wait for the final book.


My Teaser

Quite how she could have been there unseen Nona couldn’t fathom. True, her range coat was bark-patterned, but you couldn’t hold a feather over your head and expect people to believe you were a hen.

~ 39% Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence


BlurbGrey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)

(Warning this may include some very mild spoilers for Red Sister)

In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.

All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she has sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

And in all this only one thing is certain.
.
There will be blood.

WWW Wednesday: 4th July 2018

The WWW Wednesday meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingGrey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)

I started reading Grey Sister, the second book in Mark Lawrence’s Book of the Ancestor series on Monday morning and am currently around quarter of the way through. Not sure if it’s because a lot of the world building and character intro’s are out of the way but I’ve found this one so much easier to get into than the previous book. I also really love that the author had a few pages before the start of the book recapping what happened. I only finished Red Sister about a week or so ago but I still found it helped me a lot. Very excited to see where this story is going to go but I’m a little worried I’m going to have a wait for the third and final book.


Recently Finished

Have to admit it’s been a bit of a slow reading week for me as a result of things getting busier at work, house hunting and hot weather causing lots of travel problems. I did however manage to finish a couple of short books, the first of which was  If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura. This just looked like such a quirky and cute read and it’s so rare to find books translated from Japanese (or maybe that’s just me) that I couldn’t resist even though it’s not out till September. I will admit that I wasn’t sure about it at the start, and I think there may be some issues with the translation, but by the end it had sucked me in completely and left me a big blubbering mess.Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons, #2)

Given the emotional trauma of this book (combined with not being able to get my kindle working) I went for more of a popcorn type read with Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu which I’d gotten from the library ages ago. This was my first book by Lu and while it didn’t exactly wow me, it was an okay-ish read that passed some time and didn’t require much thinking (or any emotional trauma). Probably a good palate cleanser but I have to admit it didn’t make me want to rush out and read more of Lu’s books.


Reading Next

I posted my Summer TBR at the weekend so I’m going to try and stick to it for the moment. I think Grey Sister is probably going to take me a bit of time to finish but if I do I think next up will be The End We Start From by Megan Hunter followed by The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden, both of which I got from the library. Or I may end up going for The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The End We Start FromThe Girl in The Tower (Winternight Trilogy, #2)The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤