Review: The Family at Number 13 by S.D. Monaghan

I think this would’ve been really good as a short story. It had a few clever little bits here and there, it definitely had some psychologically disturbed characters, and it had a little grisliness. However, it also had a lot of extraneous detail (I decided to just skim a few pages in each chapter, didn’t miss much) and some plot points that made me go “hmmmm” — and not in a good way.

I think this book just needed an editor. An editor to make the author get rid of the cheesy parts, tighten up all that description that led nowhere, and perhaps not have the main “problem” revolve around a trampoline in the back yard. Really. (And I use the trampoline as the euphemism for all the things that happen in relation to that trampoline, but I don’t want to spoil the plot, so I’ll remain vague.)

Anyway, this is an okay book, fairly entertaining, and somewhat of a psychological thriller… but again, might be best if born again as a short story.

-calliope

Buy THE FAMILY AT NUMBER 13

Advertisements

Review: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

32571395

High school can be a killer.  Literally in this story by Karen M. McManus.  I mean, my time in high school was no walk in the park but I never had to deal with the mysterious death of a classmate…

Five kids walk into detention.  Only four walk out.  Each of the survivors had their own reasons for wanting Simon dead.  Let’s be honest, he wasn’t really a nice person.  As the creator of a popular gossip app, his specialty was finding out the deepest darkest secrets and putting them out there for the world to see.  But killing him seems to be taking things a bit too far.  When everyone’s a suspect, who can you really trust?

A good story, entirely plausible in today’s world of instant gratification and immediate access to all kinds of info good and bad.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  One of Us Is Lying

Review: The Memory of Butterflies by Grace Greene

33987795

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  I sometimes get behind in my book reviews.  And then when it’s time to write those reviews, a sufficient amount of time has passed that my memory is a bit hazy on some of the finer details.  Surely that never happens to anyone else, right?  Such is the case with this book by Grace Greene.  Several months have gone by since I finished it.  Several months in which many other books were read.  I’m not going to try to bluff my way through a detailed review.  I’m just going to say that I absolutely loved this story.  It’s full of family love and heartbreak, secrets revealed and still hidden.  It tugs at your heartstrings.  So read it.  And don’t wait as long as I did to review it!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Memory of Butterflies

Review: Pearl by Jo Knowles

9462571

I love Jo Knowles.  Some of my favorite books ever were written by her.  See You at Harry’s is one I won’t forget, and if you haven’t read it you really should.  But this review is about one of her older ones, Pearl.

Pearl and Henry are best friends.  One of the things they have in common is the strangeness of their mothers, although they’re nothing alike.  Henry’s mother is hugely overweight and doesn’t leave the house.  Pearl’s mother is not very involved, to put it mildly.  Luckily Pearl has grandfather Gus, the stable force in her life. But then Gus dies.  And in addition to being without the only parent she’s really had, Pearl now has to deal with family secrets that she never would have dreamed of.

This won’t go down as one of my favorites from this author.  Parts of the story were farfetched.  But the brilliant writing style of  Knowles more than makes up for that.

~Thalia

Buy it Now:  Pearl

Review: Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

27065377

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