Tag Archives: thriller

An interview with… Sophie Hamilton!

I’m really delighted to have Sophie Hamilton, author of the fantastic YA début STITCH UP, on the blog today, answering some questions on her book! Firstly, a little about Sophie Hamilton:

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Sophie Hamilton lives in London and writes urban YA.

For years, Sophie worked in TV as a film researcher and producer. Her programmes ranged from hard-hitting documentaries to culture and art shows, she most enjoyed those highlighting the lifestyle, quirks and foibles of the rich and famous. She then decided to swap the hectic environment of television for the solitary life of a writer, and the result is her debut novel ‘Stitch-Up’.

When not writing she’ll most likely be reading, watching films, searching out culture, walking or jogging round London or just kicking back.

Onto the questions!:D

G: Stitch-Up is set in a vision of London where the media has a firm grip over everything. Why did you decide to write a book with a focus on media and how people can manipulate the truth?

S: I worked in television for years before I started writing ‘Stitch-Up’, and I guess this influenced my decision to write a book with a focus on media. Also as a news junkie, I’ve always been interested in the way the media creates stories, constructs narratives and isn’t beyond manipulating the ‘truth’ to sell newspapers. I would say two main factors informed my choice to set ‘Stitch-Up’in a near-future, media-controlled London.

Firstly, when I began writing ‘Stitch-Up’, it seemed that there was a dubious relationship between certain sections of the media, the political establishment and the police force. This made me feel very uneasy. Also, media barons having political sway is never good for democracy.

Secondly, I’m both horrified and obsessed by media storms and the damage they do to people’s lives. I began ‘Stitch-Up’after the mother of all media storms, in which certain sections of the press wrongly accused a couple of being involved in the disappearance their child. Instead of chasing down the facts, the press constructed a sensational story with a total disregard for the truth, the parents’ feelings and reputation. The whole nation was hooked on the drama, newspaper sales rocketed, which encouraged the press to print yet more lies.

sophie1This started me thinking…how would it feel to be caught up in a media storm? If the press printed lies about you, demonized you, and shredded your reputation,and you had no way of putting your side of the story across.It would be frightening if you were an adult, but if you were a teenager it would be beyond terrifying – a living nightmare.

STITCH-UP feels very realistic, as it’s about the darker side of celebrity lifestyles, kidnappings and terrorism. Was any of it inspired by true events?

Many aspects were informed by real events. In fact, the trigger for the whole book came from a news item about the Clapham train disaster, which stated that one person goes missing to start a new life whenever a train crashes.

However, for the rest, I think it is more a mash-up of events and news stories rather than one particular event, which informed it. With hindsight it’s easy to say this or that inspired the story, but it is never that simple.

I never set out to write a book about the media, or about a kidnap, or about the way Muslims in Britain were demonized after 9/11, or about celebrity lifestyles, surveillance-creep or the financial crash. I started with a girl running away from controlling parents because she didn’t want to be forced to look and behave in a certain way.But when I had to describe the world and choose characters – Dasha, her parents, Latif and her friends –my concerns and interests influenced my decisions, and suddenly I was writing about things I felt passionately about.

‘Stitch-Up’tunes into the mood music of the times – the financial crash and the recession, discontent, Islamophobia, FEAR, surveillance, riots, alienation, post 7/7 paranoia, FEAR and ultimately repression. It was a time when the rich were getting richer and the poor were being pushed out of London, and everyone was happy to be spied on in return for cool free stuff.

Why did you want to write a book about London?

20434644That’s easy, because I love London. I wanted ‘Stitch-Up’ to be a celebration of this diverse, mad and maddening city. At the same time I wanted to sound a warning that we have to be vigilant before things change irreversibly for the worse – the near-future London of‘Stitch-Up’is only a heartbeat away. I felt London was becoming a divided city: a playground for celebrities and the rich, and a hard-grind for ordinary Londoners.

So we need to wake up, put our smart phones down, and start making smart decisions instead … Whoops! Rant over …

At the beginning of the book, Dasha is in a really difficult situation, and decides to take her chance to run away. Would you have done the same?

Hopefully I would have made a break for it… Sadly, in reality I probably wouldn’t have had the courage. I love the fact that Dasha is prepared to risk everything in her quest to control her own identity, and to discover the truth.

Do You Have Advice For Young writers? (Particularly about world-building if possible!:))

Write what you feel passionately about. With regards to world-building, you must be very clear from the outset what type of world you want to create, right down to the tiniest details. Always remember the devil is in the detail! Draw maps, create mood boards, plan everything – totally immerse yourself in your world. Many dystopian writers create incredible worlds from scratch, and I’m completely in awe of this approach, but it wasn’t the type of world I wanted to build. From the start I wanted to write a novel which was set in a near future but recognizable London. I wanted to keep it real as I felt it would be scarier… Do masses of research around your subject. Read newspapers, watch films, visit exhibitions and immerse yourself in popular culture. Always remember anything and everything can inform your world. Often you will find inspiration in the most unlikely places … I reckon the best tool for world-building is the question ‘What if…?’ Keep asking questions, and your answers will shape your world. Whatever you do enjoy building your world. You are God and you must make your world rock!

Finally, as I know you’re currently editing book two, are you able to say anything about Mob Handed?

{tiiiiny spoiler} I have to be very careful as it is a thriller, and I don’t want to give anything away. All I can say is the crew are back together, Latif has returned from a self-imposed period of exile in Lebanon, and the Golds are back and more dangerous than ever. The London elections are looming and they are determined to consolidate their power by rolling out the Entertainment State. As for Dasha and Latif, things don’t go as smoothly as Dasha had hoped… Okay, that’s it…my lips are sealed.

Yay! I can’t wait for book two:D Anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to give a big shout-out to the blogging community for their huge passion for books reading, blogging and generally causing a buzz around YA books. Without the blogging community’s reviews a debut author’s situation would be DIRE…

Yippee!:D Thank you so much, Sophie, for taking the time to answer some questions.

I hope you enjoyed the interview! I really recommend Stitch Up – available now:) You can read my review here.

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Guest Post: Faye Bird, author of My Second Life

I received a copy of My Second Life, Faye Bird’s debut novel, a few days ago in the post. I’m so excited for it! It sounds incredibly chilling and thrilling. I was so pleased when I was asked to host a guest post by Faye on my blog, on her inspirations for the novel. I found it really interesting – enjoy!

The books that inspired My Second Life by Faye Bird

23 Fiction - My Second Life Front CoverThere are two books that were really influential for me in the writing of My Second Life. The first was The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Although I have to admit I nearly put it down 10 pages in. I was so horrified by the description of the murder at the outset; seeing a murder from the victim’s point of view, a child’s point of view, was almost an unbearable read. And yet once I got past the murder I was completely entranced.

And what I was entranced by was this continuing perspective of the now dead narrator. It wasn’t the heaven scenes – Susie Salmon’s new reality – that entranced me, but rather the view she now had of the world without her in it. It was such a special and particular view. Here was a compelling murder story, and here was a brilliant narrative voice with this unique perspective and well, I was in awe of the writing.

I wondered whether there was another way one could find a similarly unique perspective in a story – one that absolutely encompassed life and death – but specifically for a teenage reader. And that’s what brought me to the idea of writing about a girl who has lived before, which in turn, led me to a book called Old Souls by American journalist and author Tom Shroder.

Old Souls charts a number of journeys Shroder made alongside Dr. Ian Stevenson, a medic, biochemist and psychiatrist, as part of Stevenson’s research investigating reports of children who remembered past lives. Shroder is the journalist cynic and Dr. Stevenson is the strangest of things – a respected scientist who believes in second lives and who sets out to prove it using scientific methods.

Certainly Stevenson provides some compelling evidence whilst Shroder provides the reason and rationale to counterbalance it, Faye Bird_websitebut what is fascinating is that what you are ultimately left with in the reading of this book is an intriguing account of the power of possibility. There are some things that just cannot be explained.

And of course all narrative begins with the power of possibility, and as a writer the power of that possibility sits firmly in your hands. The children Dr Stevenson met in his research were all simply telling their stories – what they knew of life and death and living again – and it is this simple honesty that I hope I have brought to the way Ana tells her story.  As she says herself, “…there is no explanation for what I know – ” I just hope as the author of her story that whether we believe in the possibility of living life again or not, we will at least see the value in living life well.

My Second Life by Faye Bird is out now. Read the first chapter online now at www.usborne.com/readmysecondlife. Follow Faye on Twitter @faye_bird. You can also search for #mysecondlife on Twitter, Facebook and Instragram.

 I hope you enjoyed the guest post! Thanks to Usborne for letting me host it and for sending me a copy of the book. Review up soon, as I’m hoping to start it asap(:

book review: Split Second by Kasie West

You can read my review of book one, Pivot Point, by clicking here!

*This review contains spoilers for book one in the synopsis, and slightly in my review!*

Published 11th February 2014 by HarperTeen (US).

15792316Goodreads Synopsis: *synopsis contains spoilers for book one!* Life can change in a split second.
Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.
When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that. Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.
As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

My Review: *contains spoilers for book one in the FIRST paragraph- rest is spoiler free:)* Split Second was such a fantastic sequel! I was so excited about starting it after reading and falling in love with Pivot Point, the previous book, last year. Set after Addie’s huge choice made at the end of Pivot Point, Addie is off for a break from the Compound in the Norm world at her dad’s house. But now, as she’s faced with new, scary difficulties, her friend Laila’s also in a dilemma with her brother.

Split Second is told in the alternating narratives of Addie and Laila. Even though that’s clearly shown, I did get mixed up and got parts confused at first! I think I’m like that at first with a lot of dual narrative books, though. I really did love both girls’ voices. It’s hard to stop reading Split Second- the story and the writing draws you in and doesn’t let you go until the end.

Addie and Laila are a dynamic duo of friends and their voices are both really unique and stand out. They’re both so different but similar at the same time… I’m not sure how to describe their friendship. I just love it way too much! I also really loved the subplot in this story about Laila’s little brother, and I really loved the love interests. All of the characters are so easy to like- obviously except for the not so nice dudes, who I shared hatred with Addie and Laila for!

The plot is completely unpredictable. I couldn’t actually believe that outcome- I’m kind of glad I wasn’t reading this in public because I gasped pretty loudly when that plot twist at the ending was revealed. Argh. It ripped my heart to a million pieces- one thing that you grow to love is… NOT what you think it is. Um… But I’ll shut up now because I really don’t want to spoil it. xD However, it is amazing. I’m always really worried about sequels to brilliant books, but honestly, Kasie West’s Split Second was a really strong sequel and it’s hard not to enjoy it.

Overall, Split Second was a really great read. I loved the plot; it’s unpredictable, and unwinds in a really clever way. Of course, I loved Addie; she’s really easy to relate to, and then Laila is just Laila, and Laila is awesome. (: Kasie West’s writing is addictive, pacy and thrilling; I really can’t wait to read more from her in the future! The only thing that kind of disappointed me is there wasn’t much detail on the Compound and why and how it was started, which was what I guessed this installment might be about. I’m hoping there will be a book three though, and that’s where we’ll find out! Really highly recommended- and make sure to check out Pivot Point (my review here), and read that first before Split Second! (:

My Rating: 


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I received a copy of Split Second 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.

Book Review: Bet Your Life by Jane Casey

Published by Corgi Children’s books, February 2014.

18041969Goodreads Synopsis: Jess Tennant has now been living in Port Sentinel for three months, and is just beginning to relax and think of it as home after the murderous events of the summer. But in the small hours of a dark night, a teenage boy is left for dead by the side of the road. Seb Dawson has a serious head injury and may not survive – and Jess decides to find out who beat him up, and why?
As she investigates, Jess discovers that Seb was involved in some very dangerous games. A secret predator around girls, he would do whatever it took to abuse them, from lying and blackmail to spiking drinks. Could a group of vengeful victims be behind his attack? Or is there someone else with a grudge against Seb and who will stop at nothing to silence him?

My Review: I really wanted to re-read How To Fall again before starting this… but I just had to read Bet Your Life asap, I was so excited! I couldn’t remember all of the details from How To Fall, but that was okay because Bet Your Life does work on its own (though OBVIOUSLY I command thee to go buy both, they’re equally amazing. :P). Bet Your Life was probably up there in the top five books I was most looking forward to this year- and it didn’t let me down!

I forgot how much I loved Jess Tennant. Right from the beginning of this story I clicked with her again so well, and I loved following her as she worked on solving the mystery behind Seb. She’s so confident and smart- easily likeable. Jess’s love story is complicated, and it plays a big role in this instalment. I really enjoyed that! I can’t really say who the real villain is, exactly… but it was completely unexpected, and really shocking. My mouth was hanging open for quite a while toward the end of the book!

Jess Tennant’s life takes a much darker turn in book two of her series. This story’s definitely much scarier than the first, especially the ending. I was pretty terrified for Jess, after what antagonist-I-won’t-name-here had been doing. The plot develops brilliantly- I was mislead a bit and the outcome wasn’t what I expected. Jane Casey is amazing at creating genius, suspenseful plots that keep the reader reading. Luckily I was off from school (well, lucky-ish, I was ill :P) while I was reading this, so I could read the majority in one sitting- I couldn’t let go of my kindle!

Overall, Bet Your Life was an amazing read. If you’re a crime/thriller fan, I can’t recommend this highly enough. Casey’s writing is flawless, I literally couldn’t find a fault with the book, straight from the prologue I was completely hooked. The protagonist, Jess, is probably my favourite character out of all the crime fiction I read. I love her so much! (: Bet Your Life’s story is clever, dark, and packed with tension. There are parts that make your jaw drop, there are parts that make your pulse quicken, and there are parts that make you smile, too. If you haven’t read book one, How to Fall, yet, (WHY HAVEN’T YOU?! :D) you can check out my old review of that here.

My Rating:

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

Mini Reviews: CRUSHER and INCINERATOR by Niall Leonard

I read Crusher a while ago, in January, though I didn’t get to write a review of it! I was sent a copy of the sequel which was released really recently (Thank you, Random House!) and I thought it would be nice to do a joint-mini-review post, reviewing the series so far- Book three, Shredder, will be out soon. Enjoy!

17307328Crusher: By Niall Leonard, published by Corgi in September 2012.

Goodreads Synopsis: The day Finn Maguire discovers his father bludgeoned to death in a pool of blood, his dreary life is turned upside down. Prime suspect in the murder, Finn must race against time to clear his name and find out who hated his dad enough to kill him.
Trawling the sordid, brutal London underworld for answers, Finn exposes dark family secrets and faces danger at every turn. But he’s about to learn that it’s the people you trust who can hit you the hardest…

My Review: Crusher was a really, really exhilarating read! I really enjoyed it, for the most part. It’s really shocking, and packed with some brilliant plot twists that keeps the reader completely engrossed. The plot’s very unique, but at the same time, a very gritty urban murder mystery- who killed Finn’s dad with his own award? Though I did enjoy most of the plot, there were a few parts I couldn’t really agree with… I couldn’t really understand Finn’s choices a lot of the time, and I felt some points were a bit rushed. It is a fast paced novel, but I did feel like a lot happened at once, and some bits were… too freaky!

At first, I really liked the main protagonist. Finn was so determined and prepared to tackle his father’s killer. He’s a very realistic teenager- one I think a lot of YA readers will definitely be able to relate to. Then, when he meets the first love interest of sorts in Crusher, I really started to dislike his new attitude- he was so obsessed with her and I hated him for seeming to completely forget about the whole mystery behind his dad…

17612844 Incinerator: (Newest release- just published!) By Niall Leonard, published by Corgi in January 2014.

Goodreads Synopsis: London gang-lord The Guvnor is in hiding, and Finn Maguire has begun a new life running a boxing gym with his old friend and coach Delroy. But when Finn’s lawyer Nicky Hale vanishes overnight with all his money, Finn finds himself in hock to a loan shark with a vicious gang of enforcers. Desperate to track down Nicky and repay his debts, Finn investigates her other clients and soon finds himself engulfed in a web of lies, betrayal, malice and madness, with only his wits and his fists to keep him alive.

My Review: Incinerator was probably my favourite of the two books in the Crusher trilogy so far! I felt that it was very fast paced too, but definitely enjoyed the themes a lot more. It shows that Finn’s developed so much- now trying to get out of the violence, and into business- though that doesn’t work for very long. I really enjoyed the plot of Incinerator- it had me even more hooked than Crusher. Niall Leonard’s writing is really great, and captures the urban setting so well.

I really liked Leonard’s writing, as it’s edgy and gritty, going with the setting and the themes really well. I definitely grew to like Finn Maguire a lot more in this installment as well. Beforehand, in book one, I couldn’t get on with him for a portion of the book. Though, I really liked seeing his character develop a lot in Incinerator. He was even more determined than ever and I’m looking forward to hearing what awaits him in Shredder! 

My Ratings:

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I received Crusher from my dad.

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

Book Review: Finding Jennifer Jones by Anne Cassidy

Published 6th February 2014 by Hot Key Books.

18482238Goodreads Synopsis: Kate Rickman seems just like any other nineteen-year-old girl. She goes to university, she dates nice, normal boys and she works in her local tourist office at the weekend. But Kate’s not really normal at all. ‘Kate’ is in fact a carefully constructed facade for a girl called Jennifer Jones – and it’s a facade that’s crumbling fast. Jennifer has spent the last nine years frantically trying to escape from her horrifying past. Increasingly desperate, Jennifer decides to do something drastic. She contacts the only other girl who might understand what she’s dealing with, breaking every rule of her parole along the way. Lucy Bussell is the last person Jennifer expects any sympathy from, but she’s also the last person she has left. Finding Jennifer Jones is the powerful sequel to the highly acclaimed, Carnegie Medal nominated Looking for JJ. It is a tense, emotional thriller about guilt, running away and wondering if you can ever truly know yourself.

My Review: Looking for JJ was brilliant… Finding Jennifer Jones completely blew me away. A lot of the time, the sequel to a book is never as strong as the first book, but I actually think this was even more thrilling and clever than the first title! I’ve left it a bit late before reviewing, so I don’t think I can do it enough justice.

Finding Jennifer Jones visits JJ, under yet another name, Kate, as she’s studying in Exeter University. After knowing the events of her horrifying past, the police immediately suspect Kate of a recent murder in the area. Kate, or JJ, realises that she’ll never be able to fully escape her past, no matter how many new identities she’s given- so she decides to revisit her past, by contacting Lucy Bussell: The girl who witnessed what JJ did nine years ago… I was so nervous to see how everything would unfold; I only recently read Looking for JJ and I wasn’t sure the sequel would be as thrilling. But, it definitely was, and I fell in love with it. It felt really nostalgic, going back to meet Lucy again- even though I only read about her in book one a few weeks ago!

I wasn’t expecting to read more detail on what happened to JJ, Lucy and Michelle, though there are more flashback scenes in Finding Jennifer Jones that reveal more about everything. I really loved the fact that at the end of these two books, now, I have a completely clear picture of the whole crime plot. It all fits together so, so well- and the ending to Finding Jennifer Jones- wow. I wasn’t expecting it, but I loved JJ even more for it.

JJ- or, Kate- is so well developed. I grew quite attached to her in book one, and I loved her character even more this time! She was even more confident and brave here. I hadn’t actually read the blurb to Finding Jennifer Jones fully when I started- I wanted it all to be a surprise- so I wasn’t expecting to hear from Lucy Bussell. I really felt sympathetic for her in Looking for JJ. It was really great to see her character developing a lot, years later.#

Overall, Finding Jennifer Jones was a breath-taking follow up to a great crime book. It’s well paced, original and addictive; I couldn’t come out of the story while I was reading it! I was really shocked at the ending, because that was the last thing I’d predicted Kate/JJ to do. But, it was a perfect ending. I really enjoyed the plot, and revisiting characters from JJ’s past, too. If you’ve read the first book, I really highly recommend buying this! If you haven’t- I really can’t recommend the books much higher. They’re captivating and thrilling.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Finding Jennifer Jones form the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: Running Girl by Simon Mason

Published January 2nd 2014 by David Fickling Books.

17999143Goodreads Synopsis: Meet Garvie Smith. Highest IQ ever recorded at Marsh Academy. Lowest ever grades. What’s the point, anyway? Life sucks. Nothing ever happens.

Until Chloe Dow’s body is pulled from a pond.

DI Singh is already on the case. Ambitious, uptight, methodical – he’s determined to solve the mystery and get promoted. He doesn’t need any ‘assistance’ from notorious slacker, Smith.

Or does he?

My Review: Running Girl was a book I’d been really looking forward to- and luckily I did really enjoy it! Not entirely as much as I thought I would, but still, it was a really fun mystery to follow.

I started the book with a pretty clear idea of it, as I’d talked to the author at the RHCP crime event about it! I was really absorbed in the story for most of the time: I enjoyed the beginning, especially, which really hooks the reader in. I really did like the pot; it’s a classic crime fiction scenario, though it felt fresh and new, and completely original.

I enjoyed guessing throughout, though Running Girl is so misleading! It’s clever, really clever, though I found a lot of parts quite confusing. It’s a really great crime book in the way that it leads you to think the killer’s one person, when really it’s the person I least expected… though I think so much was going on, I lost track! I ended up re-reading a lot of passages and chapters, because I did get confused.

Garvie’s a really uncommon main character. A lot of books I read centered around mysteries have character that are the complete opposite. Instead, Garvie Smith is lazy, incredibly intelligent but unwilling to do anything, and prefers to hang out with crime-committing kids instead of going to school. Despite his personality, I loved him. He was very much like Sherlock Holmes, only willing to do something if it interests him hugely- and that, now, is working out the mystery behind Chloe Dow’s murder.

I admit it was hard to like him at first, but I did really grow to like him! He was brilliant, a really alternative protagonist, that I think a lot of teens and adults will become attached to. I don’t think he developed very much through the events, but I’m hoping to get to know him even better in book two.

Overall, Running Girl is a book that I’m really mixed on, though I’m mainly loving it. Despite the fact I struggled to follow at a few points, the murder plot was really clever. It’s unpredictable and unexpected, and Garvie’s journey is wild and takes him everywhere on a search, from a Casino to a school… I really enjoyed reading about Garvie’s search, because he’s not your average fictional character. Recommended to crime fiction fans. (:

My Rating:

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

Book Review: Far From You by Tess Sharpe

Published by Indigo (Orion), 27th March 2014. (Also, admire the pretty GIF cover from fiercefiction.tumblr.com! ;D I had to borrow this for the post. It’s gorgeous.)

We are delighted to be able to reveal the cover for one of the most exciting debuts of 2014, Far From You. This brilliant debut novel from Tess Sharpe will be the book everyone is talking about in 2014! Don’t believe us? Here’s a sneak peek at Far From You: Nine months. Two weeks. Six days … That’s how long recovering addict Sophie’s been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend Mina died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong - a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered.Forced into rehab for a drug addiction she’d already beaten, Sophie’s finally out and on the trail of the killer. But can she track them down before they come for her?Far From You will be out where all books are sold on the 27th March. We know that seems like a long way away, but we will be bringing you more teasers, extracts, competitions to help pass the time! In the meantime, tell us what you think of the cover!Goodreads Synopsis: Nine months. Two weeks. Six days. That’s how long recovering addict Sophie’s been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong – a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered. Forced into rehab for an addiction she’d already beaten, Sophie’s finally out and on the trail of the killer – but can she track them down before they come for her?

My Review: Far From You is a beautifully written, captivating novel, and as soon as I picked it up, I physically couldn’t put it down. It’s gripping, thrilling, and I think it’s going to be a seriously big debut! Far From You touches on drug and accident recoveries, whilst also being about a really beautiful but complicated love story. I loved it, and I’m pretty sure every body else who reads it will, too.

Sophie was an instantly loveable character; she was so strong and realistic, and jumped off of the pages. I think she’s the best developed character I’ve read about all year (and that’s out of almost 40 books!). She nearly dies at at a young age in a car crash, and the second time she has a close chance of dying, her best friend, Mina, is killed. After Sophie comes out of rehab, despite never needing to go in the first place, she’s determined to uncover the killer, and work out the mystery. I fell in love with her from the start, and Mina too- as she featured in most of the flashbacks. I grew so attached to the characters that I really didn’t want to finish reading about them at the end…

The plot was unpredictable, a real roller-coaster of a book. As soon as I opened the first page, I was completely sucked into the story, and as I already said- was left reluctant to leave everything behind after I finished! There was no way I could’ve guessed anything. I loved the themes, and it was just addictive… I have no other words to describe it!

The story is written in a breath-taking style. I think Tess Sharpe is definitely a write to keep an eye on! I loved the format of the novel- written in chapters that alternated between the present and key moments in Sophie’s past. It all unfolded in such a genius way, though I think at points I did get a little confused, mixing past events up in the present, but I did get it all in the end, and I loved it.

Overall, Far From You was a beautiful debut. I was so excited for it as soon as I first saw the cover- and it was definitely worth getting excited for! It’s a chilling, dark crime thriller, with hints of romance, and centered around a really strong relationship. Sophie and Mina were amazing characters, and I don’t think I could forget them. Although I struggled a couple of times with the format, I think Far From You was written really, really well. I’m looking forward to more from Tess Sharpe- this is set to win awards, and it definitely deserves to!

My Rating:

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

Mini Reviews: Looking for JJ and The Naturals

More mini reviews… as I’ve not yet actually written any proper, long reviews for recent ARCs yet! *hangs head* I decided to do these two as mini reviews for now, though I may do discussion posts on them later, because both were really, really interesting. Looking for JJ and The Naturals are both chilling, crime-based books- I enjoyed both of them. They’re pretty dark YA novels… (:

Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy

Published by Scholastic, August 2013 (10th Anniversary edition). Click here for the Goodreads synopsis and profile!

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Looking for JJ is a really unpredictable book. I’ve heard a lot about it in the past, but I’ve never picked up a copy before! Hot Key Books were kind enough to send me a copy, because they’re going to be publishing the sequel, Finding Jennifer Jones, very soon. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the sequel has in store now. The main character here is under witness protection, after a traumatic experience in her childhood, which the media became obsessed with. The pot unwound in a way I would never have expected, and I was hooked right from the beginning until the very end. The main character, Jennifer Jones, is very relatable and understandable; even after I learned the truth about what happened in the woods that day…. *shiver* I think the only part that I couldn’t get used to was the format… I wasn’t expecting it to be set like that; starting with the present, then going to the past, then back to the present at the ending. It confused me, because JJ also had the flashbacks in the present… I just got a bit muddled at points! However, highly recommended- and I’m sure the sequel will be just as break-taking.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Looking for JJ from Hot Key Books, the publishers of book two, in exchange for an honest review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Published by Quercus, November 2013. Click here for the Goodreads synopsis and profile!

18769818The Naturals was… wow. It blew my mind. The story was so original and clever, fast paced and action packed. The plot focuses around Cassie Hobbes, whose mum went missing, supposedly murdered, due to the terrifying evidence Cassie found years ago in her dressing room. Now, Cassie has been recruited to work in a secret branch of the FBI, solving mysteries with her talents.Cassie’s talent reminded me a lot of Sherlock Holmes. She’s amazing at breaking things down and solving mysteries. It was easy to connect with her, and I really enjoyed seeing her character develop a lot. As she’s solving a mystery, she realises it’s more dangerous than she ever could have imagined. I enjoyed it so much! The plot was really fast paced and addictive; I was left completely stunned. I think some parts seemed a little too… freaky? I know Liz, who let me read her copy, definitely saw this too! It’s a seriously chilling book, and definitely not for the faint hearted… there’s something about the murders that sends a shiver up your spine, stronger than a lot of other mysteries I’ve read.

My Rating:

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I was given a copy of The Naturals from Liz, who told me I’d probably like it. Thank you so much!! 😀

I hope you enjoyed those reviews! both are spine-chilling books that you probably won’t want to read in the dark for the most part… Definitely recommended! (: