Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Read People Like Us, by Dana Mele if you Loved...

Mysteries can be hit or miss for me, especially in the YA genre where they walk a fine line between trying to remain YA friendly and wanting to break more into the thriller genre, but People Like Us managed to be a big hit for me.

Read People Like Us if you liked...

1. One of Us is Lying, by Karen M. McManus

WHY? If you liked the murder mystery aspect of One of Us is Lying, combined with the uncertainty of whether one of the MC's friends was to blame, then you'll enjoy the similar vibe of People Like Us. One of Us is Lying kept me on my toes until the end as did People Like Us... I think I predicted three or four murderers throughout the entirety of People Like Us and I was wrong on all counts.

2. Dangerous Girls, by Abigail Haas

WHY? Did you like all the messed up characters with a million different issues in their lives, plus the added angst of teenagers telling a bunch of lies. Just like Dangerous Girls, in People Like Us, you don't quite get the full story right until the end.

3. Mean Girls (the movie)

WHY? Yeah, yeah, I know, it's not a book... BUT Kay and her friends in People Like Us, reminded me a lot of the plastics in Mean Girls, so it definitely deserves a place on this list.

4. The Harry Potter Series

WHY? Stretching a little bit because there's definitely no magic in People Like Us, buuutttt it does have a boarding school setting which I'm a huge fan of and it did remind me of Harry Potter (I realise now that I have not read enough YA books set in boarding schools).

5. I need to read more books with queer content

WHY? People Like Us was set in a world where being queer didn't need a label, wasn't questioned or commented on, and the relationships weren't the point of the story, they were just there and part of it (like a relationship should be!!). Somebody give me more books like this because I tried and I couldn't think of anything similar where the sexuality of the characters wasn't commented on.

Have you read any of these books? Does People Like Us seem like something that you might enjoy? Please tell me somebody else out there is contantly looking for good YA mysteries.

Love hurts... 

Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she's reinvented herself entirely. Now she's a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl's body is found in the lake, Kay's carefully constructed life begins to topple.

The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay's finally backed into a corner, she'll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make...not something that happened.


Sunday, 28 July 2019

The Distance Between Us, by Kasie West || A (very) Short and (very) Sharp Review

The last book I read was a cute fluffy contemporary and I wanted MORE so I thought I'd give The Distance Between Us a go since it's been sitting on my shelf forever. Unfortunately, I really wasn't the biggest fan.

Fair warning, I'm moody and very stressed today so all my negative thoughts are a little bit exaggerated.

So, first of all, I just wasn't a fan of the main character (Caymen?). She was snarky, but not in a fun way, it was more just rude - and fyi she was supposed to be a likable character. Other than her rude sarcasm there actually wasn't a lot more to her as a character. She worked in a doll shop, led two boys on, and was rude to most of the customers. meh.

The romance was crap. I read this book so I could be pulled into a fluffy romance that made me feel a little bit warm and fuzzy and pull me out of the knowledge that finals week is approaching very fast... I didn't get any of that. I got a conveniantly rich af boy hitting on a conveniently poor af girl who was also interested in bad-boy-band-guy and it was such a tricky choice because rich boy was so nice (and rich) and they got on so well but band-boy was hot and could sing and also he was poor so they were better suited. okayy???

The ending was the most irritating part, and The Distance Betweeen Us definitely lost a star for the ending alone. It felt rushed and all of the 'major' reveals felt like they were just placed there for the sake of having an interesting ending and didn't really have anything to with the rest of the story. I turned the last page expecting there to be more because, no way, you can't just build up to a huge climax and be let down like that, but nope it was the end.

On a positive note, this was reasonably short and took me less than 24 hours to read.

Thanks for listening to my rant, I feel better now.

Somebody please recommend me a cute fluffy romance so I can get my fix! Has anybody else read this? What did you think?

Love hurts... 

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.


Sunday, 14 July 2019

There's Someone Inside Your House, by Stephanie Perkins || WARNING: NEGATIVITY

I am so conflicted about Stephanie Perkins latest release. I was excited when I heard that she was writing a new novel because I love the Anna and the French Kiss series and I was even more excited when I found out it was horror themed, but now I'm not really sure what to think... There were parts that completely pissed me off and there were parts that were okay(ish). Luckily I tweeted as I read so I can break everything down for you with the help of my tweets!


Things started out well... Not. Maybe it was because I decided to tweet as I read, but I got two pages in and I was already totally distracted. Okay.. Maybe that is because Twitter is a huge distraction no matter what you're reading, but still! Page two!

Anyway! Moving on. So this book started from the point of view of a girl called Hayley (I think it was Hayley?) who was basically a theatre geek, but don't worry too much about her because wait for it... She's dead less than ten pages in.

Rightio, now that we have Hayley out of the way (Stacey? Her name definitely might have been Stacey..) we can move onto the real star of the show. Makani. Let me set the scene for you; Makani is the new girl in a small town. She's been shipped off there by her parents to live with her grandmother because something awfully strange happened in her past. Although of course we're not quite sure what that is yet. At this point I was definitely assuming that Makani had actually killed someone... But more about that later.

So this Hayley/Stacey girl was brutally murdered and now the whole town is freaking out trying to figure out who it is. Pause again, this time because a character mentioned flip-flops and I care more about finding out what everyone calls those in different countries.

Back to reading. Only to find out that Makani's grandmother sleepwalks. For some reason I just could not get into this book. I kept getting distracted! But that might just be because Twitter is damn distracting.

I stopped reading because I was "too tired to concentrate" and then didn't pick it up again for a couple of days (actually more like a week) because I just wasn't feeling it.

I finally managed to read a bit and was actually starting to like it a bit more... During this time Makani and Ollie got a lot of screen time and I realised that maybe I like reading Stephanie Perkins more in the contemporary genre than the horror genre.

A second person is murdered this time by having their brain taken out and chopped up and then shoved back in. Creative. I'm back to not really enjoying this book, but determined to finish it.

Another death. (This one had his ears chopped off)

Makani (of course) is the next victim, but she gets away and we find out who the killer is and what a BORING killer?! It's just some random quiet kid from Makani's school (lol it's always the quiet ones). I had to wait until the end of the book to find out why he was murdering people and how he was choosing them, but I'll spare you the wait for nothing... Turns out he was killing people that had potential and might one day have a life outside of the town they were from.... And that list included his best friend... Yeah... What? I don't even know! This 'grand reveal' was at the end of the book and it was such a let down. It didn't even really make sense to me!

What else happened between finding out who the killer was and finding out why he was killing people? Oh yeah, we found out about Makani's mysterious past. Another let down. The reason she had to move to a tiny town to live with her grandmother was because she was a messy drunk at some team initiation thing and chopped off someone's ponytail. I get that high school kids can suck, but this was built up to be a HUGE reveal and it would have been waaaaayyy more interesting if Makani actually killed someone.

By this point I gave up on tweeting. So how did it end? Happily ever after of course. There were a couple more deaths, but in the end, the killer was caught and the boy and the girl got together. Blah blah blah. That's it.

I'm sorry, but I'm actually pissed off about this book. My last tweet pretty much sums up the entire experience for me. I'm disappointed because I wanted to like this, but I really didn't. Ah well, I'm about to start Radio Silence so I'm hoping I'll like that better!

Have you ever been excited for a book that just let you down? Tell me what you thought of this book if you've read it.. Disagree or agree with me?? I want to know! Tell me your thoughts.

Love hurts... 

Makani Young thought she'd left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She's found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn't far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.


Friday, 28 June 2019

Nerve, by Jeanne Ryan || When the Movie is Better than the Book

A game where players are paid to complete increasingly dangerous dares by a mysterious organisation. Sounds good, right? Wrong! I had high hopes for Nerve, but it really fell short for me.

What went wrong?

Where to start?

Nerve was slightly(ish) interesting(ish) at the start, but from there it just went downhill. I wanted to like this book. I wanted to love this book, but no... I didn't.

The main character Vee (Venus) was seriously annoying. She was the typical shy girl to begin with (cool, that's fine) and then she became an "I'm not like the other girls" kind of girl to prove that she wasn't a typical shy girl (hm.....) and then I don't even know what happened. She liked one boy (theatre geek/arsehole whose name I have already forgotten) and was clueless about another boy that liked her (fellow backstage crew member Tommy) and then met a third boy (Insta-love-Ian). SPOILER ALERT (highlight to reveal) I thought he was going to be the one to turn around and stab her in the back (which would have been more interesting and more realistic than Tommy), but alas, I was wrong. It was a mess and it all felt very forced.

Things just didn't add up. Maybe I've lost the ability to understand subtleties in books during my loooong reading slump, but was Vee using sign language with her best friend.... Did I miss something? How do they know sign language? Or when it said "I signed to her" was it one of those "she's my best friend and we've known each other forever so we can communicate without talking" moments. I found that very confusing and I kept getting really caught up on it. It is likely that I just completely misunderstood something though so if somebody could clear that up... Thanks :)

And how did the secret mysterious organisation actually make this work. How did they get hold of so much personal information like medical files? How did they remain secret? Why did Vee get through to the next round with such a boring dare (pouring coffee over her head)? Why did I read this? So many questions.

One last thing that drove me crazy was that throughout the book, Vee's parents are super strict for some weird unexplained reason and she's constantly grounded and has early curfews. But it turns out that the reason for all this is... SPOILER ALERT (highlight to reveal) that Vee was sitting in her car in the garage with the car running and accidentally almost killed herself and her parents think that she did it on purpose so obviously they ground her and never let her out of the house again. Yeah, everything about that makes sense. Not.

What went right?

This book created the basis for a pretty okay movie that has Dave Franco in it.

That's it.

Just watch the movie.

If you've read Nerve, what did you think? I know that some people have loved it. Has a book ever fallen seriously short for you and then the movie turned out okay?


Vee doesn't know if she has the guts to play NERVE, an anonymous online game of dares. But whoever's behind the game knows exactly what she wants, enticing her with lustworthy prizes and a sizzling-hot partner. With Ian on her team, it's easy to agree to another dare. And another. And another. At first it's thrilling as the Watchers cheer them on to more dangerous challenges. But suddenly the game turns deadly. Will Vee and Ian risk their lives for the Grand Prize dare, or will they lose NERVE?


Friday, 14 June 2019

Genuine Fraud, by E. Lockhart || Lies and Murder and Truly Awful People

I LOVED We Were Liars, E. Lockhart's other novel and I wanted to love Genuine Fraud, but it fell a bit short for me. I definitely didn't hate it... maybe my expectations were just too high after enjoying We Were Liars so much.

What did I like?

  • The back to front story telling! Genuine Fraud starts at the end and as you read you move back in time, uncovering what happened in the lead up to where the book starts... (Does that make sense, the whole book is basically backwards). I don't think I've ever read a book written like this and I really enjoyed this aspect! It added a hell of a lot of suspense made me want to keep reading.

  • The twists and turns. There were so many twists and turns in the plot! Every chapter something new was uncovered. If you love books with a million plot twists then Genuine Fraud is the one for you.

  • It's dark. Genuine Fraud is full of murder and lies and mystery. (I almost wouldn't label it as YA)
What did I not like?

  • The characters. There were some truly awful characters in this book (I'm talking Delores Umbridge sort of awful). On one hand it was slightly fascinating to read about these morally evil people, but on the other hand I didn't quite understand it. And I did not care about any of the characters because they were all such horrible people.

  • A little bit of confusion... I liked the back to front thing, but it did get a little bit confusing at times and there were points that dragged a bit because of the way it was told. I just wanted to know what happened in the beginning but you have to wit for the end of the book to find that out.

I'm not quite sure what to think of Genuine Fraud. There were definitely aspects I enjoyed and it was a pretty okay read, but I can't help feeling a bit disappointed after loving We Were Liars so much. There was just something about Genuine Fraud that I didn't like and I can't quite put my finger on what that was... Maybe it was just because I couldn't connect with any of the characters... I don't know! Overall, I do love E. Lockhart's writing though and I will absolutely be reading her future novels.

Have you read anything by E. Lockhart? If you haven't then I would highly recommend We Were Liars. Have you ever been unsure of how to feel about a book? What book(s)?   

How far would you go to become someone else? A masterful young adult thriller from the author of blockbuster bestseller We Were Liars.

Imogen is an heiress, a runaway, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a chameleon, and a liar.

Imogen is done pretending to be perfect, and Jule refuses to go back to the person she once was. Somewhere between the mansions of Martha's Vineyard and the shores of Cabo San Lucas, their intense friendship takes a dark turn.

A masterful thriller from the author of the unforgettable We Were Liars.

Thank you to Allen and Unwin for supplying me with a review copy of Genuine Fraud!