Tuesday, 19 January 2021

CRUEL SUMMER by Juno Dawson


Cruel SummerCruel Summer by Juno Dawson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here's another book I've had my eye on for years and finally purchased a copy.

Ryan hasn't seen his school friends in a year. Not since their friend committed suicide after their prom. Now, they're all getting together for a few weeks in a beautiful Spanish villa.

Time might have gone by and put a bit of distance between them, but soon confusing thoughts start to resurface as quickly as memories and the group dynamic. And Ryan's still convinced Janey didn't kill herself... 

OMG! Yikes. Juno Dawson never disappoints. No matter what subgenre she tackles, she sure delivers an engrossing and entertaining story. I was instantly hooked and couldn't wait to find out how this was going to end. 👀

Ryan's voice is addictive, interesting and even funny. He's super snarky too. I love how his side of the story is narrated in a very TV-show style, because it presents all the facts in such a cool way. It makes following this group of friends an intoxicating experience that I found hard to pull away from.

Alisha's POV also provided great insight and filled in the blanks between Ryan's POV. Oh, and the surprise ones were very informative too.

Essentially, this is a murder mystery featuring beautiful self-absorbed young characters who are so obviously keeping secrets from each other, find cheeky ways of concealing the truth by presenting pretty lies, and share a toxic friendship that ties them together. This group has so much room for destruction, it's no wonder they barely talked to each other since finishing school. There's also a lot of stylish drama and biting dialogue. Yes, the snark is strong in these characters. And I loved every minute of it. 😁

Another thing I enjoyed about this book is how well the location and season is portrayed. The description of the villa and beach is perfect to set the summery scene, making the heat drip off every page. Not to mention that as gorgeous as the view is, there's also a strong sense of unease beneath the surface the whole time. And when things start to unravel, it all comes undone very quickly. And violently.

This story might appear lovely on the surface, but there's a very ugly core at the heart of everything. The secrets these friends are keeping provide a twisty and awesome tale of deceit it's very easy to lose yourself in. None of these characters are innocent and it's easy to judge them, but I was still sad at the end. 😢

Man, I LOVED this excellent dark and twisted thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. 

Sunday, 17 January 2021

NONE SHALL SLEEP by Ellie Marney


None Shall SleepNone Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book that I've had my eye on for a while because the concept sounded intriguing and I've heard great things about it. So I was super excited when we found a copy in one of our local Street Libraries. 😊

Emma Lewis and Travis Bell are teenagers who have suffered through separate personal trauma and survived. This is why the FBI approaches and recruits them to interview convicted juvenile killers.

They're supposed to concentrate on cold cases and provide insight adult agents can't. But when they're drawn into an active case involving a deranged psychopath, everything changes...

Wow. This book is an amazing and addictive read. I was instantly drawn into this story. As soon as it started, I was intrigued by the characters and everything moves at such a great pace that I couldn't help but get swept up in the investigation.

Emma is such a great character. She's smart and determined, she's also strong and a survivor who made it out of a nightmare kudnapping that still haunts her. Travis is a great partner to Emma. He's clever and ambitious, and wants to follow in his father's footsteps after losing him on the job. Together, they make a great team that really bring the story together.

Their immediate friendship is strong and real. I really enjoyed their connection and how well they work together.

Also, I found the focus placed on young killers fascinating. And really liked how the FBI was interested in finding out what makes a killer, what makes them tick, and what the difference is between them and their older counterparts. But all of this pales in comparison when the seriousness of an active serial killer really kicks in and everything they think they know gets turned upside down.

The cunning and creepy serial killer Simon Gutmunsson is also a great addition to this story. He's so Hannibal Lecter.

This is a fantastic book, I enjoyed the hell out of it, and the last one hundred pages were so tense and nerve-wracking. Plus I loved the ending!

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Friday, 15 January 2021

IRONSIDE by Holly Black


Ironside: A Modern Faerie TaleIronside: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another book I've had on my bookshelf for way too long. It's also the last book in a trilogy and it's about time I read it.

Kaye is a pixie. She's also a changeling and is in love with Roiben, who will soon become king in the Unseelie Court. Lost and miserable, she's convinced she doesn't fit in either world, even though she's part of both...

I'm so glad that I finally read this because it's a direct sequel to the first book, Tithe, and I loved that book. It's also a fast and entertaining story that doesn't shy away from the wickedness of the Fae, the cruel games they play, and the violence they're responsible for (and enjoy so much).

I love the way Holly Black superimposes the faerie realm alongside the human world. It's the best kind of disorientation, because one minute you understand exactly where the characters are and what they're doing. Then, when everything slips into the very unfamiliar, shadowy realm of the fae folk, anything goes.

I really like Kaye because she tries so hard to be helpful, though she doesn't need to. Even after finding out what she really is and falling for one of them, she still feels like having a foot in each world means she gets left behind in both. At least she has her best friend, Corny.

Well, Corny has his own trauma and secrets, and is willing to do just about anything to get revenge. While also hoping/pursuing his ambition on being different, which has some very unexpected results. 👀

I had such a great time following Kaye to the end of her adventure because it was great and so very satisfying.

So glad I read this awesome story because it was well overdue. And it's a great finale!

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Tuesday, 12 January 2021



Two Can Keep a SecretTwo Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm storming through a bunch of my YA horror/strange/thrillers written by women because they rarely disappoint. And this is the next one on my list. 😊

While their mother is in rehab, Ellery and Ezra are shipped off to Echo Ridge to stay with their grandmother. This is the small town where their mother escaped, where their aunt disappeared, and where being a homecoming queen means really bad things...

Wow. This book gets off to a great and mysterious start! What first appears as the mundane misfortune of lost luggage soon turns into meeting an estranged grandmother, a neighbour who lost their daughter, and a dead body on the road. 👀

Yep. No wonder I was instantly hooked and couldn't wait to find out how this mystery was going to turn out. Just when you think more complications can't be added into this twisty mix, something else is added to throw everything out. There are so many secrets and mysteries--both past and present--to sort through.

And all of them, including the revelation, are totally messed up. Seriously.

The story unfolds through the very interesting POVs of Ellery and Malcolm. One is an outsider with a family history that ties her to Echo Ridge. The other is a resident whose family has been tainted by a past crime still haunting Echo Ridge. But their alternating experiences provide a great pace for the mystery to unfold. The story might be narrated by two teenagers, but the issues are all very adult. Yikes.

And OMG, that last line was a total shock. Like I said above, so messed up. This is such a great book!

I'm really enjoying this author's brand of thrillers and look forward to checking out the other two I have on my TBR pile. 

Sunday, 10 January 2021

YOU MUST NOT MISS by Katrina Leno


You Must Not MissYou Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So far this year I've read books I've had my eye on for a while, and this is another one. I actually bought this one a few months ago but have been looking forward to checking it out for a lot longer than that.

Also, will you look at that beautiful cover! It's colourful and full of rage and features pretty birds. Yeah, it really caught my eye.

Magpie's life fell apart six months ago. Her father hurt her mother. Her mother started drinking herself to oblivion. Her older sister left. And her best friend stopped talking to her after a big party. Now, she's finally starting to open up to her new group of friends, but she's also discovered Near. A place she wrote about in her yellow notebook...

Oooooh. This is one amazing book that's hard to put into one single genre because it fits into so many. It's a serious commentary on rape culture. It's a complicated look at friendship and family. It's a thorough study about the effects trauma has on someone. And it's a dark fantasy story with a wicked horror lining.

Also, there are so many trigger warnings that can be applied to this story, it's easier to say all of them. I'm not kidding or trying to make light of it. I mean it.

The writing style is so nice, I found myself falling headfirst into the narrative. Magpie's story is full of mystery from the very first sentence and the more I read, the more intoxicating her words become because we get hints about the series of events that destroyed her family and friendship, but it's obvious there's so much more under the surface.

Another thing that I absolutely loved about this book was the weirdness. And I'm not even talking about the surreal appearance of the land of Near. It's everything. In Magpie's school days, her home life and everything in between. I often found myself wondering what was real and what was imagined, but all of it is tinged with darkness.

All the characters in this book are interesting in their own way. Some because they are so kind and nice (Ben, Clare, Brianna, Luke, Jeremy), others because they are awful (Allison, Brandon, Dad), and the rest because they are absent or just don't bother noticing what's really going on (Mom, teachers).

This story is quite confronting and disturbing in so many ways. It also highlights how a nice, average person who's constantly shoved aside can slowly morph into an angry monster determined to enact revenge.

It's sad, relatable and such a fantastic book. I really (really) enjoyed this. I loved the cover before, but after reading it's also a perfect representation of Magpie's experience.

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Friday, 8 January 2021

DEAD SILENCE by Kimberly Derting


Dead Silence (The Body Finder, #4)Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the last book in a YA thriller series that somehow got lost in my bookshelf, but should've been read ages ago. Especially since I enjoyed the first three books so much!

Violet has been through a lot. She can hear the echoes of the dead and imprints from their killers. But after surviving a kidnapping herself, she now carries her own imprint and it's making life almost impossible. But everything is about to get so much worse...

Wow. What a great ending to a wonderful and very suspenseful series, with an intriguing concept that never stopped being interesting.

Even though it's been years since I read the third book in this quartet, I slipped back into Violet's world as soon as I started reading. All of the important details about the previous books seemed to mysteriously come back to me. Of course, the awesome narrative helped to jog my memory enough that I fell into the swing of things instantly.

I've liked Violet from the beginning because she was brave and determined to help whenever/however she could. Often, putting herself in danger to do so. Her stubborness was a trait that should've been frustrating, but wasn't. I also loved Violet and Jay as a couple. They were adorable together and faced several dilemmas, but their connection and friendship always shone through. And his constant support of her gift was so cool.

The mystery that Violet needs to solve/chase in this one is simple enough, but SO messed up. And ties in with her work with the team at the Centre, as well as some very cool revelations about her grandmother and the gift they shared.

I'm so glad I finally read the conclusion to this very awesome series because I couldn't put it down.

Love when a series has a fantastic conclusion. 😊 

Thursday, 7 January 2021

A Productive Start to the New Year...

I hope you all enjoyed a nice and relaxing Happy New Year! 🎉

So, 2021 is finally here and so far, it looks exactly the same as 2020. Most mornings it's hard to remember what day it is, Covid-19 is still infecting the world, right-wing governments DGAF, and people are still acting like violent assholes. 😑

I knew there wouldn't be a magical switch at midnight, but I was hoping people would at least start behaving better. And of course, I was wrong.


I was expecting to start this week with not much more than sporadic reading, some show watching and story idea dreaming. Instead, I spent the second day of the year working on edits for an upcoming novella. The next day, I answered interview questions, and the day after that I kinda overcame my aversion to hearing my voice by recording a short story excerpt. 😮

Yeah. There was quite a bit to get through but it felt SO GOOD to actually get all of this done. I seriously didn't expect to be this productive. LOL.

I also wrote and posted my annual New Year blog posts:

I love starting the year with these. It just feels right. A way of saying goodbye to 2020 and moving into 2021. 😍

Asides from all of the above, I also got stuck into several very awesome books. And remembered there's a very good reason why I love reading YA horror written by women. So far, HARROW LAKE and THE RULES FOR VANISHING did a great job reminding me.

We also watched the final season of Chilling Tales of Sabrina. I LOVE this show because it doesn't shy away from the dark and gory. It's also so much fun and such a great feminist show full of witchy goodness. Plus, the aesthetics happens to be Every Day is Halloween and I'm totally there for that look. Every single day. 🎃

It's sad to see it go and The End turned out to be pretty tragic, but I'm happy with how Sabrina's story was told during these four seasons. 😢

Well, that's it for now.

Try to have a nice week!

MERIDIAN by Amber Kizer


Meridian (Fenestra, #1)Meridian by Amber Kizer
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my shelf for years, but for one reason or another, it kept getting lost in the piles. So, I pulled it out this year and decided I was FINALLY going to read it.

On her sixteenth birthday, Meridian's life inexplicably changes even more than it had before. Her parents send her away to live with an aunt she's never met, to a town she's never visited...

I loved the Prologue and got caught up in Meridian's strange life and the quest she finds herself on. But as the story moved along, I noticed my attitude changing. Any connection I had with Meridian faded fast. I couldn't connect with the stuff bubbling up in Revelation, and didn't care for any of the other characters.

Not to mention that there was something preachy about the whole worldbuilding. Judgy, even. And it grated on my nerves. A lot.

Anyway, I was already past the halfway point when I gritted my teeth and skim/read to the end. And things didn't get any better.

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Wednesday, 6 January 2021

RULES FOR VANISHING by Kate Alice Marshall


Rules For VanishingRules For Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here's another book, with an awesome creepy cover, that I've had on my TBR pile for a while.

Sara’s sister disappeared a year ago and she thinks she knows where to find her. Sara's convinced her sister, Becca, went looking for the local legend about Lucy Gallows and got lost. Searching for Becca means finding Lucy’s road and sticking to a bunch of strange rules. But what this group of friends finds is darker than any of them could've expected...

Wow. Talk about totally hooked. Yep. That was me as soon as I started reading this book. Seriously. The ominous dread creeps into this story from the beginning, and never stops.

I LOVE how this complicated and dark story is told. There are interviews, video footage, texts, and Sarah's account of what happened. The pacing is perfect because one piece follows the next in such a precise way that the overall picture slowly starts to come together in a muddled and freaky kind of way.

Also, I really enjoyed reading Sara's POV because sometimes she sounded so sincere, and other times it was quite obvious that she was either intentionally leaving out details or was so traumatised by the loss of her sister that she honestly forgot stuff. Is she an unreliable narrator, or a girl doing the best she can? It's up to the reader to decide.

Well, until everything becomes obvious and clicks into place. 😳

Another very cool thing about this story is the exploration of friendship between a diverse group of teenagers. The problems and space between them varies, but all of it is intriguing and so interesting I found it hard to tear myself away from this book.

There's so much going on here. A girl looking for her sister, friends reconnecting, a very dangerous local legend, a surreal adventure, and the results of an in-depth paranormal investigation. And I enjoyed the hell out of every piece of this dark puzzle.

Fascinating. Creepy. Amazing.

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