Review (revisited): One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus

I guess I’m one of those people who don’t really mind fan-fiction. Hell, I guess I’m just not smart enough to see it in most books. Maybe because I’m not obsessed with many writings. Or maybe I think we all take inspiration from where we can get it, so I don’t really often see fan-fiction as a knockoff. Some people act like it’s a terrible thing and cheating. Other’s can’t get enough of it. I’ve never been bothered either way. If anything I should think it would be an honour. At the end of the day there are very few original concepts out there…and even then the artists still got their inspiration from somewhere!

Starting this book was like an eye opener. Two chapters in and I was like, “oh shite, I’m not sure I will like this.” I mean it was so obviously “The Breakfast Club”. I was like, “really? are you freaking serious?”

But then again, growing up in the 80’s who can’t say that TBC wasn’t just, the be all, end all of everything 80’s. Who doesn’t love that movie?

Then I got over it, and the book progressed. I won’t say I was shocked at the ending. Or surprised. I won’t say I had it all figured out, but I had a pretty good idea of what happened, just not how all the players tied in together.

At the ending, I wasn’t left feeling cheated. I didn’t feel the author took shortcuts or intentionally mislead.

I wasn’t blown away by it, but I did enjoy it once the novel moved on from TBC type feel. I did go back and forth about which character I liked best (this isn’t a bad thing!). I enjoyed them all. I could also relate to them all (just like in TBC). I wanted good things to happen for all of them.

If this is what McManus has to show us in her debut novel, I seriously can’t wait to see what her next one will be like.

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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~~Review: Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

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High school can be brutal.  Even more so when you’re the new girl.  Finding new friends can be a lifesaver.  Or not…

Kacey’s only known the dysfunction of life with her mother.  So when she moves in with her dad, things are shockingly normal. Including her stepmother and step siblings.  She even makes new friends, tops among them being Bailey and Jade.  Amazing how quickly they took her in and made her one of their own.  Maybe a bit too quickly?

When Bailey goes missing, all eyes turn to Kacey.  What does she know about Bailey’s disappearance?  And does it have anything to do with the legend of that creepy ghost lady everyone likes to talk about?  Kacey soon finds out that her new friends aren’t at all what they seem to be.

This is mean girls at its finest. Two’s company, three’s a crowd and all that.  The real thrill, though, comes from the many twists and turns along the way.  It’ll keep you guessing up until the very end.  And after you’re done guessing, you’ll just be shocked.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Little Monsters

Review: The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke

I’ve finished this novel and am just wondering how in the hell none of my mates have read it. Seriously, I know many that would really like this one!

Second, I listened to this on audio. I admit that I was a bit worried when I started and found out that author was one of the narrators. I have nothing against authors reading their own books, but oftentimes it just doesn’t work for me…It would be the same as any random person trying to narrate a book…it’s not easy to do and not everyone is meant to narrate an audiobook. However, Jess-Cooke did a wonderful job. She absolutely made the book, as did the male narrator, Bruce Mann. I listen to maybe 30 audiobooks a year as I walk back and forth between my home and jobs. I rarely comment on the fact that I listened to the novel…however, again, I absolutely LOVED this audio version!

About half way through this book I figured it would most likely end in one or two ways…and it did. I don’t even care. I really enjoyed this novel. I loved Alex and his story. I loved Ruen. But most of all, I loved Carolyn Jess-Cooke’s storytelling. No, it’s not the be all end all of books. No, it’s not the best thing I’ve ever read. However, I enjoyed the entire experience of this book in so many ways. The audio, the personalities of the narrators, the story, the country of Ireland as a backdrop, Shakespeare, the music, demons, the family bond, the mother, the son, the doctors, teachers and social workers. They all meshed together to create such a wonderful reading experience.

Again, I’m shocked this book isn’t more well known…That other’s haven’t heard of it…I might just have to climb to the top of the highest hill near me here in Wiltshire and whisper the title and hope that the wind carries it near and far so others can enjoy this novel as much as I did…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke

Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan Bradley

bottom-pieI just love little Flavia…so wish I could go back in time and read these as a 10 year old! I would have been mad for her then! Such a cheeky little bugger! But whom I kidding? I love her now as a 46 year old!

If you think this is a short review, well you’re wrong…You don’t need me to tell you what the book is about, you just need me to tell you to go out and read it…so I am telling you now…it doesn’t matter how young or old you are…go out and buy this book…we all need a little Flavia in our lives!

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Review: Night School by Lee Child

night-schoolQuickly…This Reacher book has lots of players in it. At times, I thought maybe a few too many. But Child has made it work. Many times in the past when Reacher is part of a team, it ends up being a book I am not a big fan of, however, I really enjoyed this book.

I was a bit disturbed by the ending. I didn’t dislike it, but it bothers me. The bit of fact layered in with the fiction has me unsettled. It’s gave me too much to think about really. One more reason to stay up late at night worrying about things I can’t possibly change. The choice that Reacher makes at the end….well…uffta….I won’t go into that…again, so many implications…

Finally, I need to say, I’ve been reading Reacher from the start. Nearly 20 years I’ve been waiting month after month, year after year, for new installments. A few of the later ones have…well…they haven’t exactly lived up to my high expectations.

When I started reading this one, at one point, I was like, “wow, this is like a modern-day marriage” I have felt like just walking away recently from Reacher. I’ve stayed out of loyalty to the past. At one point, I saw a glimpse of the man I used to love so much.

I feel like I’ve known all of Reacher’s habits, bad and good, that I’ve taken them for granted….and perhaps even been a bit annoyed with them.

Isn’t this what happens in long-term (hey!!! ALMOST 20 YEARS!!!! REMEMBER???) People change…they get bored…I’ve changed…and Reacher hasn’t…but that’s my side of the story. There are always two sides. Reacher has changed as well. And we’ve both remained the same…

So I really enjoyed this book…but now I question everything. Did I hate some of the others because I was in a dull spot in our relationship? Did I love this one because I’ve missed our relationship?

Yea, I know…I’ve went way off base here and tangents galore…but bottom line is, I’m glad I’ve stuck with Reacher…and I don’t plan on bailing ship anytime soon…I’m in it for the long run…even if sometimes I get bored…and annoyed…and I question his motives…I trust at the end of the day, Reacher is Reacher and just doing the things he does to provide his sort of justice…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Night School by Lee Child

Review: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

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I’ve heard it said that the entire young adult genre is one big cliche.  Story after story of young people depressed, suicidal, on drugs, bullied or bullying, and so on.  Admittedly, I’ve even thought the same thing myself a time or two.  But books such as this one remind us that there’s a reason these stories continue to be written.

Charlie is a cutter.  Not just your run-of-the-mill-make-a-few-scratches cutter.  She cuts so deeply and so often that little of her skin remains pristine.  And the last time sent her to an inpatient facility for treatment.  Now she’s being released.  Not because she’s been cured, but because there’s no money left to pay for treatment.  If only she could depend on her mom for help, but no.  So she finds herself back out on the streets.  And she’d likely find herself in the same dangerous situation as before if not for the help of one friend who gives her the promise of a fresh start in a fresh place.

If only things were that simple.  Her new life is filled with obstacles she has no idea how to handle.  She doesn’t know how to live on her own, unless it’s on the streets.  She’s never been very good at making and keeping new friends.   And her coping mechanisms leave something to be desired.  When she thinks she finds love, it’s not a good thing.  Because two damaged souls together are destined for trouble.

This book was oh so very good for so very many reasons.  It doesn’t feel preachy or condescending, but instead reads like a true to life tale.  The story alternates in traditional verse and an almost poetic style of writing.  Charlie is so sad and has lived such a hard life. You want her to succeed.  If only you could climb into the pages of the book and hold her hand. One of the best stories I’ve read in a very long time!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Girl in Pieces

Review: Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

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Such an intriguing title, and such an ambiguous beginning.  Two girls, both blonde, in a hospital.  One’s in a bed, one is not.  The question is, just which girl is which?

Kate.  Rising up from the ashes, working to better herself, crafting a master plan from day one never to be dissuaded from it.  She’s had a hard life.  Orphaned in theory, dad in prison for killing her mom.  She’s become very good at taking care of herself.  The perfect image is everything, and Kate is very good at it.  When she enters a new school, she sets her eyes on the prize.  She knows exactly who to target.

Olivia.  Poor little rich girl, mom dead, dad loving but always working.  She’s harboring a secret, one that took her away from school for an entire year.  Now back, she’s determined to finish her senior year while at the same time keeping everyone from getting too close.  When she and Kate happen upon each other, they feel like two lost souls destined to become friends.

As the story progresses, we’re left to wonder just who is in charge?  And who is being played?  Sometimes I thought it was Kate, sometimes I thought it was Olivia.  And even after finishing the story I’m not entirely convinced it wasn’t indeed both.

The story switches back and forth between Kate and Olivia, giving each girl her own stage from which to tell their perspective.  And some chapters blend the two combining their stories into one.  This isn’t a distraction and works well.  The author does an excellent job of giving us enough but not giving away too much until the very last pages.  Then it all comes together splendidly.  Still, I’m left wondering if the door remains ajar for a possible sequel?

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Beware That Girl