Kirsty's Reviews

Forever reading books

Book Review: Girl Unknown, by Karen Perry.

30844174I received a digital copy of this book for free from the publisher in return for an honest review.

I have a full video review for this book which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRqwX…

It is safe to say this book messed with my mind, which all good psychological thrillers should. The story follows a typical Irish family and gives us multiple perspectives from the family members, although most chapters are from one of the parents perspectives. From David’s point of view, who is the father of the family, we learn that a girl has entered his office and let him know that she thinks he is his daughter. From here the rest of the story develops, and as with many other psychological thrillers, I believe the best way to go into this story is by knowing as little as possible.

This book kept me guessing at every turn, just when I thought I knew what was going to happen next the plot would move in a totally different direction. I love when authors are able to keep you guessing until the very last page and this is definitely one of those reads. The tension that builds throughout is fantastic and keeps you wanting to read on until the early hours of the morning. This is the sort of book you could easily find yourself reading in one sitting, if you have the time.

As this book is told from multiple perspectives, one of the most important aspects for me was that the individual voices must sound different, and I think the authors achieved this well. The character crafting in this novel is wonderful, they all feel believable and individual. They are all fleshed out, and have multiple dimensions to their personalities, meaning that everyone has various different traits for the situations they find themselves in.

I have never read anything by either of the authors from this pen name, or any other titles by this pen name, but I hope to change this in the future. I highly recommend this book if you want a more domestic based psychological thriller.

4 stars out of 5

Advanced Review: Big Mushy Happy Lump(Sarah’s Scribbles #2), by Sarah Andersen

51nvsyl-0ll-_sx404_bo1204203200_I received a digital copy of this book for free from the publishers via NetGalley in return for an honest review. This book is due to be published 7th March 2017.

I read the first volume of Sarah’s Scribbles last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, so when I saw a chance to read and review this volume I couldn’t resist. This collection is even better than the last, and covers so many important topics, making it fun, but also a must read. Topics covered in this volume include social anxiety, self perception and relationships, all told in a fun comic scribble style.

What I loved most about this collection of scribbles is how I could identify to so many of the pages. For readers it is so important to read books that you can identify with, and this one really hits the mark. Whether it be wanting to steal my boyfriends hoodies, as they are clearly more comfortable than mine, or whether it be getting that correct angle on a selfie so that I don’t have ten thousand chins. This book explores fun topics, and also more serious topics in a clever and reassuring manner. As you read the pages and giggle to yourself at the scribbles, you realise you aren’t alone, that what you feel about various different experiences in life are common feelings, you basically learn that you are ‘normal’.

While this book works as a standalone, I would highly recommend you read the first book in this collection first, as I think you will get the most out of the books this way. These books help you find confidence in how you relate to so many everyday problems, yet in a humorous and somehow also still sensitive way. I can’t recommend this book enough, and if you are trying to decide whether to read it or not, I highly recommend you just jump on in.

5 stars out of 5

Review: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett, by Chelsea Sedoti

30014132I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

This is a YA contemporary novel with a mystery aspect to it where we follow a seventeen year old girl named Hawthorn. In this book a girl who was a few years older than her in school called Lizzie goes missing while camping in some local woods. Hawthorn decides that she is going to try and solve the mystery of what happened to Lizzie, though her mission to do this leads her on an obsessive path. Hawthorn starts to integrate herself into every aspect of Lizzie’s life, which includes taking her job and also befriending Lizzie’s boyfriend.

This is the most annoying novel I have read, possibly ever! I found myself having a very strong hatred towards Hawthorn for most of the story, she is a horrible person who spends most her time obsessed over Lizzie and the rest of her time just totally self absorbed. I saw some real progression in Hawthorn’s character throughout the book which, looking back was done in a clever way. The author can write very well, which is a saving grace for this novel in the early stages. I would have struggled to get through the early chapters if the writing had been poor because I just disliked Hawthorn far too much. One particular theory she has for what may have happened to Lizzie is so out there, and so ridiculous that I had my concerns that this book was going to take a terrible turn and just ruin the entire story for me. I shouldn’t have worried though, as this was all essential to the story and also necessary for the character growth of Hawthorn.

The other characters in this book are equally interesting and also well developed. I loved the character of Rush, who is Hawthorn’s very patient older brother. He is always there for Hawthorn, even though she doesn’t appreciate it and doesn’t even realise it most of the time. His best friend Connor, is just fantastic too. He seems to be mature for his years, and I loved how he always saw the best in Hawthorn, which helped redeem her character to me on several occasions. Emily, which is Hawthorn’s best friend, deserves some sort of medal for being able to tolerate Hawthorn even when she is at her most obnoxious stages. She is a strong character, who I daresay is too loyal for her own good, though through her own character development this loyalty does get thrown into question. Then we have Enzo, he is Lizzie’s boyfriend, and also a bit of a loner it would seem. He appears to have no support network of his own. Never is there any mention of his own family or him having any other friends. His character helps convey such a strong message through this book and I saw it as a sign of what Hawthorn could have as her own empty life in the future if she didn’t learn to appreciate her own friends and family. For a twenty five year old to hang out with a seventeen year old it really does show how desperate his life has become, along with how empty and broken his life is. Enzo really is a character I could discuss at great lengths, but I don’t want to expose any spoilers in this review, so I will leave my assessment and judgement of his character there. Lizzie is also an incredibly interesting character, she represents everything that many of us feel throughout our lives, as she is that girl that we all wanted to be at school. Her life appears so perfect, Hawthorn thinks everyone loves Lizzie, as she is popular and pretty. This book teaches the reader, that just because someone appears to be living the most fantastic life ever, they may not be. You cannot possibly know everything about a persons life, you only see a small snippet of many peoples lives, you may see something that looks perfect, even though this is not a reality.

This book ties so many themes together in such a clever way, and I went into this book not expecting a great deal. I feel this is an important book for all teenage girls to read. You learn the dangers of obsession, mental health, sexual health, and most importantly of all, to realise that most of us are lucky to have fantastic friends and a fantastic family network around us. You should never take friend and family for granted, if they are a part of your life, then they care about you and not everyone has this to keep them going through life.

The mystery aspect of this book was strong, interesting and thrilling. Other than the ridiculous theory that Hawthorn becomes obsessed with, the plot moves in interesting ways and keeps you on your toes. Several times I came up with a theory myself over what could have happened to Lizzie, and my favourite idea turned out to be false.

Overall, this was the sort of read that is going to stick with me for a long time to come. I highly recommend this book, and I can’t wait to try something else by this author.

5 stars out of 5

One Week Down!

Well, this first week of 2017 has absolutely flown by! How has your first week of reading gone? It’s safe to say I am having one of the best reading weeks of my life. I have already read ten books, and I can’t wait to see how many I can complete by the end of January.

I have uploaded two more videos since my last post, so here are links to each of those, just in case you wanted to check them out.

First of all, we have my top ten reads of 2016:

This list was difficult for me to compile, mainly because my reading year was so poor. I did read a handful of good books in 2016, many of those in the list were fantastic. I just found it difficult to remember the good books, as my mind was so bogged down by the bad.

The other video I have uploaded recently is my book haul from Christmas. I didn’t receive many books last year, so for once this book haul is a relatively short one:

 

I may have had a fantastic reading week and indeed year so far but, this has led to me being very behind on reviews. I expect a written review to go up almost everyday this week, as I desperately need to catchup.

Until next time, keep turning those pages.

Weekly Reading Wrap Up #4

Hey, I’m being consistent! Today I filmed and uploaded my first weekly reading wrap up of 2017, which is a wonderful total of three books. I really enjoyed them all, and if you would like to know about what books they were and how much I enjoyed them, please watch the video below.

Happy New Year!

Hi everyone, and happy new year! I can’t believe it’s 2017 already, where did last year go? As usual, I have created a selection of new years bookish resolutions. I have tried to keep it quite casual this year, as last year wasn’t exactly the best reading year of my life. I want to have fun with my reading this year, and this is definitely going to include lots of rereading. Please let me know what reading resolutions you have set yourself for this year, and watch my video below to find out the full extent of my plans.

Book Review: The Bronze Key, by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

13612965This is the third book in the Magisterium series, so this review will be brief so as to avoid spoilers for all three books so far. This series follows a young boy named Callum and his two friends Aaron and Tamara who attend a magic school named The Magisterium. This is a middle grade novel, but certainly has its darker elements to it and is often compared to Harry Potter.

This is possibly my least favourite book in the series so far, although I still did really enjoy this one. I just didn’t connect with the characters quite so much in this novel, it is an emotional rollercoaster (that ending!!), and should have led to tears, and yet I didn’t cry or feel overly sad at the events.

I must say though, this one had such a strong mystery aspect to the story, which really gripped me and had me staying up until the early hours in order to find out what would happen. I could have easily read this book in one sitting, had time permitted. There were many mysterious twists and turns, some I correctly predicted but, many I did not.

The plot picks up not long after the second book finishes, and the authors did a fine job of reminding you of what happened in the previous books. Though this is a necessary thing, I did find it made settling down into the plot of this one a little more tedious and slow. Once things got going though, they really got going!

Overall, this is still a strong edition to this series and I’m so desperate for the next book to come out.

 4 stars out of 5

Advanced Book Review: House of Silence, by Sarah Barthel

29895193I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

This book is due to be published 27 December 2016.

This is a historical fiction set in 1875 in America and follows the story of a young woman named Isabelle who is engaged to a man named Gregory. Isabelle is excited at the thought of her future lifestyle that she will have from marrying him, this is until she witnesses him commit a terrible crime. Isabelle’s mother doesn’t believe her about the crime and tries to still force Isabelle to go through with the marriage. As Isabelle is genuinely terrified for her life, she sees no way out of the situation except to get herself admitted to an asylum. From here we follow Isabelle as she lives in fear for her life, surrounded by women who all have psychological issues and struggling to keep up the pretence of her own illness.

I expected to enjoy this novel because it is several of my favourite genres mixed into one exciting and thrilling story. I loved the historical aspect, and the research that the author went into for this book is just fantastic. A character that gets introduced to the reader in the asylum, genuinely got admitted to that asylum at that time. The doctor and his wife are also based upon the real people who ran the asylum too. The expectations of society and the social circles were also accurately portrayed and did an excellent job of portraying what was expected of a young woman of that particular social hierarchy.

The mystery and psychological aspect of the story were also equally captivating and well written. The story would take twist after twist and I feared for Isabelle’s life for a lot of the book. I wanted to understand everything about Gregory and how Isabelle would solve the issue with him once and for all. This made for intense reading, and I struggled to put this book down. If I had the time, I think I could have easily read this book in one sitting.

I grew attached to many of the characters, as they all felt so real and believable. Isabelle, is a strong and inspirational young woman and is such a strong character who really embraces her situation. Meanwhile, I fell in love with a character she meets at the asylum named Samuel. He is described as such an attractive character, both in terms of his physical appearance, but also his personality in how desperate he is to help people, especially Isabelle.

I would highly recommend this to fans of historical fiction and thrillers. This is such a fast paced easy read and is definitely one of my favourite books that I have read this year.

5 stars out of 5

Novella Review: The Prince, by Kiera Cass

15820748In this novella you get Maxon’s perspective of the lead up to the Selection and also his first couple of encounters with America and the rest of the young women who are hoping to become his wife. I would recommend not reading this book until you have read at least the first book in the Selection series.

I really enjoyed seeing things from Maxon’s perspective, he is like a breath of fresh air. I honestly could have read a whole novel from his perspective and would have flew through it. This was a quick read and very fast paced.

My main problem with this novella was that I felt like everything was too rushed. You would jump from one scene to the next without ever feeling ready to be moving on. I honestly think that I would have given this five stars if it hadn’t felt so rushed and thrown together. The writing is gripping and the information you can gather from his perspective about the other characters is enlightening.

If you loved The Selection, then you should definitely give this a read.

 4 stars out of 5

Advanced Book Review: Ashes, by Steven Manchester

cover99456-mediumI received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

This book is due to be published 21st February 2017.

This story follows two brothers named Jason and Tom, and their relationship with each other as they complete their deceased fathers wish of taking his Ashes on a long road trip to spread them in a place he has stated in his will. Jason and Tom both hated their father but, they also hate each other and normally never have anything to do with each others lives. This book is told in dual perspectives, so each chapter you see the story from either Jason’s perspective or from Tom’s.

I went into this book knowing very little about it, and I think that made it all the more impactful for me. I knew that there would be a road trip with the brothers and the ashes, and figured it would just be about their journey and feature a few arguments along their way before them completing the task and the story coming to some sort of conclusion. While this is true to an extent, this novel was so much more than that. It was such a character driven story, with flashbacks to their childhoods and the origins of all the families problems and how this has impacted their lives as adults. Jason has a divorce behind him, and Tom’s relationship is on the rocks and they both have tried to use their own experiences of their childhood to be better fathers to their own children. You also get an in-depth look into both mens careers along with why and how they came to be where they are today.

Early on into the road trip I was worried that the narrative was going to take a difficult and hard to believe plot line. To begin with the brothers argue a lot during the journey, and understandably so. My worry came when all of a sudden they seemed to just suddenly start getting along with each other, I was concerned that this was just going to be some sort of instant fix. The story ran so much deeper than this though, with their relationship being so much more complex than I had given the author credit for and so I needn’t have worried.

I could never predict where this story was going to go, in fact I had many predictions that were always wrong. I couldn’t believe how well the author kept me guessing about so many aspects of the plot. There are also more than a couple truly heart wrenching twists that led to a few tears rolling down my cheeks on multiple occasions.

The brothers are both well past middle age, so in theory I shouldn’t have found it so easy to connect emotionally with characters that were closer to my parents age than my own. Yet the writing was so fantastic, and the characters developed in such a wonderful way, that I truly cared about both of these men.

This was not a quick read for me, mainly because so many difficult topics are covered in this book. This is not light reading by any means, yet it covers so many important themes that many of us may have to experience at some point in our lives, and other themes that we would hope to never have to experience. I don’t wish to give any spoilers away in this book, so I can’t go into details on the difficult topics within this novel, but if you do struggle to read about domestic violence, divorce, relationship breakdowns, abandonment, cancer, visiting someone dying and the death of parents or other loved ones along with the spreading of ashes then you may want to give this book a miss. Every difficult topic is discussed in a sensitive and helpful manner and so I would highly recommend you read this book if you can. This was such an emotional journey, and one I will never forget. I can’t wait to try more of this authors writing.

5 stars out of 5