Sometimes I Lie – Alice Feeney

32991958“My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.”

Amber can hear everything going on around her as she lies in hospital, in a coma. She was in an accident, but she can’t remember what happened. All she knows is that she’s sure her husband has something to do with it. As Amber catches snippets of conversation around her, she starts to regain her memory, with some shocking revelations.

No more can be said on the plot without giving things away, so let’s move on. Basically, this book was confusing. Alice doesn’t know who to trust – including herself – and so we’re given quite a lot of clashing information. Is her husband nice or was he involved in some way? What is up with her sister? Why does she go to work every day at a job she hates surrounded by people she doesn’t like? Are her parents dead or alive? Who knows what is going on? Not me, that’s for sure. It does come together in the end, but even then what really happened is unclear, which I guess is a pretty effective way to finish a book but I didn’t like it. I wanted to know exactly what happened and, unfortunately, this book doesn’t give us that.

Overall, it’s a good story. There are a mix of intriguing characters, and a very twisty plot – certainly psychologically thrilling, just not conclusive enough for me.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Miracle at Speedy Motors – Alexander McCall Smith

106021-457x720In the ninth instalment of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Mma Ramotswe is asked to find the biological family of an adopted woman. Distracted by a threatening anonymous letter-writer and Mr J. L. B. Matekoni’s pursuit of an expensive miracle treatment for their foster daughter, Mma Ramostwe is left considering the nature and importance of truth, and if it can sometimes be better not to know it.

I adore the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, but the books are very samey so it’s taken me a very long time to get as far as book #9. They are all very well written, with a delightful style and loveable characters, and The Miracle at Speedy Motors is no exception. Being set in Botswana, the values and messages within each book are interesting and – usually – aspirational. I couldn’t recommend this series more (but start with book #1 because the character building throughout is very important, even if the plot progression isn’t).

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A Crown of Wishes – Roshani Chokshi

29939047.jpgWhen Gauri, the princess of Bharata, meets Prince Vikram while being held captive by his people in Ujijain, her life takes a magical turn. Invited by the Lord of Wealth to participate in his Tournament of Wishes, the two flee Ujijain and make their way into a land of magic to compete for the opportunity to win a wish.

I believe this book is based around Indian mythology, which was a fresh and interesting genre for me. I love the world the book is set in, with unusual magical beings and fantastic world-building. The game-style story was very reminiscent of books like Caraval, so it was really nice to see this one done in an entirely different setting – it made the story a bit different from others like it.

I liked the characters – Vikram and Gauri are both sweet and relatable – and I loved Roshani’s writing style. For a while, I felt Aasha’s storyline was a bit irrelevant, but she did start to fit into the book better towards the end. For me, the book could have been longer: the story felt a little rushed. Gauri and Vikram had barely arrived in Alaka before they’d completed their tasks and the tournament was over. It could have contained a lot more detail and slower pacing without becoming too long or too descriptive.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I was expecting. It’s creative, well written, and the romance between Gauri and Vikram is lovely (not too angsty or forced like so many YA romances are). I would definitely read more from Roshani Chokshi.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Sweetpea – C.J. Skuse

33229410.jpgRhiannon seems relatively normal. She lives with her boyfriend and her little dog, goes to work, and spends time with her friends. Except she has one little secret: she’s a serial killer. Every day, she makes a kill list. From her cheating boyfriend to the man on the checkout in Lidl, Rhiannon is after revenge.

The idea of this story is really good: our protagonist is a murderer living a normal life alongside her secret killing. However, Sweetpea doesn’t quite pull it off. Rhiannon is such a dislikeable character – no, hateable – that there is no empathy or support for what she’s doing. A main character needs to have at least some likeable traits – especially such a controversial character – so that the reader can make a connection, but Rhiannon has none. She’s just an awful, terrible person who makes nasty and offensive judgements (i.e. against disabled people) and gets aroused by necrophilia (trust me, it’s as disgusting as it sounds). This idea could have worked and it is a genuinely interesting story, but I couldn’t get beyond my absolute hate for Rhiannon. I wanted her to lose, which is generally the wrong way to feel about the main character of a story.

On a more positive note, the book is well written and good enough that I did read it the whole way through. The story is gripping and, despite my distaste for Rhiannon and her activities, I had to find out what was going to happen. (I did take a break and read another book in the middle of this one, to give myself a rest from the horrors of Rhiannon’s murder and sex life, but I couldn’t not finish it).

If you are a fan of dark characters and unusual crime stories, Sweetpea might be right up your street – it just wasn’t up mine. But be warned: this book contains VERY adult content and graphic descriptions of murder and (creepy and gross) sex, which there is NO mention of in the book description, hence why I gave it a go.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Halfway Bitten – Terry Maggert (Halfway Witchy #2)

28758197.jpgCarlie and her waffles are back. This time, Halfway is being inundated with creepy clowns and vampires, and some human murders make it clear that something is not right. It’s up to Carlie, Gran and Wulfric to find out what’s going on, and to make it stop.

I enjoyed reading about Carlie again. Her life has developed a little: she’s dating Wulfric and it’s going pretty well. Brendan the librarian has become more involved in Carlie’s witchy business as well, which is a nice addition. The plot is intriguing: the murders are pretty horrific and, as ever, the characters are very varied and likeable. My biggest complaint would be that most of the book is made up of talking and finding out what’s going on – there’s very little action or actual story development until the end. Also, there were a few plot-holes, particularly with the Anna thread of the story, because this seemed to be a huge deal at the start of the book and then at the end she and Carlie had made up but I missed how and when that happened.

Basically, Halfway Bitten is entertaining and magicky, but not quite as good as the first in the series. And that ending!

Goodreads | Amazon

One Of Us Is Lying – Karen M. McManus

32887579The Breakfast Club meets Gossip girl in this murder drama. Five very different students walk into detention, but only four walk out alive. Bronwyn, Nate, Addy and Cooper all find themselves under investigation for Simon Kelleher’s murder. All four have secrets that Simon was going to reveal to the whole school, so all four have reasons for wanting to shut him up. So did one of them do it, or are they being framed?

I enjoyed this book a ridiculous amount. It’s the perfect hybrid of a murder mystery/thriller and a YA high school drama – an unlikely combination, but one Karen McManus pulls of exceptionally well. The mystery aspect is very good: I knew who didn’t do it but I never guessed who did. The mystery and investigation fitted into the story very well, with no genre-clash at all.

The teen drama part was GREAT. I haven’t read a non-fantasy YA in ages and I forgot how much I love them. My favourite part was the relationship between Bronwyn and Nate. It was totally predictable but so sweet and I was really rooting for them. The other characters were great too: Addy and Cooper both developed well and turned out to have a lot more depth than they first appeared to. Even the side characters like Maeve and Janae were interesting and (somewhat) likeable.

One of Us is Lying is a clever murder mystery, as well as a well-written and enjoyable drama. I loved it – I read it in two days, only putting it down because I had to sleep. If you like teen drama and murder (in books, of course – not actual murder), look no further.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Liebstar Award

Kee @ Kee the Reader nominated me for this a while ago and it’s taken me so long to get round to it! (Full disclosure: I forgot) So thank you for the nomination 🙂 Better late than never!

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions they gave you.
  3. Nominate 11 blogs.
  4. Give them 11 questions to answer.

Favourite Genre?

I’m honestly not fussy about genre, but I guess fantasy (dragons please).

 dragons GIF

Favourite book quote?

“A teller of tales will never die, but will live on in stories – for as long as there are folk to listen.” – Joanne Harris, Runemarks.

Ebook or Physical books?

I prefer having a physical book to hold and to put on my shelves, but ebooks are so handy, I love them too,

Book you’ve bought because of its cover?

Almost every book – I’m terrible for judging a book by it’s cover. Most recently, the hardback edition of Strange the Dreamer with the blue pages because it’s beautiful.

Would you rather Hang with the Dregs from Six of Crows or the Night Court crew from ACOMAF

I actually haven’t read either of these yet (I know, I’m so behind) so NEITHER THANKS.

Favourite Author?

Joanne Harris is amazing.

What book would you want to be made into a TV series?

I think the Stephanie Plum series would be a really fun TV show.

What are you currently reading

I’m reading an ARC of Sweetpea by CJ Skuse and honestly I am not loving it (very violent and unpleasant).

Best book to movie adaption

Lord of the Rings was basically flawless.

 lord of the rings hobbits the shire GIF

Favourite Middle Grade book

I’m from the UK and am not sure what Middle Grade actually constitutes, and am not sure I’d have read any for a very long time anyway.

Favourite book about mental illness

Now You See Me by Lesley Glaister. It’s so beautiful I love it.

I nominate:

Emma @ Afterbutterflyrain
Tiffany @ Tiff the book nerd
Emma @ What Emma’s Reading
Megan @ Bookslayer Reads
Alex @ WhimsyPages
Danielle @ Books, Vertigo and Tea
Krysti @ YA and Wine
Hayley @ Rather Too Fond of Books
Chelsea @ The Suspense is Thrilling Me
Sue & Imogen @ Doddy About Books

Your questions:

  1. What colour book do you own the most of?
  2. TV adaptations or movie?
  3. Favourite fantasy world?
  4. Reading indoors or outdoors?
  5. Book that has disappointed you recently?
  6. How old is your blog?
  7. Do you have a blogging schedule, or post when you want to?
  8. Vampires or werewolves?
  9. What’s your favourite under-hyped book?
  10. How do you organise your books?
  11. YA heroes or heroines?

Hush, Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick

6339664Hush, Hush is basically an angelic imitation of Twilight. Nora is made to sit next to a moody teenage boy – Patch – in school and finds herself drawn to him despite (or because of) the aura of danger around him. The parallels with Twilight are many, and are laughable. She even googles what she thinks is going on, exactly like Bella does with Edward. There are so many flaws: Nora doesn’t even bat an eyelid at the fact that Patch is possibly a fallen angel, and deals remarkably well with multiple people trying to kill her. In fact, she manages to maintain her focus on her attraction to Patch throughout the entire book. The girl has questionable priorities but fantastic concentration.

I actually did quite like Nora. She’s surprisingly un-whiney for a YA protagonist, and Patch is an incredibly clichéd but likeable character. Looking back, the story is actually pretty awful. Not much happens; almost the whole book is about Nora and Patch’s blossoming romance, with very little actually being about angels and whatnot. Yet, I really enjoyed it. It’s hard to pinpoint what I actually enjoyed about this book because I’m not even sure what was going on for half of it, but I couldn’t put it down. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a paranormal YA romance, all I know is I loved it and will definitely be reading book #2.

Goodreads | Amazon

Murder on the SS Rosa (Ginger Gold Mysteries) – Lee Strauss

34323870In this short prequel to the Ginger Gold Mysteries series, fashionista Ginger Gold is travelling from Boston to London when the ship’s captain mysteriously turns up dead and stuffed into a barrel of pickles. With a host of possible culprits, Ginger gets stuck in investigating the murder (against the wishes of the handsome Chief Inspector Basil Ward), only to discover that she herself is a suspect! Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and clear her name, Ginger follows the clues to solve the case, with a little help from her dog, Boss, and her dear friend, Haley.

This is a sweet and short mystery, inspired by Agatha Christie, with lovely descriptions of scenery and clothing in the 1920s. It’s a straightforward story, as Ginger follows clues and conducts interviews to solve the case. It’s actually a little too twee for my tastes – I prefer my mysteries to have a bit more grit – and I didn’t like Ginger very much. She’s shallow and frivolous when it comes to clothing, and a nosy busy-body in terms of the mystery. There was a legitimate detective on board and no need for her to get involved. Although, a past in espionage or something similar is alluded to, so she can be forgiven for her curiosity.

All in all, it’s a twee and harmless murder mystery, very clearly in a copy-cat style of Agatha Christie. Perhaps lacking the depth and intelligence of a Christie novel, it’s still worth a read for lovers of straightforward and stylish murder mysteries.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon