Tag Archives: suspense

Book Review: Girlhood by Cat Clarke

Published May 4th 2017 by Quercus.

26224552Goodreads Synopsis: Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can’t escape the guilt of her twin sister’s Jenna’s death, and her own part in it – and she knows no one else will ever really understand.
But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels…loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.
Then Kirsty’s behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper’s? And why is she so obsessed with Harper’s lost sister? Soon, Harper’s closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.
How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?

My Review: I first heard about Girlhood at YALC last year, so I’ve been really excited about getting a copy for a while. Cat Clarke’s last three books were incredible, so I had high hopes for this one.

Girlhood takes place at a Scottish boarding school, where Harper has spent the time since her twin sister died. When a new girl joins Harper’s tightly knit group of friends, and seems to feel the same way as Harper, the group’s friendship is put to the test as dark secrets surface.

I really liked the set-up for the book. I haven’t read many books set in a boarding school and I feel like it set a really fitting tone for the story, isolating the girls so the main focus is on their relationship dynamics. It definitely added an eerie atmosphere to the story.

One of my favourite things about Girlhood is that the friendship group was refreshingly diverse. Hell yes for a bisexual protagonist! And a gay roommate! And a friendship group that isn’t all white! I think the characters all had a really interesting dynamic too. I wish that some had been explored further, such as Ama, but the story was still really engaging and I loved the protagonists and their chemistry.

I feel this book was quite different from Clarke’s previous ones, as it felt less suspenseful to me – but it was still an incredibly riveting read. I ended up devouring it in a day, pretty much in one sitting, because I was so eager to understand why Kirsty’s actions were obsessively mirrored Harper’s. I did predict part of the truth revealed at the end, but it was still such an engrossing story.

Overall, Girlhood is another exciting book from Cat Clarke that I definitely recommend reading. It’s a really captivating read, that had me intrigued form start to finish. It explores so many different themes, from family death to the complications of friendships when you’re a teenager. I feel like it’s quite different from some of Cat Clarke’s books, like Undone, but it’s still a fantastic read.

My Rating:

I received a copy of Girlhood from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

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Book Review: Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

Published 21st April 2016 by Orion.

28016325Goodreads Synopsis: Everyone thought we were dead. What else could they think?

One summer, nearly twenty years ago, two twelve year olds
were abducted and kept captive in the forest.

There they formed a bond that could never be broken.

What really happened in the woods that summer?

My Review: When this book came in the post, it looked like a really good read, and the ARC cover was fantastic. I picked it up on a whim, as just something to read between work. The premise sounded quite similar to lots of books I’ve seen before – I didn’t expect to be as blown away as I was! Pretty Is is a stunning, inventive novel, and I’m certain it’s going to be the big début of the year.

The plot is intricate and very well written. I became completely absorbed in the events of the book – it was so haunting and engaging. So many events spiral from the mysterious summer Carly May and Lois are kept in the woods – and all of these different stories come together two decades later incredibly cleverly. I had no idea where the plot could possibly be going from the opening pages right to the ending!

I adored how much time the story takes to delve into the lives of the main characters, and the psychological imprints their abduction left on them. It was incredibly chilling to read about, but also morbidly fascinating.  The book is split into two narratives, Carly May’s and Lois’s. They both had incredibly strong and engaging voices, and seeing how differently they develop was really interesting.

Maggie Mitchell weaves mystery into her novel expertly. Pretty Is is so haunting and unpredictable. I loved how intricate the plot was – it’s such a classic-feeling crime story yet it’s written in such a complex, outstanding way. I finished it feeling like I still wanted to know a bit more about some aspects of the story, but overall, I was truly mesmerised by how powerful of a début Pretty Is was.

Overall, I really highly recommend Pretty Is to those who love chilling and psychological stories. Compelling, dark and addictive, it’s an incredible début novel from a very talented writer. I’m really looking forward to reading more by Mitchell in the future!

My Rating:

four and a half

I received a copy of Pretty Is from the publisher. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: INFERNO by Cat Doyle

Related posts: Book Review: VENDETTA by Catherine Doyle | Vendetta Blog tour: Catherine Doyle on films that inspired Vendetta | Cover Reveal: Vendetta #2 by Catherine Doyle

Published January 7th 2016 by Chicken House Books.
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Goodreads Synopsis: Sophie’s life has been turned upside-down, and she’s determined to set things right. But Nic, the Falcone brother who represents everything she’s trying to forget, won’t give up on their love – and it’s Luca’s knife she clutches for comfort. Soon another mafia clan spoils the fragile peace – and with her heart drawn in one direction and her blood in another, Sophie’s in deeper than ever.

My Review: Vendetta was, undoubtedly, one of the biggest UKYA books of last year – it was an epic story and it was everywhere online. When I read it, I enjoyed it, but not as much as others, which I was kind of sad about.

When I was asked if I’d like to read Inferno, I jumped at the chance to, because I really wanted to know what happened next! I ended up devouring the story over Christmas, and I enjoyed this instalment so much.

I think I enjoyed this book more because it was full of even more action and drama, and a little less romance. There are so many shocking plot twists, more than I remember there being in the first book. It was great! In Inferno, the story takes even more complicated turns: tensions between the Mafia families of Chicago are heightening, and rivalry is starting to result in violence. It was a nail-biting ride from start to finish!

The ending was fantastic, and fit the story perfectly – what Sophie discovers, and what happens as a result of that, is both horrifying and emotional. I guess it was inevitable, but didn’t see it coming.

Sophie’s character really grew on me in this book. I didn’t dislike her before, but I just feel like this book displayed her personality so much better, and she develops so much more in this sequel. I’m really loving her story, and the complexity of it all.

Overall, Inferno was such a brilliant read! Packed full of action, tension and a little romance, it’s got something fro any YA reader. I’m really looking forward to the next book, now!

My Rating: 

four

I received a copy of Inferno from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: Moth Girls by Anne Cassidy

Publisher January 7th 2016 by Hot Key Books.

27766357Goodreads Synopsis: Helplessly drawn like moths to the light, two girls go missing in an evocative and gripping tale . . .
They called them the Moth Girls because they were attracted to the house. They were drawn to it. Or at least that is what is written in the newspapers that Mandy reads on the anniversary of when her two best friends went missing. Five years have passed since Petra and Tina were determined to explore the dilapidated house on Princess Street. But what started off as a dare ended with the two girls vanishing. As Mandy’s memories of the disappearance of her two friends are ignited once again, disturbing details will resurface in her mind.

My Review: I really enjoyed Anne Cassidy’s Looking for JJ and Finding Jennifer Jones quite recently – so when I heard of her latest book, I was really looking forward to reading it!

Cassidy is a master of YA crime books – a genre I feel is a little neglected. Her writing is fantastic, her stories always suspenseful and addictive to read. This one was no different – I was sucked into the story straight away, eager to know what happened to Tina and Petra, the two girls who went missing after entering an almost-abandoned house. The pages were pretty much turning themselves – I read this over a day, I was so engrossed in it!

I really liked the angle of the book; it heavily focuses on how Mandy, the girl who didn’t go to the house, is affected by the events half a decade later. The emphasis on Mandy’s psychological state, and how she was affected by her relationships with the two girls, was really interesting – I would have loved to see more scenes of her counselling sessions, as the way Mandy unravels how she feels is so well written.

The book isn’t just centered around the main crime story – I found the back-story of Petra, one of the missing girls, to be my favourite part of the book. Cassidy tackles a lot of very sensitive themes well, I think, and some scenes between Petra and her father felt quite unnervingly real.

The story is told in various parts, switching between before the vanishings, and five years after them. The mystery unravels slowly throughout the book, and as soon as you think you’ve figured out what happened, there’s another plot twist. The ending did feel a little disjointed to me, as the final elements of the puzzle seemed to be put together a bit too fast. Although it did leave quite an adept cliffhanger, I would have liked to know one tiny bit! [The next sentence is a spoiler – highlight to read] I think the story with Mr Merchant and his money could’ve been solved a little better – what was it all about?

Overall, I think Moth Girls is a perfect, relatively short read for fans of crime, or those who want a brilliant book to get into the genre with. The plot is inventive, unexpected and hard to stop thinking about once you’ve started reading! Anne Cassidy’s characters are always so well-developed and enjoyable to read about. Recommended!

 

My Rating:

four

I received a copy of Moth Girls from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

book review: seven second delay by tom easton

Published 1st May 2014 by Andersen Press.

18300258Goodreads Synopsis: Mila has 7 seconds. 7 seconds to fight. 7 seconds to escape.

Seeking a new life on the futuristic Isles, Mila’s time runs out – she’s captured by Agents, who implant her with a phone that broadcasts her every move. Now she’s on the run, hounded by an elite fighting force who is convinced she poses a dangerous threat to society. Her only advantage: a seven second delay.

It’s a race against time.

My Review: Seven Second Delay was such an action packed, and thrilling read!I was looking forward to reading it, and wasn’t let down, though I wasn’t entirely sure at first how I’d find it , a dark dystopian, after having read Easton’s more contemporary, funny book!

It did take me a little while to understand the world; it was about a hundred pages before everything was explained fully. However, the rest of the book did make up for that! The plot is so interesting. The beginning of the book has the reader as clueless about what’s happening as Mila, the protagonist, so it’s really riveting to piece together all of the information along with her. There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns; I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen on the next page. 

I really loved Easton’s writing. He laces his chapters with tension and drama. It’s quite a fast paced book, set over a relatively short period of time, too. Seven Second Delay is pretty addictive, full of narrative hooks. I enjoyed all of the flashbacks woven around the story, that focus on Mila’s life before she’s captured by agents. They let me get to know Mila really well. I would’ve liked more flashbacks, though, because they were brilliant and gave good insights into the other areas of the futuristic world the story is set in. The book is shorter than I’d expected at just over 300 pages. I was left wanting to know a bit more about the world (hint, Tom Easton… sequel…? 😀 )

Overall, Seven Second Delay is a really action packed, fast paced book. It’ll definitely appeal to fans of Charlie Higson, and Anthony Horowitz! I really liked the characters. Mila is great- she reminded me a lot of many other awesome dystopian protagonists, namely the ones in novels by Emma Pass. I really loved the concept of the world, it’s so unique and clever. I would have loved a bit more about it, though… I’ve given this 4 hearts, but i’m really going for 3.75 (I’m awkward 😀 ) because it’s a brilliant read but I wish it could have been longer 🙂

My Rating: 

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I received a copy of Seven Seocnd Delay from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.