Thursday, 7 February 2019

LIES AND MURDER... WHODUNNIT? || My Five Favourite Murder Mysteries

There's nothing better than a good old 'whodunnit' murder mystery to get you out of a reading slump and hooked onto a book that you read late into the night. I recently read One of Us Is Lying, by Karen M. McManus and it made me remember how much I love murder mysteries... I can't be the only one so here's a list of my favourites from over the years.

Be warned, all of these books will keep you up late at night reading frantically to find out who did it...

32571395 1. One of Us is Lying - Karen M. McManus

This was recommended to me by Lara at Another Teen Reader (who had her own version of this post here). She describes it to me as "the breakfast club with murder" and I could not say no to that. In fact, I also can't think of a better way to describe it.

When five students end up in detention and one of them dies, the other four are immediately under suspicion. It's told from the point of view of the four remaining students who made it out of detention alive, but is one of them lying? Mwhahaha... You'll just have to read it!

32571395 2. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly - Stephanie Oakes

It was the first sentence of The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly that completely hooked me.

"I am a blood-soaked girl."

If that isn't enough to make you want to read this then let me tell you a little bit about Minnow Bly... She's currently in juvie, was part of a cult and has no hands. I know... Crazy! And that's just the start of it. Plus you'll love the beautiful writing that somehow works perfectly with the horror in this book.

“Anger is a kind of murder you commit in your heart.” If this is true, I’m a daily murderer. My heart is more full of blood than I ever imagined.”

32571395 3. Dangerous Girls - Abigail Haas

One of my favourite YA murder mysteries of all time! And the twist at the end.... ohmygosh... so good! (But you'll have to read it to find out that part).

Dangerous Girls is about a group of friends who are together during spring break when one of them is brutally murdered. It switches back and forth between before and after the murder of Anna's best friend as Anna fights to prove her innocence. I don't think I put this book down once.... I had to keep reading, I had to know what happened!

If you've read this then read Dangerous Boys, it'll hook you in just as much as Dangerous Girls.

32571395 4. Cruel Summer - James Dawson

The setting of Cruel Summer is similar(ish) to that of Dangerous Girls (summer, sea, high school friends), but it's completely different and James Dawson added his own twist to things. Of the five (I think there were five?) narrators, my favourite was definitely Ryan whose chapters were written like a tv series and spiced things up just a little bit more.

Cruel Summer was almost light and funny at some points (I know, how?) so if you're not normally a fan of murder mysteries then this is definitely a good one to slowly ease you into things. It's a murder mystery set in the summer, it can't be that bad....

32571395 5. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

You've probably already heard of this, but it deserves a mention anyway.

Any book by Gillian Flynn is probably going to give you that murder mystery vibe (and I would highly recommend all of her books). Her books are dark and seriously twisted and Gone Girl is no exception... I don't often branch out of YA, but I'm glad that I did for this.

And if you're in a reading slump this one has a movie, so you don't even have to pick up a book to experience this masterpiece. (Although I would highly recommend it... it might even be that magical book that gets you out of a slump).

Honourable Mentions


Do you like murder mysteries? Which ones on this list have you read and which ones have you read that aren't on this list? Give me your recommendations, I need more late nights trying to find out who did it.


Thursday, 31 January 2019

Introducing: Keeping Up With the Classics || Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Last year, Ella from Novella Ella and I decided that we wanted to read more classic novels, but we wanted to share our foray into classics with our blog readers and so the idea of Keeping Up With the Classics was born. We're still kind of finding our way, but our basic plan was to read the books and then interview each other. So let's jump right in with Pride and Prejudice! Welcome to Keeping Up With the Classics, where two 21st century girls read back in time.

Lara: I already know a few your thoughts on the book vs. the movie (I think neither of us was a big fan of the movie), but tell me more, what was it about the movie that really turned you off it? Were there any aspects that you didn’t mind so much about it?

Ella: I was really let down by the movie! Maybe my expectations were too high because the film is considered such a classic and I know a lot of people love it but nah, it fell short for me. It was a very PRETTY film but all over the place and messy? What did you think? I did love recognizing some lines from the book but it still felt like a very different story. And I thought it was annoying but also hilarious that I found the movie hard to follow and I’d read the book! Lollll. I think the biggest thing that disappointed me about the movie was that I wish it had been more comedic. Where was the sarcasm? The biting humour that I adored in the book??!! WHERE DID IT GO?? Also, I was super pissed off that there was no if the movie can be SO DIFFERENT from the book could they not have at least included a damn kiss?? (Still bitter about this and probably will be forever...)

Lara: The film was very pretty and yeah, that’s about all I can give it as well. I don’t know what it was that I really didn’t like about it? You’re right, it was just a messy adaptation. And I definitely agree with you about the kiss… So much tension and then nothing! Argh!

Ella: This Adventure Time gif just summed up ALL MY FEELINGS. I mean, I understand why there wasn’t a kiss in the book but I really thought the movie would take a ~~creative license~~ AND THEY DIDN’T WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM! Anyway, moving on, hahaha.

Image result for now kiss adventure time gif

Lara: I know you weren’t the biggest fan of Mr. Darcy (more about that in your half of this interview), but which characters were your favourite? I absolutely adored the father, he was completely outnumbered by all of the girls, but I think that’s what made all his interactions with them even funnier, he was just so over it.

Ella: I loved Elizabeth, her sarcasm was always ON POINT! I was also surprised (and loooooved) how fierce and stubborn she was too! She never took any shit from anyone, not even Darcy and I thought that was great. However, my favourite character would have to be Mrs Bennet, MY QUEEN, who I bow down and would die for. The way she took on Mr Bennett always made me laugh and her elaborate schemes to get all her daughters married had me in HYSTERICS. Like the way she plots for Jane to be caught in the rain and so has to stay at Mr Bingley's house so he'll fall more in love with Jane IS SO CLEVER oh my goddd! "NO JANE, you CANNOT have a horse, you can WALK so you can get caught in the RAIN and get SICK so you’ll HAVE to stay at Mr Bingely’s house and for good measure I'm going to send ALL THE HORSES AWAY so you HAVE NO CHOICE but to walk." I STAN A QUEEN!!

Lara: She was so silly, and part of me wanted to just dislike Mrs Bennett, but I totally agree, it was hilarious how she was plotting a million different ways for all her daughters to get married. It’s even more interesting when you think, at the time Pride and Prejudice was written, marriage was everything and Jane Austen was making a bit of a mockery of it all by writing about it in such a humorous way.

Ella: Considering how important marriage was then and the fact that the Bennett girls weren’t that high up socially, I thought it was incredibly brave that Elizabeth turned down not one but TWO marriage proposals. She knew marrying each man might give her her own home and more money and class but she knew she would be unhappy because she didn’t love either man love (or thought she didn’t love at the time). I really admired and respected her for that and that she stood by decisions and didn’t buckle under other peoples expectations (like her mother’s haha).

Lara: I totally agree! I'm glad we both had such a good time reading Pride and Prejudice. If our readers haven't already read the other half of this interview, they can jump to your blog where we talk a little bit more about Pride and Prejudice.

But wait there's more! Because we loved Pride and Prejudice so much and we're convinced that more people need to read it (yes, we are prepared to bribe you into reading), we're giving away this gorgeous Vintage Classics copy of the book! Details and rules of the giveaway are below. Good luck and happy reading!

  • Open internationally (as long as Book Depository ships to you - a full list is on their website)
  • Giveaway ends on the 12th of February, 2019 at 12AM NZT
  • One winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter and contacted on the 13th of February. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.
  • Ella and Lara may not enter the giveaway (I'm sorry that it's tempting, but I know both of you already have at least one copy of the book)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you read Pride and Prejudice? Were you a fan? What about when you compare the book, the movie and the TV series? Also what do you think of our new series??


Thursday, 24 January 2019

Some Bookish Things About Me

A while back, Ella (from Novelly Ella) wrote a post with 19 bookish facts about herself and suggested that I do the same, but I don't currently have the brain capacity to come up with 19 facts (uni takes most of my brain power) so ten will have to do! You can check out Ella's post here.


I'm a HUGE mood reader. If I'm not in the mood for a certain genre and I try to force my way through it then I promise you, I will fall into a slump. (I'm currently in the mood for thrillers/mystery sort of books so recommendations are welcome).


For some reason, lately I've been finding it so much easier to read books on my phone than anywhere else... I'm not sure what it is, it just feels like less effort than a physical book or an ebook on kindle. Please tell me I'm not the only one!


I wrote a novel for NaNoWriMo last year and actually finished it! But since I finished it, I've never looked at it again. It was a very messy first draft and I don't know if I can read it without cringing. I should probably dig it out and see if it's salvageable.


Recently I've found that there is so much time in my day during which I can listen to audiobooks. Driving somewhere? Audiobook time. Going for a run? Audiobook time. On a break at work? Audiobook time. Can't sleep? Audiobook time. Sooooo many hidden minutes in the day.


The Harry Potter series has and will always be one of my favourite series of all time. I don't even know how many times I've read it, but I'm currently reading the fifth one again (definitely a fav).


I have this pirate story idea in my head that I really, really want to write, but for some reason I just don't know how to start it. I basically have a group of characters running around in my head and not a lot of storyline. I'm hoping that if I let them run loose in my head for long enough they'll eventually get into some sort of trouble and create some sort of storyline.


I've been blogging on and off for a VERY long time. I think I first started when I was thirteen and had a blog called Tangled in Words and then I went from that to The Paperback Palace and then Word Elixirs and now here I am at Words With Lara. It has been a journey, but I'm glad I'm still here in this bookish community.


I will either sit down and read a book in one or two sittings... OR it will take me months to get through it. There is no in between.


I am a serial procrastinator when it comes to EVERYTHING (including reading, writing and blogging). Even if I have an idea for a post and I have the time to write and schedule it, I probably won't do it until the night before. I hate this about myself, but I'm also too much of a procrastinator to change it.


One day I hope to publish my own novel... I have so many ideas and so little time at the moment, but it's one of my biggest goals in life and I will do it! I will!!

Tell me an interesting fact about yourself! It doesn't have to be bookish. Or even just tell me if you can relate to any of my facts :)


Thursday, 17 January 2019

The Queen's Rising, by Rebecca Ross || Give. Me. More.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy novel like this and I was definitely in the mood for one, so when HarperCollins asked if I’d like a copy, I said YES PLEASE! I’m so glad I did say yes to The Queen's Rising because I LOVED it! At first I was worried that it was going to be a bit predictable, but it most definitely wasn’t. It had such a unique storyline and there was so much I loved about it so here are just a couple of those things.

I loved the world and the conflicts within it 

I feel like it’s not that often that I am so drawn into the world and the politics of the world in a fantasy novel because I’m just the sort of person that cares more about the characters and their relationships, but in The Queen’s Rising the world was so well built. It was believable and super interesting and if I could I would definitely read a history of their lands and the different kingdoms.

The idea of the passions

In this novel, the main character Brienna went to a school for passions, a school where students went to learn and excel in a certain field (aka their passion). There were five passions (art, music, dramatics, wit and knowledge) and the students studied there for seven years before they mastered their passion. I just thought it was a really cool and unique idea and even though I did love the story, it was set towards the end of their time at the school and part of me wanted more stories about Brienna’s time there with her other passion sisters (maybe an idea for a collection of novellas?!)...

The relationships (mainly the friendships)

I’m talking about the friendships between the passion sisters especially. In fact, I have to admit I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more of this but maybe (fingers crossed here) there will be more of the passion sisters in book two! Female friendships in YA are a little too rare at the moment so I loved what little this first book gave me and I have high hopes for more.

I think I have to mention here as well that I did love the romance. I’ve read a couple of reviews from people that weren’t the biggest fans, but I thought it was hella cute and hella wholesome! (And not as predictable as what I initially thought). It wasn't the main focus of the story which I liked, but I still appreciated the presence of a bit of a slow-burn romance.

The taste of magic

There wasn’t a lot of magic in this book BUT there were bits and pieces of it, that really starting ramping up towards the end. I cannot wait for all the magic in the rest of this series.

The ending

The ending of this book wrapped up so nicely that you could definitely read it as a standalone and be satisfied. However, I will 100% be reading the rest of the series because I need more of these characters and their world in my life. I believe book two (The Queen's Resistance) is due to come out in March which really isn't too far away at all!

What was the last fantasy novel you read and loved? Have you read this one? If you haven't, you definitely should! What should I read while I impatiently wait for book two?

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?


Thursday, 10 January 2019

Radio Silence, by Alice Oseman || Why this book is everything and a speech I wrote in high school

"Hello. I hope somebody is listening..."

Radio Silence has to be one of my favourite reads of my late teens/early adulthood... By far. If you've ever felt unsure about your life (or if you're currently feeling unsure) then read this! Even if you know exactly what you want to do, still read this! It's so good in so many different ways.

First, there was Frances

Frances is an overachieving high school student who has a weekly existential crisis about what she wants to do with her life (AKA me in my last year of high school) and I have never related so much to someone in a book. My whole entire last year of high school was me questioning what I wanted to do and I'm now taking a gap year which I would highly recommend to anyone who is unsure!

Radio Silence was very much about being true to yourself. Throughout the book, Frances talked about how she was one person at school and somebody else at home (the real her) and while it seemed like she had her shit together at school and she was 'just' a smart girl, there was really a whole lot more to her than that. I loved seeing the change in Frances from the beginning of the book to the end where she let herself become who she really wanted to be.

And Aled

"In distress. Stuck in Universe City. Send help."

Aled was an overachieving high school student who feels like he might have made the wrong choice with university. He and Frances become friends and it has been a very long time since I have seen a friendship in the YA genre that I loved as much as this. There were midnight chats and random drunken videos and working together on projects and turning up at each other's houses in the middle of the night in their PJs.. It was just so good and pure. But it was real.

It was diverse on so many levels

I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, but Radio Silence is diverse on so many levels without it seeming like it's trying to tick a bunch of diversities off a checklist. (Yet another reason that this book is realistic because our world IS diverse!)

But wait there's more

This isn't just a mish-mash of realistic characters... It was a story of growing up and learning who you really are and all the screwed up things that happen along the way. 

And the writing... The writing was beautiful! I could not stop reading. I sat there and read this book in one evening. It was well past midnight by the time I finished it, but I had to finish it! And now I'm sitting here at 2AM writing this review so I'm sorry if it's slightly incoherent.

“And I’m platonically in love with you.”
“That was literally the boy-girl version of ‘no homo’, but I appreciate the sentiment.”

Proof I am Frances

I struggled during year thirteen, my last year of high school. And before that, I flew through school... I loved it and I did well, really well! But thirteen years was just one year too many. So when I was asked to write a speech for an assembly I wrote this... And it was such a huge weight off my shoulders to talk about how I felt.

After that speech I was told that in the future I would have to have my speeches checked before I could present them, but oh well... I said my part and I hope that I helped at least one person in that audience.

Now seriously, just read Radio Silence!

Have you ever read a book where you felt like you could relate to everything? Which book?? Also has anyone read Solitaire by Alice Oseman? It's high on my TBR list now that I've realised how much I love Alice Oseman.   

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…

She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.