Book Review: The Better Liar


Tanen Jones
rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
published: 6th February 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

How well do you know your family?

Estranged for a decade, sisters Leslie and Robin must reunite if they are to claim the fortune their father left them. Leslie desperately needs that money, but when she arrives at her sister’s apartment, she finds her body instead. Leslie needs another plan. Without Robin, she won’t see a penny.

Mary, an aspiring actress, spends her nights slinging beers at a seedy restaurant. She’d do anything to start her life over. When Leslie offers her a huge sum of money and the chance to be someone else – to be Robin – she takes it.

But Robin’s life isn’t as straightforward as Mary thought it would be. And Leslie seems to have secrets and a past of her own . . .

Told from three perspectives: Leslie, Mary, Robin.

The question is: who is the better liar?

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Book Review: Untamed Shore


Silvia Moreno Garcia
rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
published: 11th February 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Renowned author Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s first thriller, UNTAMED SHORE, is a coming-of-age story set in Mexico which quickly turns dark when a young woman meets three enigmatic tourists.

Baja California, 1979. Viridiana spends her days watching the dead sharks piled beside the seashore, as the fishermen pull their nets. There is nothing else to do, nothing else to watch, under the harsh sun. She’s bored. Terribly bored. Yet her head is filled with dreams of Hollywood films, of romance, of a future beyond the drab town where her only option is to marry and have children.

Three wealthy American tourists arrive for the summer, and Viridiana is magnetized. She immediately becomes entwined in the glamorous foreigners’ lives. They offer excitement, and perhaps an escape from the promise of a humdrum future.

When one of them dies, Viridiana lies to protect her friends. Soon enough, someone’s asking questions, and Viridiana has some of her own about the identity of her new acquaintances. Sharks may be dangerous, but there are worse predators nearby, ready to devour a naïve young woman who is quickly being tangled in a web of deceit.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one of the most exciting voices in fiction, and with her first crime novel, UNTAMED SHORE, she crafts a blazing novel of suspense with an eerie seaside setting and a literary edge that proves her a master of the genre.

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Book Review: Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valour


Ally Carter
rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
published: 5th March 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

FIVE EXTRAORDINARY ORPHANS. ONE INCREDIBLE MYSTERY. UNLOCK THE SECRETS OF THE WINTERBORNE HOME FOR VENGENACE AND VALOUR.

When 11-year-old April joins a group of kids living at Winterborne Home she doesn’t expect to be there for very long. But she soon learns that this home isn’t like any of the others – especially when she unearths the secret of the missing-and-presumed-dead billionaire, Gabriel Winterborne, who is neither missing nor dead but is actually living in a basement lair, sharpening his swords and looking for vengeance.

Now that April knows Gabriel Winterborne is alive, she must turn to the other orphans to keep him that way. As a looming new danger threatens to take Gabriel down once and for all, they must use their individual talents to find a way to make sure this home for misfits isn’t lost to them for ever.

Because at the Winterborne Home, nothing is what it seems, no one is who they say they are and nowhere is safe. And now a ragtag group of orphans must unravel the riddle of a missing heir, a supposed phantom and a secret key, all without alerting the adults of Winterborne House that trouble is afoot.

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Book Review: The Missing Diamonds


Annabelle Sami & Daniela Sosa
rating: ☆☆☆☆
published: 6th February 2020
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

AGENT ZAIBA INVESTIGATES is a fun, contemporary new series for fans of The Sinclair Mysteries and the Murder Most Unladylike books.

Eleven-year-old Zaiba is obsessed with crime. Her Aunt Fouzia runs a detective agency back in Karachi and has turned Zaiba on to the brilliant Eden Lockett Mysteries. She has every book in the series – and the quilt cover, and the phone case. All she needs now is a crime to solve…

In book one, Zaiba is attending a family Mehndi party at The Grand Royal Star Hotel when she hears that the prized Italian Greyhound of a famous actress has gone missing from the star’s suite. With the help of her best friend and her little brother, the amateur sleuth manages to foil the petnapping plot and save the day.

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Book Review: Death in the East


Abir Mukherjee
rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
published: 14th November 2019
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

Calcutta police detective Captain Sam Wyndham and his quick-witted Indian Sergeant, Surrender-not Banerjee, are back for another rip-roaring adventure set in 1920s India.

1905, London. As a young constable, Sam Wyndham is on his usual East London beat when he comes across an old flame, Bessie Drummond, attacked in the streets. The next day, when Bessie is found brutally beaten in her own room, locked from the inside, Wyndham promises to get to the bottom of her murder. But the case will cost the young constable more than he ever imagined.

1922, India. Leaving Calcutta, Captain Sam Wyndham heads for the hills of Assam, to the ashram of a sainted monk where he hopes to conquer his opium addiction. But when he arrives, he sees a ghost from his life in London – a man thought to be long dead, a man Wyndham hoped he would never see again.

Wyndham knows he must call his friend and colleague Sergeant Banerjee for help. He is certain this figure from his past isn’t here by coincidence. He is here for revenge…

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WTRIYL: Jane Austen

(Ignore the ugly acronym in the title, I just didn’t want to bother typing out “what to read if you liked”, which is what I have just now done anyway.)

Introducing a new rec series! Because I’m getting kind of tired of only having Five for Friday happening, I figured what better way to rec books than a series aimed at diversifying your bookshelves.

So here’s how this is gonna work. It’s fairly self-explanatory: I’ll pick (or you’ll suggest) a popular book, series or even author and rec you more books, based on what aspects of the book you liked. Simple, right?

First up is Jane Austen. I’ve likely mentioned this before, but I’m not the biggest fan of classics. Most of the time I find them too dry and tedious. Jane Austen is an exception to that. And there are aspects of her books done so well, I’m always on some level searching for that kind of validation elsewhere.

Which is why I’m going to share with you two recs per book, based on my favourite aspect of that book.

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Book Review: Twisted at the Root


Ellen Hart
rating: ☆☆
published: 13th August 2019
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Everyone thought Rashad May and Gideon Wise were happily married. That is, until Rashad was convicted of his husband’s murder.

Four years later, Rashad’s brother contacts Ray Lawless – Minnesota private investigator Jane Lawless’s father and the original defense attorney on the case – with potential evidence of a wrongful conviction. When the case is reopened, Jane and her father must work together to attain justice for a grieving widower.

Who actually killed Gideon and why? There are suspects and motives galore, and Jane must discover the truth. She must also track down her missing brother, Peter, who was involved in the original trial, and who might be hiding secrets of his own.

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Book Review: Call Him Mine


Tim MacGabhann
rating: ☆☆☆☆
published: 11th July 2019
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Jaded reporter Andrew and his photographer boyfriend, Carlos, are sick of telling just another story: from cartel massacres to corrupt politicians, sifting the dregs of Mexico’s drug war, they think they’ve seen it all.

But when they find a body even the police are too scared to look at, what started out as just another reportage becomes the sort of story all reporters dream of…

…until Carlos pushes for answers too fast, and winds up murdered, leaving Andrew grief-stricken and flailing for answers, justice, and revenge.

Caught in a web of dirty money that stretches from the boardrooms of the United States to the death squads of El Salvador, Andrew must decide whether to save himself – or find out who killed the man he loves, and destroyed the only home he’s ever known.

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Book Review: All Eyes on Us


Kit Frick
rating: ☆☆
published: 4th June 2019
spoilers? slight ones

Goodreads

Pretty Little Liars meets People Like Us in this taut, tense thriller about two teens who find their lives intertwined when an anonymous texter threatens to spill their secrets and uproot their lives.

PRIVATE NUMBER: Wouldn’t you look better without a cheater on your arm?
AMANDA: 
Who is this?

The daughter of small town social climbers, Amanda Kelly is deeply invested in her boyfriend, real estate heir Carter Shaw. He’s kind, ambitious, the town golden boy—but he’s far from perfect. Because behind Amanda’s back, Carter is also dating Rosalie.

PRIVATE NUMBER: I’m watching you, Sweetheart.
ROSALIE: 
Who IS this?

Rosalie Bell is fighting to remain true to herself and her girlfriend—while concealing her identity from her Christian fundamentalist parents. After years spent in and out of conversion “therapy,” her own safety is her top priority. But maintaining a fake, straight relationship is killing her from the inside.

When an anonymous texter ropes Amanda and Rosalie into a bid to take Carter down, the girls become collateral damage—and unlikely allies in a fight to unmask their stalker before Private uproots their lives.

PRIVATE NUMBER: You shouldn’t have ignored me. Now look what you made me do…

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Book Review: Keep This to Yourself


Tom Ryan
rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
published: 7th May 2019
spoilers? I tried my best

Goodreads

It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer terrorized the sleepy seaside town of Camera Cove, killing four people before disappearing without a trace. Like everyone else in town, eighteen-year-old Mac Bell is trying to put that horrible summer behind him—easier said than done since Mac’s best friend Connor was the murderer’s final victim. But when he finds a cryptic message from Connor, he’s drawn back into the search for the killer—who might not have been a random drifter after all. Now nobody—friends, neighbors, or even the sexy stranger with his own connection to the case—is beyond suspicion. Sensing that someone is following his every move, Mac struggles to come to terms with his true feelings towards Connor while scrambling to uncover the truth.

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