Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

 

Title: Bonfire

Author: Krysten Ritter

Pages: 288

Publisher: Penguin Platform

Published: 2017 (Today!)

Source: ARC (Thanks to Penguin Platform!)

Rating: ★★★.5


Should you ever go back?

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends–just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret–a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.


I was very kindly sent a copy of Bonfire which I hadn’t heard much about but sounded like an interesting read. Plus, it’s by none other than Krysten Ritter who you may know as Jessica Jones.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this book. You may have seen my review of Otherworld, partially written by the actor Jason Segel, and you may remember that I didn’t even know he wrote books. This is exactly the same thing. This is Krysten’s first book but I absolutely had no idea that she was even writing one! Like Jason Segel, she is an actor, and like I am with all famous people that write books, I mostly just didn’t know what to expect from this book but I went into it with a clear head. The only thing was that after watching Krysten in Jessica Jones, she sort of took on the form of Abby, the main character. So basically, Krysten Ritter/Jessica Jones is Abby to me.

Bonfire was a pretty decent mystery novel to be honest. It clocks in at under 300 pages making it a rapid read. I was pleasantly surprised by it and the writing flowed really well. Abby doesn’t have many friends but she does have interactions with many people throughout the book. Her relationship with her father is complicated and the communications she has with people that she went to school with are sort of strained due to how they treated her before. I think that seeing Abby come back to her home town as someone who has really progressed and made it ‘big’ in comparison to the others who she went to school with is pretty cool and I liked that just because she had really improved on herself within the last 10 years, Abby didn’t come back and start being malicious or horrible to the people who had been to her.

This book follows along the mystery behind Optimal Plastics but is part of something a whole lot bigger which really begins to develop within the last 100-120 pages. As one question was answered, another came up in it’s place but by the end of this book, all of the questions were answered which tied off quite nicely. The writing in this flowed well and the plot followed along great. There were times when I felt myself start to drop off a bit but this book is mostly fast paced. There were a couple of characters that popped up that I’d have liked to have seen more of ad other characters that I’d have liked to have seen less of.

I did feel that this book was ever so slightly rushed at times and especially at the end, as it felt a little like ‘oh, case closed so that’s that’. There are a couple of questions that I personally do have and that I felt this book could have definitely answered, but honestly it’s ok. It wrapped up fairly well and is a good standalone novel.

All in all, I found this to be an enjoyable book and a pretty quick read. It’s a decent mystery story and whilst I had my suspicions, it wasn’t entirely predictable which is definitely what you want from a mystery book!

 

You can see more of my pictures (like above!) here!

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October Wrap Up

October has been a pretty busy month for me. I started a new job on the 2nd and have spent a large chunk of my time studying for 2 exams that I have in November! Surprisingly I actually have managed to read 8 books, 3 of which are graphic novels. I am currently reading The Diviners, but there was absolutely no way I was going to finish that book before the end of October! Pretty much all of the books I read in October were ARCs or finished copies of books that weren’t out when I read them.

Reading total: 8         Books this year: 50

I’m super proud that I’ve read 50, I just need to read 10 more to reach my new goal of 60 books which I am hoping I can do but with 3 exams within the space of a month, I’m not entirely sure that’s possible. I think I’m just going to have to go crazy reading over Christmas!

Graphic Novels:

The Walking Dead Graphic novels 1-3. I won’t be reviewing these on my blog, but I currently have the first compendium in my possession which includes 8 comics. 3 down, 5 to go!

Books:

A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke – This was an anticipated 2017 read and it didn’t disappoint!


Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller – I quite enjoyed this one! It was different to anything I’ve read before.

The Book Will (Help You) Change the World by Sue Turton – This was definitely interesting and educational. I strongly feel that this book should be available in schools.


Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn (aka noodlerella) – This one was ok, but I felt it was a little too young for me and perhaps aimed at tween readers.

Mr Sinful by Serenity Woods – There is no picture for this one because I read it on my Kindle app. Honestly I don’t read much New Adult, just because I prefer YA and have a lot more YA books to read but I tend to get through NA books really quickly. I mean that’s probably because they’re quite short but I think I got through this in about 3.5 hours. If only I had that reading speed for every book I read!

 

So there’s my October update! I’ve had a decent reading month, but it wouldn’t have been so good if it wasn’t for the graphic novels that I read. I sort of felt like I was cheating a bit by noting down the graphic novels but hey, I still read them so it definitely counts! Hope you guys all had a great reading month too! 🙂

Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn

 

Title: Undercover Princess

Author: Connie Glynn

Pages: 384

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Published: 2017 (Today!)

Source: ARC (Thanks to Penguin!)

Rating: ★★


When fairy tale obsessed Lottie Pumpkin starts at the infamous Rosewood Hall, she is not expecting to share a room with the Crown Princess of Maradova, Ellie Wolf. Due to a series of lies and coincidences, 14-year-old Lottie finds herself pretending to be the princess so that Ellie can live a more normal teenage life.

Lottie is thrust into the real world of royalty – a world filled with secrets, intrigue and betrayal. She must do everything she can to help Ellie keep her secret, but with school, the looming Maradovian ball and the mysterious new boy Jamie, she’ll soon discover that reality doesn’t always have the happily ever after you’d expect…


Undercover Princess is written by YouTuber Connie Glynn, aka noodlerella. I’ll admit I had never actually heard of Connie Glynn until this year. They were given out ARCs at YALC for this book, I believe but because I hadn’t heard of it before, I just grabbed a sampler instead. Penguin reached out to me about whether I’d like to review this so I said yes because it sounded as if it would be a quick and cute read. Something that I enjoy in between large fantasy books or just to get me out a slump. Unfortunately, I just found it to be ok. I loved the cover, it is honestly gorgeous and it definitely matches this cutesy story inside. I would like to mention that it isn’t all cutesy, there is a slight tinge of mystery and mayhem added to it, but for the most part, it is pretty cutesy and aimed at younger readers than myself.

In this book, we follow Lottie Pumpkin and her time at Rosewood boarding school. She worked incredibly hard to get into the school and she promised her mother she’d go there. That’s about the only reason we have for her going to this school. I’m not sure if perhaps her mother attended but I was itching to know exactly why she wanted to go to this school – was there a reason or did she just like it? At Rosewood, Lottie makes several friends and becomes best friends with Ellie Wolf, the Princess of Maradova. I honestly have no clue where this ‘Maradova’ place is/was supposed to be. All we know is that you have to fly to get there, but I have no idea where it is and I know a couple of others on Goodreads have commented on this. Also just to comment on this, seeing as it’s a 4 hour (maybe? The book does say) plane ride to Maradova, I’m suspecting it’s not anywhere surrounding England.

I found that this book happened to just be a little too young for me. For starts, the characters are 14/15 years old. I am 22. That is a 7/8 year difference. Yes, I was that age once but my experience was quite different and I found Lottie to be a little whiny. Yes, she was hard working and dedicated which is great but I also felt that she was just a little bit childish and almost obsessed with making sure to please everyone. I also thought that she was a bit selfish at times, not telling people things so that her room mate wouldn’t be taken away from her. I sympathised that she didn’t want to lose a friend but at the same time, she needed to just grow up a little.

Then there was the issue of her ‘best friend’ back home in Cornwall. For someone who has been friends with someone for such a long time, you’d expect them to keep well in contact. No, no, definitely not. The pupils at Rosewood are not allowed mobile phones, so fine, that’s ok. But have these people not heard of letters? I believe a letter is mentioned once and that’s it.

Another issue I had: the plot twist at the end. It was semi-predictable and the whole thing was just incredibly obvious. Well, for the most part it was. I became particularly frustrated at how naive Lottie was being when she received a note off someone, thinking that someone else had sent it. I really just thought ‘how can you be so stupid?’. It would seem that Lottie is very strong academically but lacks a little common sense at times.

If I’m being honest, the best thing about this book for me is the cover. I adore the cover and think it’s absolutely gorgeous but unfortunately, the story inside is just not for me and that’s disappointing as I was actually looking forward to this one. If you pick this one up, I hope you have more fun reading it than me!

You can see more of my pictures (like above!) here!

Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

 

Title: Otherworld

Author: Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Pages: 355

Publisher: Rock The Boat

Published: 2017 (Today!)

Source: Publisher (Thank you so much, Rock the Boat!)

Rating: ★★★.5 


The company says Otherworld is amazing–like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive–that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.
Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.

And it’s about to change humanity forever.

Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.


I’ll start with this: this book surprised me as I enjoyed it a whole lot more than I expected. I saw it YALC back in July and it had a really interesting, shiny cover and it sounded pretty interesting. Now I thought I would like this book, but I wasn’t entirely sure about what to expect as it’s written by Jason See and Kirsten Miller. Jason Segel is an actor, I’ve only seen him in How I Met Your Mother and The Five Year Engagement, but because of this I wasn’t sure of how well written it would be. It turns out the Jason Segel has done a hell of a lot more writing than I even knew about. And just to add, the writing in this book wasn’t a disappointment at all. In fact, I quite enjoyed it.

I’ve turned a bit ‘harsh’ with starring my reviews so I was actually a little torn between 3.5 stars and 4 stars. 3 being liked and 4 being enjoyed/loved. I wouldn’t say I loved it, but I definitely liked and enjoyed this one so it’s currently sat at a 3.5 stars! Mostly because whilst I did enjoy this book, at some parts I felt like I was starting to drop off with it. That may have been more a case of it’s not you, it’s me with this book, but I’ve been in an ok reading mood lately so I’m not sure!

Otherworld started off strong and was really interesting. It has such a great story line. It focuses on the main character, Simon, who got into a bit of trouble and is trying to essentially win his best friend back. There’s a huge corporation called the Company who creates this virtual reality game called Otherworld. Now something that I really liked about this story is that it is hugely relatable for the current technology that we have. Virtual reality is a thing of now and games becoming even more realistic is something that will inevitably happen in the not too distant future.

This book follows Simon on a quest through Otherworld in order to save his friendship and his best friend. Otherworld has so many different elements to it and sounds like a a game that could be played now. It’s a contemporary featuring a lot of time spent in virtual reality but it has a total different element to it. It’s not just watching someone game, there is a full quest to follow and a lot of evil working in the background which leads to the quest! Despite the fact that Simon doesn’t have many friends, there are a lot of characters in this. A lot of them do come and go

This book has themes of friendship, troubled family relationships, ‘illness’ and death. I say illness but I’m not sure how to describe it. I mean like getting hurt as in breaking a bone or something. Can you tell I’m bad at explaining things? Simon doesn’t have many friends but the friendships he does have, mostly just one in particularly, he values more than anything else. He really doesn’t get on much with his mother or father, going so far to even use some family history against his own mother at one point in the book. It’s not a big deal, it’s more that his mother is a bit of a snob and has completely reinvented herself away from her family. In fact, both Simon’s mother and father weren’t that great to me. They had no regard for Simon, he had little support from them and it’s probably a good thing that Simon was a little rebellious when it came to them.

Honestly, the only thing I had a problem with is that this book started off super strong but I felt it started to dip a bit further into it and I really just wanted things to happen a little bit sooner.

This is the first book in a series – I’m not sure if it’s a duology or has more books but there are a few questions that have come from this book that I would like answered! All in all, I would definitely recommend this, particularly if you’re looking for a contemporary read involving gaming/virtual reality and a mission.

You can see more of my pictures (like above!) here!

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

 

Title: One of Us is Lying

Author: Karen M. McManus

Pages: 368

Publisher: Penguin

Published: 2017

Source: Bought

Rating: ★★★★


One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.


I tried so hard not to buy this book, but in the end I just could not resist. I mean, I am a bookworm after all, and don’t we all have basically no self-control when it comes to books? (Especially when they have sprayed edges, don’t judge).

One of Us is Lying really intrigued me. I enjoy murder mystery books and with this one being a contemporary novel, I really wanted to try it out. I downloaded a sample of it onto my Kindle while I was away and I did begin to read it but then I was a little worried that I’d get way to into it within those 4 pages they give you to sample and then I’d be upset because I couldn’t read the rest of it. So I ignored it on my Kindle and then when I got back, I’d gaze at it longingly in the bookshop. Then the author attended Yale and I was thinking about it again. After YALC, I just kept coming back to it and I read the first chapter in the bookshop and that was it. I had to buy it. I could no longer resist it. I’m glad I did pick it up. It was an interesting read and, as always with contemporary books, fairly quick.

This book starts off with 5 kids in detention and only 4 come out. It is assumed that one of the four kids murdered the other kid, however, they all deny it. One of them must be lying. This book follows each of the four kids over a small period of time and how they deal with being accused of murder. Now the reason that one of them must be behind the murder is because they all have a motive. This book follows them every day while the deal with the mess of being accused to their fellow classmates murder and jumps between multiple points of views. I can’t really decide who my favourite character was out of the four. Possibly Nate, because he seemed quite misunderstood. I felt that all four characters grew throughout this book and that their relationships with each other grew throughout this.

This book was fairly fast paced. The different points of view kept the pace up throughout the book which made it a relatively quick read. The writing was also pretty good and genuine for the age of the characters.

There was a twist at the end of this book and I honestly wasn’t totally shocked by it. I wasn’t that sure who did it, but I wasn’t that surprised when I found out who. One part of it definitely made sense, while the other part seemed a little bit more like it needed piecing together for the characters and us to understand.

Overall, I found this book to be enjoyable and I would recommend it. But please don’t ‘accidentally’ (it wasn’t an accident at all and I feel very guilty about it) read forward and spoil the book for yourself, because the twist was a little unexpected!

You can see more of my pictures (like above!) here!

Invictus by Ryan Graudin

 

Title: Invictus

Author: Ryan Graudin

Pages: 454

Publisher: Orion

Published: 2017

Source: ARC from YALC (Thank you TeamBkmrk!)

Rating: ★★★★★


Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems


I’ll be honest and admit that I hadn’t even known that Ryan Graudin had a new book coming out until I was told about it at YALC, on the morning that these books were dropped. I felt a little bad that I managed to nab one of these, considering the line was SO long. However, I did read Wolf by Wolf on one of the many European trains that we had to take and enjoyed that so had to get my hands on this one. Not to mention it’s a mash up of History and Sci-Fi, so I just had to have it!

This book has mentioned in the same sentence as Dr. Who and I do agree to an extent, but it’s not quite like Dr. Who. I used to love watching that TV program, but this felt like something more. Plus, the crew is made up of 4 people, rather than the Doctor and his sidekick(s).

I was not left feeling disappointed by this book at all. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this fantastic book, but I just fell in love with it. With the inclusion of the Titanic, I knew immediately that I would enjoy this book. It featured historic events, heists and an amazing crew. It basically had me wishing that time travel actually existed, although it’s probably a good thing that it doesn’t!

The writing in this book was so good. The pacing was kept up which left me wanting more and the chapters were a decent length which kept me happy. We also get multiple point of views throughout this book which I quite enjoyed. I think my favourite character was Imogen. From the colourful hair down to her personality, I loved her.

The characters in this book were so good. I honestly wish that they existed in real life because I would love to actually know them. They all had a personality of their own and worked together so well. There was even the feature of a red panda, which I thought was such a funny addition to this book! Farway McCarthy is the first main character we meet in this book, and it’s basically down to him that this book happens. Well, technically it’s down to him, but not really. You’ll understand more as you read this book. As I said, Imogen was my favourite character in this book, but the others followed closely behind.

The plot of this book was just fantastic. It flowed into each other so well, and I loved being transported to so many different settings with the crew. The ending was also something I enjoyed. I do want answers following the ending, but it does come to quite a nice and satisfying close. That is a good thing because this book is a standalone and I would be quite sad if it had been left on a cliffhanger.

I would most definitely recommend this book, especially if you are a lover of History and time travel. It’s such an enjoyable and fast paced book and I had a pleasure reading it!

You can see more of my pictures (like above!) here!

Spooky Reads!


Ok, maybe not spooky reads as such. Let’s be honest, I am a total wuss when it comes to anything scary, like movies. I mean, I watched one small clip from IT with no sound on for most of it and still squealed every time the clown came on the screen. I have since refused to watch it and am known on occasion to dash from the car into my house when I get home at night just in case Pennywise (or the Woman in Black) are behind me. So yes, scary movies are not my thing. I also tend to stay away from scary books because I feel like words really get in your head and I am just not here for someone using scary stuff to mess with my brain. Noooo, thank you.

However, I have gathered up some reads that you may (or may not) want to pick up this October. I personally do enjoy a good murder mystery myself, and so I have included a few in this list, although there are a few other books that you may find more interesting.

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling


Although I have only included the first book in this series on my October reads list, I can’t think of a better month in the year to start reading the whole series! The first book has a chapter called Halloween, so it’s perfect! I really just wish I could be transported to Hogwarts to take part in their Halloween feast. But hey, at least this candle by PaperFlamesCo gives me an idea of what the delicious treats may smell like!

Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco


My love for this series (so far) knows no bounds. I fell in love with Stalking Jack the Ripper and it took me all of one page to fall in love with Hunting Prince Dracula. I just love Kerri Maniscalco’s characters, writing, plots, just everything. I am a sucker for a Victorian murder mystery, I must admit. Especially when they are based on murder mysteries that existed! Example: Jack the Ripper! Oh, also! There are pictures featured in these books. If you are a little squeamish, perhaps skip over the pictures but definitely do not skip over this book! There is definitely another book coming out following Hunting Prince Dracula however I am not sure after that. Honestly, I just wish Kerri would write about my main pals, Audrey and Thomas, forever.

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly


Another murder mystery. I just cannot help myself. This time this one is set in a similar period, but in New York. I quite enjoyed this book and felt that it was quite unique. I enjoyed the characters and the investigation part into the murders. Definitely would recommend this one if you want a mystery combined with a historical fiction!

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman


Wow, I am really bringing out the Historical stops today! Again, another book set in a different time period. Although not so much a mystery, but more paranormal. It almost reminded me a little of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! I am yet to read the second book of this series, however I would definitely recommend the first book!

City of Bones and City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare


This one features Shadowhunters, Demons, Vampires, Werewolves, Warlocks, Faeries and god knows what else I’ve forgotten. There is a lot to this paranormal world and although I have only read the first two, so can’t fully recommend the series, I do like what I have read so far so I would recommend this if you want something in a more realistic setting but still featuring the paranormal.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater


I am a little bad as I still haven’t read the last book in this series to read. In this series, we have our favourite little crew from Henrietta featuring the famous Blue and Gansey. You’ve probably heard of these two before. This book is, like City of Bones, set in the real world but features the paranormal world, including ghosts and speaking forests. Although I didn’t have the best time reading the second book, which most people say is their favourite, I have really enjoyed the first and third book from this series and I’m really excited to read the final book!

This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet by V. E. Schwab


This duology includes monsters. That should explain well enough that this could be read in October. These monsters are essentially born from a variety of tragedies. Though these books do feature much more than just monsters, including emotional and mental strains but also relationships, this book does show the brutality of monsters and how essentially our actions as humans have the power to create these monsters. I would fully recommend these books if you’re looking for something that can make you think, or if you’re looking for a book/books that will draw you in and not let you go until you’ve finished this duology.

Hopefully there are a few recommendations here that you may not have read before. If so, please do let me know if you’re planning to pick any of these books up! Especially if it’s my fave, Stalking Jack the Ripper!