Book Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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Read between: 14th- 20th October
Format: ebook
Published: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: Firstly, thank you to Netgalley and the author for letting me read this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Five students end up in detention- then one of them dies. Tragic accident or deliberate? Whatever happened, the other four become murder suspects and their lives change dramatically.

To make it worse, the boy who died, Simon, was going to post incriminating gossip about all four of them on his app, gossip that could effect their personal lives. It gives them motive, so- did one of them actually do it or is it all a misunderstanding of an accident?

The author is really good at building suspense from the moment Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper become persons of interest in Simon’s death. Obviously, they all had secrets they wanted to hide, and Simon knew about them. It would make a lot of sense that one of them could have done it.

However, the more I read, the more I found it difficult to pin it onto one of them, even if Nate did have a criminal record. It would point towards one of them, and then the plot would change direction and I’d be unsure again!

There are lots of twists in the story, especially the reveal that one of the characters is gay- but it’s used negatively, seen as something scandalous and used against him. I like that the author decided to include LGBTQ+ representation, but she could have done it a little better I feel. There is also representation of depression that could be seen as negative representation so take this book with a pinch of salt if you decide to read it.

The representation of depression is very important to the story however.

When it came to the outcome of the story, even though the author did use it as Simon’s way to entertain people after he’d gone, the idea of his depression didn’t make a whole lot of sense. However, I admit that I didn’t see the ending coming.

At first it didn’t make any sense, but when I thought about it, it was actually really obvious.

It was a good book, and I did enjoy it, despite the slightly controversial and problematic scenes.

3/5 stars.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: Thread of Hope by Jeff Selby

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Read between: 30th September- 7th October
Format: ebook
Genre: Mystery
Published: December 30th, 2011
Synopsis: If someone took your child, how soon would you stop looking for her? If someone accused your best friend of a terrible crime, when would you stop defending him?

Seven years after Joe Tyler’s daughter Elizabeth was abducted, he hasn’t stopped looking for answers, and he hasn’t forgotten the friend who stood by him as he lost his wife, his home, and his career in his search. Now he’s been brought back to San Diego by the news that this friend has been arrested for beating up a teenage girl—a girl not much older than Elizabeth would be now.
Joe is convinced Chuck Winslow is innocent, but Chuck is in a coma and can’t explain what happened. And the more Joe hears about what Chuck’s been up to in the years he’s been gone, the less Joe recognizes his old friend. To find out the truth, he will have to face his ex-wife, his former bosses, and a hometown full of wealth, lies, and illicit privilege. When Chuck’s accuser goes missing, Joe must decide where his loyalties truly lie.

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: I got this book for free in an email from the author, so thanks Jeff!

Joe Tyler hasn’t been to Conorado since his daughter, Elizabeth, went missing- but now he’s back to help his friend. He wants to find out who beat Chuck up- and if the rumours that he beat up a teenage girl are true- because that’s not the Chuck he knows!

I enjoyed this novel- Joe trying to solve the case whilst haunted by the past really gave him character. Although, I admit that the scene where he punched a teenage boy hard in the face wasn’t exactly his beast quality- you don’t really want to advocate violence in an abuse case- but it was for a good reason.

There’s secrets and lies amongst the teens of Conorado and Joe finds himself stuck in the middle of it all. There are some consequences and surprises- for me as a reader, and for Joe!

It’s very well written- and although it started off show as the story progressed it got better and I got more involved in the story. I liked how we got Joe’s backstory too- I understood how he felt.

Another great element that I liked about the novel is that I didn’t predict the outcome which is good writing 🙂

I’m very interested in reading the sequel- I want to know if Joe is going to find his daughter!

3/5 stars.
There were some problematic scenes but it’s a good read!

Thanks for reading.
~Katie

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Book Review: Breakthrough by Michael C. Grumley

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Read between: 21st-29th September
Format: ebook
Published: 6th March, 2013
Synopsis: ONE OF THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS IN HUMAN HISTORY.
A SECRET THAT WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE FOUND.
AND A CRISIS THAT CANNOT BE STOPPED.

Deep in the Caribbean Sea, a nuclear submarine is forced to suddenly abort its mission under mysterious circumstances. Strange facts begin to emerge that lead naval investigator, John Clay, to a small group of marine biologists who are quietly on the verge of making history.

With the help of a powerful computer system, Alison Shaw and her team are preparing to translate the first two-way conversation with the planet’s second smartest species. But the team discovers much more from their dolphins than they ever expected when a secret object is revealed on the ocean floor. One that was never supposed to be found.

Alison was sure she would never trust the military again. However, when an unknown group immediately becomes interested in her work, Alison realizes John Clay may be the only person she can trust. Together they must piece together a dangerous puzzle, and the most frightening piece, is the trembling in Antarctica.

To make matters worse, someone from the inside is trying to stop them. Now time is running out…and our understanding of the world is about to change forever.

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: The concept of this book is great- the main premise follows a bunch of aquarium works using technology to enable them to communicate with Dirk and Sally- the aquariums resident dolphins! That had to be my favourite part because I love dolphins and it really goes to show how intelligent they are!

I love the fact they had their own vocabulary.

Strange things start to happen- a Navy submarine suddenly veers off course- and then another one mysteriously disappears. On top of that, there’s an Earthquake in Antarctica, and what is with the strange glowing ring on the bottom of the ocean floor?

Is it an experiment? A military thing? Or something extra terrestrial?

As I said, it’s a very interesting concept to mix science, nature, extraterrestrial and naval genres all together but it works and its done extremely well!

The dolphins are a big part of the novel- they’re used on naval mission and there were moments when during these missions I was left in so much suspense and had to keep reading- I really didn’t want anything bad to happen to Dirk or Sally!

I just loved the dolphins so much ❤

However, I’m not sure if the way the Navy was written is satirical or not but there were times when I got really angry about how selfish they were with their decision making! Despite that, I did grow to like a couple of the characters who worked for the Navy, because in the end they weren’t as bad as some of their colleagues. They had morals.

There was so much going on, spread across different scenarios but it wasn’t overwhelming. It’s a great piece of sci-fi and I definitely enjoyed it. It’s the first in a series so who knows if I’ll continue?

3/5 stars!
Well worth the read!

Thanks for reading
~Katie
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Book Review: The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

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Previously read by the same author:
The Queen’s Fool.
The Virgin’s Lover.
The Other Queen.
The Lady of the Rivers.
The White Queen
The Red Queen
The Kingmaker’s Daughter

Read between: 15th- 21st September
Format: Paperback
Published: 27th February, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis: When Henry Tudor picks up the crown of England from the mud of Bosworth field, he knows he must marry the princess of the enemy house—Elizabeth of York—to unify a country divided by war for nearly two decades.

But his bride is still in love with his slain enemy, Richard III—and her mother and half of England dream of a missing heir, sent into the unknown by the White Queen. While the new monarchy can win power, it cannot win hearts in an England that plots for the triumphant return of the House of York.

Henry’s greatest fear is that somewhere a prince is waiting to invade and reclaim the throne. When a young man who would be king leads his army and invades England, Elizabeth has to choose between the new husband she is coming to love and the boy who claims to be her beloved lost brother: the rose of York come home at last.
Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: Elizabeth of York is the eldest daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, who fell in love with her uncle, but after he is killed at Bosworth, she marries the victor, Henry Tudor- now King Henry VII of England.

Elizabeth is wife of the king, queen in all but name, living under the watchful eye of her mother in law, Margaret Beaufort. She’s of York- married into the House of Lancaster, but still, she is seen as the enemy. Her husband doesn’t trust her, even though she has produced the first Tudor heir.

Why? All the mistrust is because a pretender is claiming to be her missing brother, Prince Richard (of the Princes in the Tower), and is asserting his right to the throne as the rightful King of England- and people actually believe him.

She gets caught up in war, betrayal, and loss- when her one advisor, her mother, passes away- but her life reflects that of her mother, because Elizabeth Woodville experienced much the same thing when she was Queen of England.

Unfortunatley, Elizabeth is on the wrong side in her husband’s eyes. Can she regain his trust?

I definitely enjoyed Elizabeth’s story and I could see some parallels between this novel and ‘The White Queen’. However, I did feel that Elizabeth was overshadowed quite a lot in her own story by Margaret and Henry- so in some places I felt sorry for her.

It was a good way to end the series (yes I know there are more books now) as it come full circle, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, and ending with her daughter. It also leads nicely into the Tudor series- as Elizabeth York was Henry VIII’s mother.

3/5 stars!
I really enjoyed it 🙂

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

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Previously read by the same author:

Read between: 7th- 11th September
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 405
Published: 14th April, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis: The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England.

Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

Rating: 3-5-stars

Review: This book follows Margaret Beaufort, heiress to the House of Lancaster (hence the Red Queen- red being the colour of the Lancaster rose) and her rise and fall in society and the royal court during the War of the Roses.

Margaret is very devout to her religion which probably helps her get through life considering she is married off at 12, and goes through a very brutal birth to her only child, Henry Tudor, before becoming a widow at 13. So- not a very happy start  to her life, especially at such a young age!

A big part of this book focuses on her hatred for Elizabeth Woodville and the rest of the Rivers family- mainly because she’s jealous (a trait I didn’t like). She wants her son, Henry, on the throne of England and will stop at nothing to make that happen.

This includes ordering the murder of the princes in the tower (which her husband ends up covering up to blame King Richard III!)

However, I really liked her character, even if she could be very jealous and childish- but as she got older, she got more ambitious. Everything she did, she did for her son and for herself.

The fact that this book crosses over with the events of ‘The White Queen’ made it a lot easier to follow. I already had an idea of the story, but this time it was from a different point of view.

Both the Red Queen and the White Queen are formidable women, so it’s easy to see why they don’t get on, but they do end up working with each other to try and remove Richard from the throne of England. Neither believe he belongs there.

I really enjoyed Margaret’s story- she had a touch childhood, she hardened, and then she became the woman that she wanted to be. Margaret Regina.

3.5/5 stars. I enjoyed the story but sometimes felt the character let herself down in her spouts of jealousy and anger.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3)

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Read between: 14th- 21st August
Format: ebook
Published: April 8th, 2014
Publisher: Little Brown
Synopsis: Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

Rating: Image result for four stars

Review: In the final installment of the series, angels have invaded Earth and taken over the Vatican, dead chimaera have been dug up, and a scientist, Eliza Jones, has a secret that she tried very hard to run from.

Although they’re on the eve of a war between species, Karou is busy resurrecting chimaera and using that skill to fool them into thinking Ziri is Thiago, so that they can trust him. And hint of mistrust and they could lose their army…

As I know Karou and Akiva pretty well by now, I actually preferred the side characters more in this story- especially Mik and Zuzana, who seemed to have grown in character since the first book- especially considering they’re out of their comfort zones- quite literally!

Despite the war going on, they still find time for each other.

It was also great to see Karou’s fake grandma, Esther again, although the outcome of her return definitely wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t see it coming and it was definitely a shock! Just goes to show that you don’t always know the people closest to you.

There was plenty going on to keep me reading, from the war to Akiva and Karou and their ‘will they? won’t they?’ relationship, but especially the revelation about Eliza, and her true genetics. If she hadn’t been dragged to examine the bodies of dead chimaera, and left her phone in unsafe hands (stupid Morgan Toth), maybe she could have kept her secret for longer.

I liked it though. It made her more important than just a background character.

I enjoyed the series! It didn’t end how I thought it was going to, I’m not complaining though- it worked. I still think the first book is my favourite though!

4/5 stars.
A great fantasy series, I’d recommend it!

Thanks reading
~Katie

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Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2)

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Read between: 11th- 14th August
Format: ebook
Published: November 16th, 2012
Publisher: Little Brown
Synopsis: Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: So…..funny story, my kindle has the books ordered wrong so I started reading the third one, and was pretty much done before I realised what I was reading didn’t make any sense….

So, now I have a better understanding of what happened after the first book, here’s my review!

After the events of Prague, Karou finds out what Akiva really did and the two go their separate ways, she goes to the chimaera to help them prepare for the inevitable war against the seraphs. Akiva goes to the seraph’s to find his father….and kill him. Each of them have their own missions in the war between their species.

There are lots of emotional moments in this book- deaths on both sides and a pretty horrible near-rape scene that was very hard to read. It’s that scene that lowered my rating just because I had to put the book down. However, the death that hurt the most was that of the Kirin, Ziri, because I felt Karou’s pain at losing one of her own.

An element I liked is that with Karou’s friend, Zuzana and her boyfriend Mik in the mix, there were plenty of light-hearted and funny moments too! It was also nice to get more of Akiva’s backstory, even if, as a Misbegotten, he isn’t overly liked by the other angels- especially the emperor (who is also his father.)

It is clear that that this book is setting up the scene for the third one which is probably why I didn’t connect with it as much as I did with the first one! The constant flicking between Karou’s situation and Akiva’s got confusing sometimes but it also worked well to progress their stories until they were reunited.

Zuzana and Mik are so cute though.

I enjoyed this book- I enjoyed the different sections and different locations- it added to the story.

The first book is still my favourite, this one was problematic in some places. Let’s hope the new Thiago is a little nicer though….I actually hate him.

Still, a good story, and I can’t wait to finish the series!
Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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