Friday, 7 August 2015

Mysteries, Mazes and Missy Johnson

I had a bit of a reading slump this week, unfortunately. The load of work that's been tossed at us in these first two weeks back at school is ludicrous - borderline illegal, I swear! And it really has been eating into my reading time. I did manage to get some books read though. And some good ones too!

I was hoping to get more ARCs read this week for ARC August but I have only read two and a novella. I'll do a proper update on Sunday though. How are you guys keeping up with your TBR? I haven't been following mine at all. Oops!


25613362Blonde Eyes, Blue Hair
by Karin Slaughter

A missing girl in the news reminds Julia Carroll of herself: nineteen, beautiful, blonde hair, blue eyes. 

Julia begins to dig deeper and plans an article for her college paper. She gradually becomes more obsessed with the case, never imagining how close she herself is to danger. 

Goodreads | Amazon

Still available from Edelweiss (review copies) if you are interested. Click here.

Review copy provided by Witness Impulse for an honest review.

I haven't actually read a Karin Slaughter book before, and decided that I could no longer call myself a fan of mysteries and thrillers if I did not pick up one her books this year. And, once I saw this book, I thought what better way to introduce onself to a new author than with a short little story, something like Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes

This story was everything I hoped for.  Yes, it was short. Yes, I could have done with a lot more story, but that's just me being greedy. The story reached a natural conclusion - well, kind of. The is a cliffhanger, but I didn't feel cheated by it like I normally do with stories like this.  

In a few short pages, I felt that we really got to know our protagonist, Julia. I loved the way her narration had this honest and realistic tone, especially about Julia's family and relationship. Oh, and the fact that Julia's prettiness actually hindered her - not in a "I'm so pretty so all the guys swoon over me. Gosh, isn't life so hard" sort of way like we see way too often in YA fiction. It didn't sugar coat anything, telling it just like it is, which I just adored. 

The writing was really quite gripping and easily pulled you in. You knew something big was going to happen so the way the story built up that level of suspense until we were practically begging for the big event to happen already was perfect. 

I can easily say that I am now more than eager to pick up Slaughter's newest release, Pretty Girls


by Alexandra Monir

There's something hidden in the Maze. 

Seventeen-year-old Imogen has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family's English country manor. 

Haunted by her parent's death, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives with the news of her cousin's untimely death, revealing that Imogen is now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily accepts her role as duchess.

All is not what it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion's aristocratic exterior, hinting that the spate of deaths in her family were no accident. And at the centre of the mystery is Imogen herself - and Sebastian, the childhood friend she has secretly loved for years. Just what has Imogen walked into?  

Plot: The storyline of Suspicion certainly had me engaged. Parts I and II had quite the addictive quality to them, though the Part III was a little too rushed for my liking. I was constantly guessing and reevaluating my theories though. No matter how many times I was 100% certain I knew what was happening, the book would take a new direction that I honesty didn't see coming.

The ending really took me by surprise, and I love that! Predictable endings are a pet peeve of mine - no one likes knowing what is going to happen, do they? But, like I said, the ending was a little rushed and I wasn't too happy with how the paranormal and romantic elements were resolved. 

The writing: was the major downfall of this novel. I honestly believe that if the writing style was more of leerie yet poetic style of someone like Maggie Stiefvater - that captured the Gothic elements of the novel - then it would have helped to create an even more engrossing atmosphere, and maybe improved the ending too. 

Characters: I know most people found Imogen, our protagonist, to be somewhat annoying but I just found her to be a decent character. There is nothing excessively positive I can say about her, but there were also no traits of her that I had problems with. 

Romance: Nothing really to comment on. There wasn't a lot of romance, and I wasn't really a fan of it anyway. It wasn't instalove so that's a plus, but I still found it a tad too dramatic for my liking.


21855596Out of Reach
by Missy Johnson

My best friend was dying and I was in love with his girl. 

Andy and I have been best friends since we were eight years old. Watching him slowly fade away, ever closer to his final breath, made me so incredibly angry. I knew there was nothing I could do to change it - I had given in to despair, but Andy had not. He had one final hand to play. He wasn't simply sit back and wait for Death to claim him - not Andy. He was going to live life until he couldn't hold his eyes open any longer.  

Andy didn't want to die in some sterile hospital and asked me to take him and Emily to the beach. It would be our last road trip together. 

Emily. Emily has a problem for me. I harbored a secret that would have torn our friendship apart. I was in love with Andy's girl, and had been since she'd walked into our sixth grade class, so many years ago. So what kind of person am I? My best friend is dying, and it's awful - but my heart still aches for his girl. I hate myself for thinking beyond Andy's death and there could ever be a future for Emily and I, but can't help it. 

I'm in love with her. 

I had no idea what this book was about going into it, and I have to say how pleasantly surprised I am that it was such an emotional read. I honestly did not expect that, mainly because of the cover... because let's be real, it looks for like a 'typical NA' book than anything else. But the story definitely caught my attention from the start and the story bloomed from there.  I was never bored, and easily managed to flick through it in a single sitting. 

Character: were what made the story for me. I loved Seth especially. He reminded me so much of a friend from primary school, and that made him so much more realistic - so ultimately more lovable too. Unfortunately, I wasn't a the biggest fan of Andy. I obviously sympathized with him - you would have to have the blackest of souls not to - but there were times I felt that he was there simply to further the plot romance. 

Plot: was also okay, but nothing particularly remarkable. Some chapters felt a little disjointed, especially in the second half where the timing was a little off, skipping every now and again. But the last 10% was better. 

Writing: was what bought this down - mostly - for me. The first 60% or so seemed to be almost completely made up of dialogue, which grew very, very tiring very quickly. I wanted some descriptions of things! And there seemed to be entire chapters consisting of little more than Seth drooling over Emily or Emily reminding us of Andy's misfortunes. The constant repetitions grew quite tiresome.  


Have you read any of these books or other ones by these authors? What were your thoughts on them if you have? 

Let me know you thoughts in the comments below!


  1. It's good to know that two of the three books are ones you could love completely! I have never heard of those two as well. I have heard of Suspicion and although it does sound like the plot is interesting with plenty of plot twists to keep you reading, it's a shame the writing style brings it down somewhat.

    1. I hated heard of the first and last one either - before I was offered them for review, of course! But they took me be surprise. Especially Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes.

  2. I haven't heard any of these books but they all so intriguing, especially Suspicion, because how gorgeous is that cover? The Karin Slaughter title also sounds very suspenseful and engaging, I've been in a such a mood for fantasy! Great reviews <3

    Aentee at Read at Midnight + The Social Potato

    1. I mean mystery, not fantasy, gah! So early in the morning!!

    2. Thanks Aentee! Suspicion's cover IRL is drool-worthy. Honestly, the shading and just... *swoons* And Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes is a thrilling little short story if you're interested, I'd definitely recommend it.