ARC Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus

One Of Us Is LyingOne Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

Publication Date: 1st June 2017

Completely addictive and enjoyable read. I couldn’t resist reading almost straight away and once I started I couldn’t put it down.

Before I write anything else I should say that I’m a huge big massive fan of The Breakfast Club, it’s one of my all time favourite films. When I read the blurb for this my mind instantly thought “YES!!!!” it’s the Breakfast Club with a bit of murder mystery thrown in…. and it kind of is.

It begins with five teenagers, Addy, Nate, Bronwyn, Cooper and Simon ending up in detention together. Bronwyn is the nerdy one who gets good grades and never does anything wrong, Nate is the bad boy with a reputation for dealing drugs and the troubled home life, Cooper is the jock and Addy is the superficial popular girl. While they couldn’t be more different they all know where they fit in the school hierarchy and have their own friends, all except Simon. Simon’s the outsider who runs the school gossip app and knows everyone’s secrets. He’s more feared than popular. By the end of detention though, Simon’s dead and Addy, Nate, Bronwyn and Cooper are the main suspects.

I liked this story a lot. It has all of the elements of The Breakfast Club that I loved, the kids from different worlds and backgrounds being forced together and initially clashing before discovering that they might have more in common than they thought, but it brings it right up to date. Added to that it has a great murder mystery that keeps you guessing.

I have to admit I had an idea from the beginning who was behind it all but it was still a really enjoyable read that had enough twists and turns to keep me questioning my theory and turning those pages.

The characters are a little stereotyped but this is a deliberate part of the plot and I still found myself liking them a lot, particularly as they develop over the course of the story. Even those I wasn’t too sure about kind of grew on me by the end.

The narrative is told in alternating chapters from each of the four and it really gives you a great sense of them. I’m not always a fan of multiple pov’s but it works very well here although when you know each characters thoughts it does give an indication of who did what (or does it??).

The writing is excellent and for a debut novel it’s pretty impressive. The pacing is spot on and I loved the dialogue between the characters. The author also manages to sneak in some difficult teen issues but does it in a very natural way that gives positive messages in a non preachy way which is always good.

Overall, it’s a great story that I’d recommend and I’ll be looking forward to the authors next book.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own. One of Us is Lying is due for publication on the 1st June.

OK I can’t resist a Breakfast Club gif

Book Review: Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse

SweetpeaSweetpea by C.J. Skuse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Liked this a lot. It’s a cross between Bridget Jones Diary and Dexter. Hilariously funny at one moment and rather gruesome the next. I am slightly concerned with how often I agreed with main character Rhiannon’s thoughts but so far I haven’t actually killed anyone so I’m not quite at psychopath yet.

Definitely a story I’d recommend to anyone with a black sense of humor.

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Review: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

The Girl BeforeThe Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Enjoyable story with some aspects that were fascinating but I didn’t connect to any of the characters and as a result the whole thing left me a little bit cold.

It’s well written however with plenty of twists and turns and reminded me a lot of The Girl on the Train. I think this is a book a lot of people will really love. It just unfortunately didn’t quite work for me.

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ARC Review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

The BreakdownThe Breakdown by B.A. Paris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unputdownable. I can’t remember the last time I read a book this quickly.

Fast paced and gripping, once I started reading I couldn’t stop. I will admit to a little bit of frustration with the main character and having a fair idea how it would all end but I really enjoyed it and got completely swept up in the story.


Synopsis

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…


Review

This was actually my first book by this author but I don’t think it’ll be my last. I’d heard a lot of good things about her previous book, Behind Closed Doors, but I hadn’t yet managed to get around to reading it (so many books so little time). I have to say despite some wariness due to the level of hype around it this didn’t disappoint. I wouldn’t rate it as an all time favourite, or even a particularly stand out read but it’s fast paced, exciting and addictive reading.

The story which centers primarily around someone seemingly losing their mind is fascinating to read and as it’s all told from their pov you can feel their frustration and confusion. While this was the highlight of the story however, it was also it’s biggest flaw for me. I hate to say it but I just really didn’t like main character Cass. Not that there was anything particularly bad about her, she was just a bit wet. She’s so passive and emotional in the story I ended up getting very frustrated with her. If I could have reached into the pages, given her a shake and told her to get a grip I would have. I felt like she over reacted a lot of the time and didn’t really take any action or make decisions. I wanted to see her stand up for herself and take control, although I suspect there wouldn’t have been much of a story if she had.

With the focus very much on Cass and her downward spiral, there aren’t many secondary characters which for me (with the memory of a goldfish) is a good thing. New husband Mathew, and best friend Rachel are probably the only ones who have a substantial part to play and even at that they’re viewed through Cass’s eyes so it’s difficult to work out their true motivations and character. Something which works very well in keeping you guessing.

Despite a few niggles therefore, I did really enjoy the story. I flew through the whole thing in a few hours desperate to know whether Cass was losing her mind or if the murderer was out to get her.

The writing and pacing is pretty much spot on and the author does know how to create tension and a truly gripping story. I did think the ending was a little too quick and easy but there was a little surprise that I wasn’t expecting.

Overall a good read and definitely a book I’d recommend if you like a fast paced thriller.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own. The Breakdown is due for release on 9th February in the UK

Review: Behind her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Behind Her EyesBehind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first book by Sarah Pinborough but I don’t think it’ll be my last.

I can be a bit hit or miss with psychological thrillers but this one had me hooked from the very first page until the very end.

It’s not a fast paced read (and there’s not a huge amount of action) but it’s an intriguing and twisty story with a main character I actually kind of liked, something which is too rare at the moment in this type of book.Read More »